I was quite the bookworm growing up. My parents tell me I learned to read at three and never looked back. When I moved to the States at the age of 6 and had to learn English, I used books to make the process infinitely faster. Reading books like Black Beauty and Little Women was like entering a whole new world. Like the picture above, it really was magical. At school, my English wasn't up to par - I had a funny accent and oftentimes, everyone spoke too fast for me to hold intelligent conversations. But with a book, that was different. I could read as slow or as fast as I pleased. I could look at the individual words and letters and look at the pictures if I found myself lost. They gave me the context I couldn't find in my everyday life, and reading gave me the ability to imagine that I was as witty as Jo or that I, too, someday could have a horse.
I don't have as much time as I used to to read novel after novel (though oftentimes I wish I did!), but I try to take in as much of the written word as possible, often through The New Yorker or The Atlantic or The New York Times when I don't have the focus or the time to digest a longer piece of work. And it really is digesting - I am a firm believer in re-reading.
There are so many good books out there, but these are my top five, in a not-so-firm order:
To Kill a Mockingbird
A Raisin in the Sun
Pride and Prejudice
Twelve Angry Men
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Do you love to read? What are your top five (or ten) books?
image: Lori Nix, "Library" (2007) via