Dear M.A. Gavin,
If you can’t tell from the title, I am ecstatic it is reading month. I think this comes only second to my excitement for Banned Books week in September. You are currently at a point in life and school where everyday is reading month based on how much you have to read. For me, however, reading month is permission to carry a baker’s dozen worth of books everywhere, wear my Green Eggs and Ham chucks everyday, and shamelessly spout the importance of reading to anyone who will even half listen. Fortunately, as a teacher, I am not considered crazy despite my overwhelming excitement (yes, overwhelming is accurate word – as my students stare at me wide eyed and jaw dropped 97% of the time).
We have a pretty intense love of reading, but it is impressive how the love of reading comes in different forms. For example, there is a bibliophile who is a lover of books. According to Oxford Dictionaries website, a librocubcultarist describes “someone who reads in bed.” A more colloquial term is a “bookworm,” which we have been called on more than one occasion.
While I think all three of these terms accurately describe me, I don’t think any of them accurately describe a simple love of reading. Reading anything and everything you can get your hands on, consuming an abundance of information, in various digital and print forms. Remember when you first started learning to read, and the feeling you got when you started seeing and reading words all around you? It is that ecstasy, that simple love and wonder of reading and the world, I return to each March. I wish there was a word for that feeling, for that love of reading, not of books, not someone who reads quickly, but for someone infatuated by the act of reading and who engages in it as often as possible. If you know the word for it, let me know; I should add it to my elevator speech.
Additionally, our love of reading is founded in personal idiosyncrasies. For example, my ability to read in a car, but inability to read for more than five minutes after work without passing out book open in my lap, mouth agape, and drool dribbling down my chin. Instead, I choose to get up earlier than I need to, in order to enjoy reading in the morning. The peace I feel on Saturday mornings is near perfection, as the sun rises through my front window, birds chirping, a warm cup of tea in my favorite mug, my current read in my lap, and one or two puppies curled up nearby. The absurd croaking – RIBIT! – I hear in my head or aloud anytime I come across a gushy part of a story adds to my reading experience every time. Going back to reread old favorites, receiving recommendations, and exploring new genres, help my love of reading continue to grow and flourish.
I wish you and everyone else a most joyful reading month, full of adventures, romances, inquiries, and discoveries. I implore you to share your love of reading with children by reading to or with them, and with friends or family members by giving recommendations or discussing what you’ve read. I leave you with a well used, but ever accurate quote from George R.R. Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”