Sticking with Reading

Sticking with Reading

A Story by Danielle

This is a personal essay about my love for reading. Hope you enjoy!


I started cleaning clothes, papers, yearbooks, and junk in my closet not because of any desire to declutter, but because, at 3:00 am, I saw a beetle fleeing to a hiding place beneath the piles of stuff. Hunting for the bug, a crumpled piece of paper came to light: December Reading log, with my name scrawled in a child-like handwriting, and the date. 2011.

I scanned a list of books, written in different colored crayons and full of spelling errors.  I smiled as I recognized some, recalling a time when everything in my life was a bit simpler, happier and brighter. The Geronimo Stilton: The Mona Mousa Code series led me to whole-heartedly embrace reading. I  sat down amidst my dirty clothes and thought about all the books that have influenced who I am. In 17 years, I've read hundreds of books, but the Geronimo Stilton series  holds the most meaning. 

When my first-grade teacher read aloud the Magic Tree-House series, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I begged my mom to take me to the library. I went to 5 different elementary schools because of financial problems and my Dad’s job. Books were the only thing that were stable. I had trouble making friends because I was so shy. During lunch, during classes, I read because I was so lonely. And when my parents moved to another country, I ate lunch alone in the library. I wanted to fit in, but I just couldn’t. What was the point if I had to move again?  

A movement brought me back to my room, surrounded by dust, clothes, and most importantly, the beetle that triggered my trip down memory lane. I half-heartedly scanned my room, glancing at the books gathering dust on my drawers. They were always there for me, even though I’d ignored them for who knows how long.

When I hit puberty, books like The Good Earth, The Handmaid’s Tale, and A Thousand Splendid Suns let me live the lives of different women and their struggles. Those books opened my eyes to the real, everyday problems of the world and showed me why education and words are so influential. 

I didn't have a lot of good friends in middle and high school.  Girls made me think I was ugly. I became obsessed with how I looked and dressed.  Even now, when people call me pretty or tell me that they like me romantically, I don't believe them. I see myself as the skinny fat middle school girl with glasses, bad skin, and a terrible side part. 

When I began struggling with my friendships coming and going, rereading The Little Prince made me realize that some things are not meant to be permanent. I learned not to hold onto things too tight or too close.

As I reviewed all the books I’ve read, some gathering dust in the bookcases, some stacked next to my bed, and some lost along the way, I realized that the little mouse books I’d read by coincidence led me to be a mosaic of all the characters, universes, and authors of all the books I’ve read, affecting me in unspoken, but extremely positive and ever increasingly mature ways. 

I stuck with reading. When in 8th grade, a girl threw my bag in the trash can. When they made a group chat to talk about how ugly I was. And when I didn't think that I would live to make it to high school, I just read. Because when I read books, comics, or anything, I could be someone else. Because I really hated myself. That's why reading is so special to me. It’s always there in my life, no matter who comes and goes and where I go to.

© 2022 Danielle

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Added on September 7, 2022
Last Updated on September 7, 2022
Tags: reading, geronimo stilton, the mona mousa code, magic tree house, the good earch, the handmaids tale, a thousand splendid suns