By Kay Howell – Over the holiday break, I rediscovered a lost love: reading.
As a child, I was the quintessential bookworm, including the giant spectacles and a ruthless avoidance of social interaction. Every Tuesday afternoon, my mom took me and my sister to our local public library. This was, without a doubt, the highlight of my week. My mom insisted that we check out more than just The Baby-Sitters Club novels, so I had a steady and varied literary diet. Tuesday afternoons were full of promise, and Tuesday night was the best time of week: I had an armful of new books, just waiting to be opened.
Fast-forward to fall semester: I went to the library almost every day. But rather than bursting through the doors with expectation and exuberance, mine was the slow march of the reluctant student about the spend eight hours doing homework on an otherwise perfectly lovely Saturday. When I finally had some time away from my textbooks, the last thing I wanted to do was spend even one minute more in the company of the written word. Needless to say, my Netflix account got a good deal of use—while my library card stayed shoved in the back of my wallet. Yet despite reading every day for my classes, I had a nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was just missing from my life.
The day after I submitted my final paper, I trekked over to the new East Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library with a mission: check out a book, any book, and read it just for kicks. I won’t disclose what I settled on, but the first book I read over break had cover art featuring a very large red cherry. It definitely met the requirement of completely enjoyable brain candy, and I absolutely loved every page of it. Over the next few weeks, I made my way through several other novels, and rediscovered the joy and relaxation of simply reading for fun.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I lack willpower and stamina. But this year, I made myself a promise for the spring semester: pick up a new novel at the library every few weeks, and read purely for pleasure. Of course, I’ll still spend my Saturdays in the library studying, and my Netflix account will still get more use than I would ever admit to my mother, but I know that reading for fun is something I need in my life. So if you see me in the library this semester, check and see what book I’m reading—you just may be surprised!