Jonathan: Revisiting my passion & rocky history with books

Happy February! It’s almost been a year since quarantine began. That’s…scary to think about. So, to pivot from that horrifying realization, let’s focus on what would’ve been a great distraction from reality for me: reading. Now first, let’s run through my relationship with this activity across the years. 

I remember my elementary school days, where each Tuesday, my mom and I would go to the library. Those visits were the absolute best parts of the week. Everytime I’d walk out with a stack of new books while returning last week’s books. At my reading prime, I’d read multiple books a day, which to be honest wasn’t too impressive given my childhood self didn’t have any friends nor anything else better to do. Yes, it was a lonely childhood. 

Now as a college sophomore, I look at that version of me in awe. If you observed me in my daily life, there’d be no way to tell whether I was literate or not. You will never catch me reading a book or news publication of any sort. I think the last time I read a book in full was my junior year of highschool—and that was only because my english teacher Mr. Dury had both me and my fellow classmates charmed into doing any assignment for him. And before that, the last full book I had read was a poem anthology, which I’m almost not sure counts. All my news is from reddit headlines, youtube video titles (not even the videos themselves), instagram stories, and most importantly, podcasts. Thank goodness for podcasts. I go through those like BU students buying Chick-fil-a nuggets sold by a random business club at the GSU link tables on a pre-COVID BU Monday. NPR can take all my money and then some.

Anyway, I decided during our quarantine summer to try to rekindle my youthful reading passion. This attempt did not go well. I started off with a very intellectual book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone but in French. I figured it’d be difficult to dive right into an adult book, given it had been so long since my last fully completed book. My thought was that I should start with something familiar and achievable. But just to add a little challenge, it was the French translation. After reading 15 pages across 3 days, I quickly switched to the French audiobook, then the English book, and then the English audio book. By the end of summer, I had listened to all of the Harry Potter series in audiobook form. But, if anybody asked, I’d say I read them cover to cover—coming out of it even with a few papercuts from all the page turning I did.

So, I guess the lesson from all this is that I’m just more of a podcast/audiobook guy. I think it’s also just very indicative of how short my attention span has become. On the bright side, it’s very easy to impress me; if you tell me you read, I will give you the utmost respect. Maybe I’ll try reading again next summer.

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