Hello and happy Tuesday. Let’s end the year with a happy story, okay? This is the story of how I became the reader that I am now, which I hope you enjoy and find interesting. I got this idea from Hailey in Bookland, whom I absolutely adore. Obviously, everyone’s story is different and that makes everything better in my opinion. Let’s get started, shall we?
As a toddler and then as a young child, my parents would tell me bedtime stories. I don’t think they read them from a book, but rather they made them up. I remember asking my dad to tell me the story of Pocahontas, but he did not retell the Disney version I knew: he made his own version in which Pocahontas lived in Bogota and I can only imagine the crazy urban adventures she had.
That nice period of bedtime stories did not last long because when I was six years old my parents got divorced, and my mom would get home from work when I was already asleep. Fortunately, by that time I was already at school, so I guess my teachers were the ones who made sure I was getting my literary fix. I don’t remember reading chapter books during my first years at school, but we did have one of those big textbooks with short stories in them.
Growing up, I was faced with really terrible required readings. I’m talking Bunnicula in fourth grade and other reads so mediocre I can’t recall. I do remember the books I read in middle school and high school, although “read” is a stretch. I just pretended to read and used my bullshitting skills for quizzes. Some of the titles I had to read from sixth through eighth grade were Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stargirl, and My Fair Lady.
Now, that was my reading life at school, but at home, I was about to discover the book that I believe got me into reading for pleasure. You see, for Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year, my grandmother got me When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr. That book motivated me to read, yes, but for a few years, the main theme I would read about was World War II because I wanted to know about what my great-grandparents had gone through. I must clarify, too, that I am bilingual and Spanish is actually my first language, so I read Judith Kerr’s book in Spanish. I read or was supposed to read the other titles I’m mentioning in this post in English.
My newfound love for literature coincided with my best friends’ own obsession for reading, so we sort of created a three-person book club. We would just read the same book, at times having to wait for the owner to finish it and pass it along, and then talk about it. We read Searching for David’s Heart by Cherie Bennet, which is the first book that made me cry, as well as Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws by Janette Rallison, which was relatable because my name is Cami (duh) and my best friends used to play basketball.
Because I was more in touch with books I considered worthy of being read and I was still on my search for Holocaust novels, I was able to find a great book to read when in sixth grade our teacher let us pick. I chose Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and my teacher loved it so much that the following year she made it an assigned novel for sixth grade. I am proud to be the reason why other students read it.
High school was the time of reading books by white old men whom I didn’t care about (and still don’t). I read none of the books I’ll list, but I pretended to and I think my teachers still believe I did. We were assigned The Importance of Being Ernest in eighth grade, Tortilla Flat in ninth grade, 1984 and Animal Farm in eleventh grade. In tenth grade, we had to read something by Agatha Christie, but it was so bad, I can’t remember the title. The only book I did read in eighth grade was Night by Ellie Wiesel.
I don’t remember reading a single book in English during my first year of university. I did read some awesome books in Spanish that I’ve reread since. My life as a reader as we know it now started in November 2013 when I traveled to New York with my mother and sister, walked into a Barnes and Noble and left with two treasures: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. It was because of Eleanor & Park and what it made me feel that I started my first blog.
Because Colombia is a bit behind on everything technological and advanced, I was your traditional reader. I slowly got into ebooks, which saved me a lot of money, but I was still just reading. I came into contact with audiobooks after I got surgery. Because of the anesthesia and also the bandages I had around my chest, I could not read books, at least for the first few days. I got The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins on audible for free (yay!) and listened to the entire trilogy.
In 2017 I deleted my first blogs and created this one, and now I’m constantly reading something. And now here I am, telling you this story. I’d love to know yours, so if you want to, kindly share it in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila