Tris: “At one point in life our look on books changed. Suddenly a random bunch of paper turned into a portal to a whole new world where everything was possible. When did you experience this change? What is your story?”

(Photo: ‘Girl reading’, Flickr: Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Darina, 18
Russia

When I was a kid – 6-7 years old – I only used to read special magazines for children with games, quizzes and small cartoon stories about princesses – and the encyclopedia. I can’t say that I didn’t like reading books. I just had clear boundaries. I only read what I needed to – to study – nothing more. So, at that time I didn’t read books for myself on a regular basis. I just didn’t see the purpose of it other than for school and study.

From movies to books

When I turned 11, I became a huge fan of horror movies. One day we had an excursion to the local library. Guess what shelves I darted to? Right! ‘Children’s Horror Books’!
After that, I refused to watch horror movies anymore. I only wanted to read books in this genre. I can only remember that the books were by Russian authors. I read a bunch of them and I really enjoyed them. But it really frustrates me that I can’t even remember the titles, because I feel they got me started. I’ve been into books since then. However, the giant boost happened after that.

Dystopia and an obsession with books

After I’d discovered the horror genre I began reading a lot more. When I was 16 (in 2014), I accidentally read a book by an author who was unknown to me. The book blew my mind! It was ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury. I still remember how excited I was after finishing it, and I fell in love completely with the dystopian genre. I got my second wind, and since the my library has been enriched with 200 books and continues to grow day by day.
My favorite genres are still horror, dystopia and young adult.

(Reach Darina at Instagram @darinasbookland)

Anna, 19
Germany

I guess I’ve always liked books. When I was younger, like really young, my dad has always read to me. At first those children books with a lot of pictures and just a few sentences.

First Pixi books

Then he started reading to me Pixi books, which are small books with 24 pages or so. I really liked those books and started learning writing by myself. I sat there and tried to figure out what those symbols meant. I was about 5 years old.

Then my mom taught me a little bit, and as soon as I could read some words I started reading to myself.

Trixi Lwenstark and Pippi

My first favourite book was Trixi Lwenstark, which is a bit like Pippi Langstrumpf (‘Pippi Longstocking’, Editor). I read it over and over again. But I also liked books with horses in it. And of course The Three Investigators. But the ones that are for kids at age 8.

Oh, and one of my favourite series was also „Die Fünf Freunde“ by Enid Blyton (‘The Famous Five’, Editor). I own about 50 books only by these two series. I guess that’s how I became a reader.

(Reach Anna at Instagram @annasbuecher)

Brooke, 22
North Carolina

I had a rough childhood with reading.

I wasn’t taught how to read until second grade and even that was a struggle.

A paragraph remembered by heart

I remember my mother sitting down next to me going over the words. Because in second grade we read one short story a week and everyone was given a paragraph to read and remember.

So therefore when it came time for me to read mine I remembered it by heart. And my teacher was so thrilled for me that she called me in front of the class and gave me a hug and embarrassed me by telling everyone my story about how when I started I didn’t know how to read.

Got a library card!

And so then that was that. I got a library card to our schools library, and the first book i ever checked out was Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! I became entranced with it and could not put it down.

Reading now has always been a passion since I first learned how. I fell in love with the world hidden in a closet. I stood up to bullies with Pippi Longstocking, and I unfolded the magic within Harry Potter.

My escape

Reading is my escape when reality sucks and hardships get harder. Books never stop loving you back. They envelope me in their pages, the stories and worlds. They give you inspiration when you have none and motivation to keep fighting when you feel like giving up. You fall in love over and over and that’s what reading has always been for me.

(Reach Brooke at Instagram @brookebibliophile)

Marte, 16
Norway

I’ve always loved to read, ever since my mother taught me to read when I was five years old, so I guess the book that got me into reading was ‘Julie and the Bird’.

Space and dinosaurs for over a year

In the beginning I read the books that were handed to me, but after a while I spent hours at the school library, browsing the shelves. Because I am a quick learner, my teachers would allow me to help our librarian during lessons I thought was too easy. Unfortunately, I only read textbooks about dinosaurs and space for over a year.

The series that blew my mind

I am very sad to say that the series that blew my mind and reintroduced me to fiction was… Twilight. I was captivated at eleven years old by the marvellous Edward and Bella, who I thought was so brave at the time, and it took years before I developed the ability to criticize the series.

Next station Hogwarts

After Twilight finally left my mind, Harry Potter was my next obsession, and it still is to this day. J. K. Rowling will always have a special place in my heart for bringing the story to me and other people all around the world, and I’ve reread the series plenty of times.

Bless my mom

I’m blessed with a mother who has always encouraged me to read and write, and I feel like I’ve grown as a person by reading different stories throughout my life.
http://instagram.com/martereads/

(Reach Marte at Instagram @martereads)

Tris, 17
Denmark

I’ve always loved a good story and making up my own stories and my own characters. It was a big play for me when I was younger, but books weren’t a thing I was interested in by that time.

A whole shelf with horse novels

Then I turned 11 and my class moved to another school with a small library. Every week we went there and were told to, at least, pick out one book we would read in our spare time. I had just begun riding and the library had a whole shelf filled with horse novels.

Heartland

So I picked out the first book in a series named ‘Heartland’ and was hooked immediately. It was impossible for me to put the book down and before I knew it I had finished the entire series. Since then my reading sphere has evolved.

I still read horse novels, but now I also read fantasy, dystopian, contemporary and a lot of other genres.

(Reach Tris at Instagram @tristhereader)