Hey y’all, thanks for stopping by. My name is Isabel Hutchinson, and I am a self identified book-worm.
I’ve said for years that I would never marry a spouse that does not read books. To me, this seems like a pretty low bar (especially since I’m not even specifying what kind of books), but whenever I convey this necessary requirement to friends, they laugh as if I am certainly joking (I’m not joking).
The thing about my spouse requirement, though, is that to me, it really feels that important.
I come from a long line of readers – my grandmother has a library that rivals the one in Beauty and the Beast, my mother would rather spend a Saturday finishing a book in pajamas than doing just about anything else, and I believe my brother has read every sci-fi book in existence (though somehow, he continues to find new ones every week).
Reading, in my family, is as compulsory and as essential as breathing, and it is truly quite difficult to imagine my life without it.
Would I even have a personality without the influence of books? I don’t know the answer to that question.
I was a talkative, hyper, energetic child, ADHD to the core. My parents still joke about how the only time I would leave them alone was when they handed me a Magic Treehouse book. From a young age, I was introduced to the beautiful stillness that reading offers, and the girl pictured to the left does not look like a fan of stillness. Reading, even then, slowed down my hyperactive brain.
In fifth grade, I was racing a classmate to see who could finish the Harry Potter series first. Competitive as ever even at the spry age of eleven, I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning to ensure I was ahead. I can’t remember now who finished the series first, but at the time it truly felt like the olympics of reading, and I was going for gold.
I always strove to get the most Accelerated Reading points (which I have many quarrels with now) in Middle School – though admittedly, there was one girl who always beat me. I may or may not still think about it to this day when I find myself slacking off on my reading practice.
In high school, I was the kid that read books during lunch instead of venturing off campus to lunch (it’s a miracle people were still friends with me). I read books on spring break, on vacations, between classes, and whenever any opportunity opened itself up to me. It was obsessive, and it still is.
My friends now know not to interrupt my reading time.
Whenever I travel, my mom always reminds me to only bring the books that I “really need” on vacation. But how do I explain that sometimes what I “really need” is a selection of seven different novels and two autobiographies and maybe a magazine and maybe a poetry collection just in case? What I ” really need” is a lot of reading material!
In starting this blog, I want to place this idea as the central focus: we all need reading.
While the internet has done wonderful things for democracy, knowledge expansion, and connection, the internet has also so drastically increased the speed at which we move through life. And reading got left behind in the process. Sure, we read headlines on a screen all day long – but what is lost when we stop holding a tangible book in our hands?
You may be rolling your eyes here, saying of course people still read! People will always read!
And it’s true – people will always read. But just how many people? How many people will stop to find slowness in the age of instantaneous information? I see it everywhere around me, and I can count on one hand the amount of people I know that have read more than five books in the past year. And it makes me sad!
There are so many good books – so many good short books too!
For me, being born in 2000 and coming of age proportionally with the development of the internet, reading has always allowed me the important, necessary time to slow down. With the rise of BookTok and various famous Book Instagram accounts, a culture of reading is beginning to permeate the internet. And I want in on the action.
Through this phenomenon, I have seen that the internet has the potential to guide us back to the written word, to bring more people into a culture of reading, and to create a more diverse and representative range of voices being read.
Through this blog, I will be doing several things in the hopes of making reading cool again:
– Reviewing the books I have read recently
– Asking friends and family what they’re reading right now and sharing those as well
– Conducting research into how reading improves quality of life
– Examining the effect of the internet on the publishing industry
– Thinking about how the internet can function as a tool to amplify the voices of marginalized authors
– Sharing stories of how books have changed my life, helped me forge connections, or helped me make sense of the world around me
– Explaining how everyone likes reading – it’s just a matter of finding what you like to read
– Paying particular attention to current political, social, historical movements and think about what people might need to read right now to feel joy and see beauty
Truthfully, you probably would have stopped reading this post by now if you were uninterested in reading. This blog may not be for you, and that’s okay.
But if it is, please help me make reading cool again! Maybe reader’s will get to be the cool kids for once!