My father taught me to read long before I went to school. There were few children’s books in our house, so he opted for the encyclopedia set displayed in the living room.
Volume 1: Aa-Az.
He loved nonfiction and probably wanted a return on his investment since the set was so expensive. He thought it was a good place to start.
I know everything there is to know about aardvarks.
I have been in love with reading and writing all my life. I remember playing in my mother’s flowerbeds and scratching letters into the dirt with a stick when I was barely out of diapers. I spent seven years in a Catholic elementary school with a library so small that all the books were my friends. By the time I graduated, I had read every book twice, sometimes three times.
At home, my mother bought provocative, pulp, best sellers, and my father collected graphic, historical, nonfiction, but both were strictly off limits to us kids. Since they both worked full time jobs, I snuck and read my parents’ books whenever they would not be home for long stretches of time. My grandmother took care of us, but she was too busy reading her own “Mexican novellas” written in Spanish to notice what I was doing, reading from the “adult” section of our book collection.
I have read thousands of books in my lifetime. Many are memorable and many weren’t, so not one stands out as my favorite.
Sure, I could name the Bible or some classic. Maybe a book on social change or an eye-opening best seller. How about a sleeper that no one else has stumbled across? I could impress you with my superior knowledge, pretend to be cool and cosmopolitan, but the truth is – I am a book nerd and nothing else. I am in love with books, hundreds of them, and it all started when I mastered the encyclopedia entry on aardvarks.
Thanks, Dad. Your investment paid off.