As a child, I always dreamt of being whisked away into a magical world. I could be anyone I wanted to be, and hold all arrays of magical powers. I marveled at how amazing life could be if I was a witch like Wendy, or having my own talking teddy bear. Books and my imagination - as well as shows and movies - were an escape from a world I found boring and routine. While in school we were forced to sit down and memorize equations and dates, in books I could find talking rabbits, secret gardens, and all kinds of peril. For many years - all through my first year of college - I would be a devoted reader. Gradually I traded my sparkling vampires for existentialist angst.
Towards the end of my college years, and after entering the workforce, I developed a different relationship with reading. Suddenly I became too hyperaware of "Best Seller" this, and "Award Winning" that, and gradually the fun of reading dissipated. I wasn't reading because I loved a story, but because I felt that in order to be a cultured and responsible adult, I had to check off every title in the New York Times best seller list. When we start to do something because we think we must, the fun tends to disappear. I became so desperate to participate in conversations about The Goldfinch that I failed to acknowledge how little I enjoyed the book.
You see, when we stop paying attention to "what we should read" and instead focus on "what we want to read", we regain a lost relationship with literature. That's why now I read because I want to, and what I want to. Some books might not be bestsellers or hard-hitting journalism - some might be. But regardless of page length and word count, I'm slowly rekindling my love of reading: one book at a time.