Reading never came easy for me as a child. That is not to say I struggled to learn, as my mom ensured I knew how to “sound-it-out” at a very young age. Rather, reading was never easy because I rarely found it enjoyable.
I blame this partly on the timing of my childhood. I grew up during the heart of the “Harry Potter” craze, with the most of the seven-book series hitting the shelves while I was in elementary school. But while most of my friends were hooked, I couldn’t have been less interested. Even at a young age, fantasy seemed so, well, unrealistic.
This habit continued through middle school and high school, during which I only read books I would be quizzed over (such as “The Scarlett Letter” and “The Outsiders”).
I quickly began a hunt for all of the related material I could find. I pored through biographies, such as Aida McDonald’s “Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt,” as well as stories of the darker moments in American history. I couldn’t put down Candice Millard’s gripping novel about the assassination of President James Garfield — “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.”
I stumbled upon several lists compiling books every student should read before graduating college. As I am entering my senior year, this seemed to be an appropriate mission. I combined and condensed the lists into a group of seven books I am determined to finish by next summer. I selected works that cover an array of topics, including reflections on philosophy and society.
I hope to emerge with more insight into the world and the relative insignificance of everyday problems. I also hope to show Vanessa she’s not the only one around here with will power.