National Reading Month: Booky BFF’s

Fifth grade, Mrs. Erickson’s class in one of many brown, nondescript trailers backed against the recess fields. Inside, warm Carolina sunlight pours through the windows over the beanbag corner where I read quietly with another girl who is even more determinedly into her book than I am. Days go by–this becomes a pattern. We’re talking about what we read before too long and soon we’re sharing sunbeams, even reading the same books.

Reading—bringing people together as long as there’s been stuff to read.

It was the beginning of a friendship that, so many years later (and so many miles between us), is still resplendent with the words we read, the fandoms we share, the nerderies that we’ve had going strong since 10-year-old us sat talking about just how kickass and rad Alanna of Trebond was and how we’d fare in that world of knights and magic and Prince Jonathans. Thanks to parents who allowed us the time, space, and even rewards to read, to programs like Book It and shows like Reading Rainbow, and to amazing human beings like Mrs. Erickson who suggested writers like Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley in the first place, Nikki and I are to this day enriched by the books that have let us lead so many lives besides our own.

March is National Reading month and while it’s already yearning towards April, the message is still strong: reading is important. Books are bridges to places where we see others like us being strong, being weak, being real or not even remotely real. Books, while ever-changing in format and in the vast array of subjects and genres now available, still let us know others’ minds and lives and worlds if only for a time. Books bring us together. Book clubs, forums and reviews, fan art and fanfiction, and of course libraries create communities that would not otherwise exist. Would Nikki and I still be friends without the books we shared? Sure as hell we would. But that friendship has been made even richer by our shared loves, our at times differing opinions, our common ground in many maps of many worlds.

Never forget how much of a gift reading can be. Never take for granted how connected we can be to others who have gone before, to others who live in places where we will never walk, to others who have never even existed but whose plights can give us strength and courage. Never forget how much reading can bring us together. So, what are you reading? Do any of you out there have life-long booky bff’s?


0 thoughts

  1. I’ve recently gotten in to audiobooks as they really help my much-hated exercise time fly by! The library has a program that lends audiobooks straight to my phone, which is wonderful, though the selection is limited. Lucky for me, they have the entire Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold — a SF near-classic by a female writer with SO MUCH subversive feminism in them no matter that most of her protagonists are men. 😀

    I’m also reading-as-in-with-my-eyes The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, and loving the kind of writing and the kind of world where I can fall in to the strangeness and mystery and wonder of the language.

    I earned so many personal pan pizzas with the Book It! program in elementary school, dude.

    1. YES, the personal pan pizza of BOOKNERD WIN! <3 And ooh, I have really wanted to read that, Bunnybean…the Miles Vorkosigan saga, I mean. And audiobooks are kind of amazing…I found that out listening to the 1st Mistborn book by Sanderson over a really long holiday drive. When I'm caught up with WTNV podcast (only 3 more), I hope to start my audiobooking back up again! 😀 Ty for the comment, and yay reading! 😀

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