I can still recall when I really discovered the joys of reading. My grandfather had purchased a subscription to the Hardy Boy novels and every few months a new book would arrive in the mail. I would read it as quickly as possible, usually forsaking sleep as I read until my bedroom window would begin to let in the dawn light. I don’t recall if this was before or after my other memorable early book reading. In the fifth grade I read Tolkien, and Orwell’s 1984. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings I recall somewhat fondly, although I still haven’t finished the last book of the trilogy 26 years later. I left Frodo climbing the mountain, finally uninterested in discovering if he escaped the ring or not.
1984 still stands out in my mind much more though. Again I have never revisited the book, but I still recall vividly several passages. The opening sequence, describing Winston’s dreary observed life, the love making the forest, and the rats in the cage around Winston’s face. It left quite an impression on me. Interestingly enough I only read the book because it was 1984 and had seen an evening news puff story about Orwell’s 1984 being obsolete now that it was actually 1984. Additionally once people found out what I was reading I was expected to talk about it. My teacher wanted me to do my class reading presentation on the book (I chickened out and pretended to be a hobbit instead) and I was expected to meet with the school librarian and talk about the books I was reading.
That didn’t last long, all I can remember is how much that made me dread reading. I don’t remember how I got the discussions with the librarian to stop but they did and I enjoyed reading again. However I also managed to pick up my bad reading habits around that time too. It’s nearly impossible for me to stop reading a book until I finish it. Often the sun will be rising as I turn the last page bleary eyed and finally allow myself to sleep for fifteen minutes or so until the alarm clock attempts to wake me up.