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. It is open not only to regular Book Riot contributors, but to guest posters from the publishing industry, authors, and….you. If you are interested in telling us about a book that has been influential in your life, please contact us: community (at) bookriot (dot) com.

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.