With a head full of beads, and a book in my lap, Saturday evenings I would sit on the porch and read while everyone else rode their bikes.
During my childhood, books weren't readily accessible at my house. So my favorite place to go was the library. Although I loved going on the computer, I also would go on a hunt for good books to take home to read during the week. We didn't have cable growing up so after 6 pm the last episode of "Authur", "Magic School Bus","Smart Guy or Moesha" would come on and then that was it for entertainment. I read all sorts of books and I would let my imagination take me on first class trips to Rome, Paris, New York, and Idaho. In my mind, I had a passport filled with traveling stamps.
My love for books was deep. A recurring issue I was havicushions of our couch or buried in the trunk of my father's car. I also must have thought I was the library myself because I surely was letting my friends borrow these books that weren't even mine.
When I got to middle school, I was introduced to, Sister Soulja "The Coldest Winter Ever", it was my very first book urban book. Once I was finished, I was hooked. I checked out all of Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree, ChunChi (not Lil Wayne), Nikki Turner, Carl Weber, Zane books. See because most of these books were really big and had subtle graphics on the cover. My mom never questioned what was on the inside of it, she was just so proud of me. She would brag to all her friends, about how I didn't get in trouble in school and how I was always reading. I can admit for my sixth-grade mind these books were very adult and exposed me things that I probably shouldn't have known until I was in college. However, no one could stop me, these were keeping me in the house and out of trouble. So all of middle school me and my girl Snide started a book club and we would swap books with each other. Then, when I got to high school me and my neighbor Jennifer would have book talks with each other and she would get me so hype to read the new book by our favorite authors.
That's what I remember most of my childhood, reading. Growing up "poor" (we were rich in spirit), but we didn't have money for, summer vacation plans, weekend escapes, or family outings. So it was me and my books, and it didn't cost a dime. It was absolutely FREE (well kind of, sort of- late fees).
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer changed my life forever. I still have to thank Imani for letting me borrow his book my 9th-grade year. I only had that school week to read it and then I would have to return it. He had a long list of people who was also trying to borrow the same book. That whole week I didn't learn anything in school, Edward and Bella were my teachers. I read every moment I got. I had never been that engaged in a book. The characters in the urban books I would read were much older than me and had experienced life already. This was the first time the characters in a book were going through life just like me, I could finally relate. They were in high school, they were still juveniles, and they were experiencing love for the first time. I finally found my niche. I liked YA (young adult) books. At the time I didn't know that there was even an existing genre. All I knew was that these 498 pages had me entirely zoned out.
When I got to college everything changed, I hated books. I didn't want to see another book ever again. All the books assigned for me to read were so boring! Reading for fun, no longer existed. College totally drained me. I didn't pick up a book to read for pleasure until recently.
One day, I got fed up with myself, and my community. We would rush home to watch a new episode of Love & Hip Hop, but we didn't have time to pick up a book. How could we influence our youth, if we as adults didn't see the value in reading? I had declared that 2018 I would read thirty books. However, I had to figure out what truly interested me. Not what was trendy, or what I should be reading as an African American. But, what I could honestly see myself reading on a Friday night. A book that I would choose to curl up with instead of going to the club. A book that would give my emotions a run for its money. I was in search for realism; I wouldn't be able to relate to a girl that lived in the underworld of Monochoochoo with six arms and eight legs, (no shade to my Sci-Fi).
I went to Target(they have amazing deals on books, and a large variety), and there it was "To All The Boys I loved Before" by Jenny Han. I got home made myself some hot chocolate. I put on some soft background music (I can't concentrate when it's completely quiet), I lit a candle and for the next three hours, it was me and my book. I felt like a child again, it was the first time in a long time I felt sad when I got to the last page. It was like I lost a friend. I honestly shed a couple of tears when I was done with the book. And I couldn't shut up about it. I even convinced my cousin to read it.
Before long, I was back in the library checking out loads of books. When I was reading, the world was quiet and peaceful, my heart was warm and cozy. Life just felt so right. I couldn't believe it took me this long to realize that I NEEDED books in my life. The library had become a piece of my paradise. I finally had my groove back!
Until Next Time.