Friday, October 14, 2016

I Am the Reader Book Tag

The I Am the Reader tag was organized by Penguin Teen to promote the book The Reader by Traci Chee. As far as I'm aware, this was a tour meant for booktube, as that is where I found it after seeing Misty's and Mallory's videos. However, I am going to answer the questions in written form.

The Reader is about a world where no one reads. The main character Sefia discovers a book, an object that she has never heard of before. Because of the themes of The Reader, this tag is meant to celebrate being a reader, which I think is an amazing idea, and despite not having read the book (I'd really like to), I had to participate in this tag.

Choose one word that describes being a reader.

Eye-opening. That's the first word that comes to mind for me. It's incredible how, through books, we can live lives that we would never know otherwise, and I mean this whether we're talking about fiction or nonfiction. There are so many nonfiction books that force you to look at perspectives that you wouldn't have otherwise and to get to know the people whose stories they tell deeply.

What's the very first book you fell in love with?

I've been reading for as long as I can remember, and I'm sure that there were some early books that I loved but can no longer remember. When it comes to those I can remember, I'm not going to surprise anyone by choosing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Through a combination of factors, Harry Potter provided an entirely new reading experience for me.

I know I re-read many books as a kid, but the Harry Potter series was the first time I really discussed a book in depth with others. Doing so forced me to notice things about the story I wouldn't have otherwise, and I think it helped deepen my love for the books.

Hardcover or paperback.

Always paperback. Not only are they easier to read, paperback are almost always cheaper, so they're going to win out every time for me. Not only are hardcovers harder to hold as you read, I often feel like I'm too protective of my hardcovers. Maybe it has something to do with the higher price or just a general feeling that hardcovers are more "valuable"?

For whatever reason, hardcover books feel like something I need to protect. I'm horrified of breaking the spine, and I live in constant fear of damaging them. With paperbacks, however, I love when they come to have a well-read feel to them. It feels special and like a mark of pride for the book.

Not even I fully understand why I have two opposite opinions on the condition of the book based on its format, but I do.

How has reading shaped your identity?

Since I was a kid, I've thought of myself as a book worm. That might have been one of the first labels I even gave myself, and for quite a while, I think it was my defining characteristic in my own mind.

Of course, there's more to my identity than being a reader, but there's no denying that being a reader is a huge part of who I am. Without it, I think I would be an entirely different person.

What book do you read when you need to be comforted?

Nine times out of ten it will be Harry Potter, although I used Harry Potter as a security blanket more frequently when I was younger. Actually, I used to pull out a Harry Potter book during thunderstorms. My grandmother who lived with us used to pull out her rosary to pray during storms, and whether it was growing up with that or genetics, I was incredibly anxious during storms as a kid. At some point, I started playing a game with my sister during storms where we'd open up a Harry Potter book to a random page, read a quote, and the other had to guess who'd said it.

As my sister had never read the books, I did tend to guess correctly more often than she did, but I remember her getting quite competitive about it. I feel like we did that for quite a long time in order to take our minds off storms.

Who taught you to be a reader? (Or did you do it all on your own?)

I didn't do it all on my own, though I can't point out one specific person either. My family read to me before I could read on my own, so they have to be given credit. I also think I had some great teachers in elementary school who encouraged reading and gave us opportunities to read books in class either that we'd chosen on our own or that they'd picked out for us. I found many of the best books I read as a kid because of my teachers, particularly my fourth, sixth, and eighth grade teachers. (Though there were some not so great choices in there too. Let's not talk about the books we had to read in fifth grade. I don't think I enjoyed any of them.)

Describe your dream reading lounge.

There would be books everywhere. Obviously. Ideally, they would be organized in some sort of system that I knew well so that I could easily find what I was looking for, which would be particularly necessary because of how many books there would be (we are talking dreams after all).

Most of the space would be taken up with books with only a small area with a cozy place to sit and read.

One very important aspect: I would want there to be really great lighting. I know warm lighting can seem cozy to a lot of people, but I really don't enjoy it, especially when it takes on a red tinge. (Is anyone cringing? I feel like that's not a popular answer.) I don't want to feel like I'm straining my eyes when I'm trying to read for long stretches of time.

What book changed the way you act or see the world?

I really liked the first part of Mallory's answer to this question in her video. She mentioned that it was hard to pick out specific ways reading had shaped her but that she was sure that most things she'd read had in some way. I feel the same way.

Each book I read shifts my perception of the world ever so slightly. I don't mean that in an "I'm easily swayed by new opinions. I'll believe everything" sort of way. I just mean that each book provides me with a new way of looking at the world, and even if I disagree with everything the book says, it will still have an impact on how I think about the world and therefore have an effect on my identity.

I'm sure some books have had a bigger influence than others. I think it's easier to pick out ways that some nonfiction books have shaped me than many fiction books, but I think that's a matter of perception than it is them actually having a larger influence. (With many nonfiction books, I think what they're trying to say about the world is often up to less interpretation than in fiction, so it's there on the surface, easily seen.)

That's all of the questions. I'm not going to tag anyone specific, but if you'd like to do this tag, then feel free. If you do, please let me know in the comments. I'd love to check out your answers.

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