I fell in love with reading at eight years old. I say eight because that is the first time I can remember not being able to put a book down, where I had to keep turning the pages in order to see what was going to happen next. It is when I started to insist on having my mother buy me six books at a time, and she complied with her spoiled child because it was an addiction she didn’t mind supplying.
We were in Kansas City visiting family and while out on a shopping trip I picked up book one of the Bloodhound series by Bill Myers. A mystery series that followed the adventures of the junior private eye team made up of brother and sister, Sean and Melissa Hunter. During that week long visit I must have finished at least half the series. It has been fourteen years since that trip and there have been plenty more page turners, and quite a few that weren’t, but just the same I love reading.
It has been my escape when I felt sad or scared, and it used to be the only tool I had to combat my insomnia. I would say that my reading has evolved over the years, and what I mean is that I’ve upgraded from books to reading situations and people. I started studying communications while in college and I began to tap into this awareness of how people express themselves to each other, and suddenly page turners weren’t found in the library they were found in the real world.
I find page turners to be people with passion, a sharp sense of humor, intimidating intellect, and then there are the page turners of a different genre. It is a genre that is much darker and reflects the troubled personal history of where some people begin, and as an experienced reader I can usually tell in which direction they are heading. The pages are our conversations and more and more it seems that my true passion is conversing with others in order to get to a place of understanding, even when it turns out to be books I don’t like.
The problem with being an experienced reader is that you can smell an ending from a mile away. You are aware of all the clichés and stereotypes and some writers, some books cannot help but give in to previously formed structures. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover but you have to take it at it’s word. You can make notes and have your interpretations. Hell, there are whole classes dedicated to making arguments about the great pieces of literature, but at the end of the day it’s just words on a page. The meaning can be debated but how it makes you feel lasts forever.
Yes, I’m an experienced reader but despite all that reading, and all those lines I’ve memorized, I often can’t help myself from hoping for a better outcome. Some people never get the chance to outrun their previous chapters, some never feel the inspiration to grab the pen and write a new story. And when I find myself in those situations I try to place the book back on the shelf and search for happier stories with better endings.