Literary Fiction

How I Learned To Read

Our Reading Lives features stories about how books and reading have shaped who we are and how we live.

I learned to read when I opened my eyes.

I learned to read when I learned I loved stories.

I learned to read helping Encyclopedia Brown and Joe and Frank solve mysteries.

I learned to read when choosing my adventure was as much fun as choosing my next book.

I learned to read on long, warm summer afternoons when I wasn’t “supposed” to be reading.

I learned to read Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Harper Lee between pep rallies, tennis matches, and awkward dances.

I learned to read Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Irving around a square table for credit, and there were no wrong answers.

I learned to read all night. And I loved it.

I learned to read more selectively — to begin to understand what I liked, and what I didn’t. And, most importantly, why.

I learned to read when I learned to love what I love, and let others love what they love.

I learned to read in coffee shops in the evenings, after long desk-bound days spent wishing I was reading.

I learned to read on Sept. 12, 2008, when it was weird to feel like I missed someone I didn’t even know.

I learned to read in a community of other passionate readers.

I learned to read Riotously.

I learned to read on a screen or on a page — and it didn’t much matter.

I am still learning to read.

I will never, ever stop learning to read.