My Teenage Self
As a kid, I loved to read and our house was filled with books. As a teen, not so much. It didn’t happen all at once, but over the course of high school I slowly stopped reading books for enjoyment. At 12 years old I loved the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and went on to read the entire Narnia series. I was in 9th grade when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out. My dad was so happy I liked it, he gave me his old copies from high school to read starting with The Hobbit. In 11th grade a friend encouraged me to join the school’s book club. The first book was You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. I wasn’t interested in the club, but read anything I could find by Dave Eggers. My aunt, a huge comic fan, introduced me to Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I loved that too! But somehow continued to think that comics were only for superheroes and manga. Other than that, it’s hard to remember.
Honestly, I think I just didn’t know what to read. I can remember going to Barnes & Noble (we never went to the library) and feeling intimidated and lost, looking at book covers and not knowing what to pick. Looking back, I see myself as that teen that could have really used a teen librarian in my life.
But what I really cared about was music. My friends and I were consumed with downloading music, burning CDs, and trading our collections. I read and collected huge stacks Rollingstone magazine. In high school I worked at a local restaurant, and I probably spent 75% of the money I earned at Tower Records. And then I discovered Adbusters, and art and photography magazines. So, I was always reading. But back then I don’t think I would have identified myself as a reader. Reading YA literature now as an adult, I sometimes feel cheated or like I missed out. This is part of the reason I love the work I do at the library, especially when I visit schools. Just showing the kids the books, putting them in the hands and making those suggestions is so important.