So, here’s the deal.
I’m The Plucky Reader and I am addicted to books. I have been for as long as I can remember. I’ve been reading so long, I can’t even remember learning to read. I know that my grandmother taught me by using Disney tapes. She said that I learned different letters using the different fonts on the VHS tapes. I was four the first time I read a chapter book. Not because I was exceptional, but because I was one step off from those creepy Your Baby Can Read kids that used to be advertised on TV when I was little. (Totally parting the kimono here, but those kids couldn’t read, they recognized sight words as a unit, the same way we see a stop sign and know what it means without reading it.)
So, life progressed the way you would expect for a book nerd. I was everybody’s friend. I was the quarterback of the football team. I graduated valedictorian. I married my high school sweetheart. We have 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, two dogs, several acres in the country, and exactly $30 million in my bank account.
Or, you know, I have a handful of friends, I rode horses and ate my feelings, I graduated just outside of the top 10% of my class, and I married my college sweetheart. We have 3 dogs and no children and a chainlink fence in the country and our lives are pretty damned amazing. You can probably guess I wear glasses, because–hello–stereotypes exist for a reason, amirite? And you know what, I wouldn’t trade anything.
All this to say, I’ve gotten to do some pretty amazing stuff because of my love of books. This sounds like a huge claim, I understand. Hear me out, though. In January, I’m playing in Carnegie Hall because somebody owed me a favor. I’ve played concerts in Ireland. I’ve sung in England. I’ve played with one of the biggest names in Motown, Smokey Robinson. I’ve played for Benjamin Zander as part of the Honor Orchestra of America.
I know what you’re thinking: Plucky, what the hell does any of this have to do with books? I’m getting there, just wait.
My life has seen a lot of instability. I’m not going into the details because I’m not on American Idol trying to out sob-story the other contestants, but the one stability I had in this life was books. When I was having a shitty day, I could open a book and find that there was somebody out there having a shittier time. Or I could open a cover and find somebody having the time of his life and remember that it gets better. And that was something I needed to know.
When I was in 9th grade, my entire friendship with two of my closest friends was built on our love of Ender’s Game. To date, I claim it as my favorite book, mostly because of the nostalgia attached to it. Finding people to talk books with kept me fighting and trying in school. Becuase for a long time, I thought I was never going to leave my tiny little town. I thought I’d probably work in the oil field and marry a hometown girl (or never get married since most people assumed I was gay.) Not that that’s not a respectable thing, but I wasn’t going to need stellar grades or a college degree to do that. Eventually, my goal changed, though. I found intellectuals who wanted to do more school, who wanted to continue learning. And so I wanted to continue to learn. It was fun. And I could one-up people because I was actually smart and could hold lots of information in my head.
I found that I loved talking about books. I loved sharing their stories and the meanings they held for me. I loved having read more books than other people. (Can you tell I’m a little bit competitive here?) I wanted to study literature in college and meet other people who love books the way I do. I wanted to spend all my time reading, and writing papers about reading, and blogging about reading, and planning book themed parties. I wanted to be a walking Barnes & Noble, I guess.
I didn’t major in literature; I majored in music. I didn’t blog about books (until today.) I didn’t meet a lot of other people who loved books like I do (though I met a few.) But I did continue to read. I did still make sure reading was a big part of my life. And now, I’d like to share this part of my life with you.
The Plucky Reader