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The Beauty of Reading

By Mystique Hammons

I have had a love affair with books for as long as I can remember. My mother told me that she used to read to me when I was inside her belly, so maybe that’s when I got the lovebug for reading. The library was my best friend was I was in elementary school. I read every single Little House on the Prairie books on the summer reading list and tested out of reading comprehension lessons all the time. Books were a source of imagination for me, another world that I could play in. While everyone else was fascinated with flashy items and hormones in middle school, I found comfort in reading Agatha Christie novels and being first in line at the school book fairs.

I’m still a bibliophile. I love reading…when I have the time. When I got to high school, teachers had us systemized into “required reading”. Having to read for class set a damper on my style, but I still fell asleep with books in my hands at night, the lamp in my room making my face glow heavenly with innocence.

I hung out at the local Borders all the time when I was younger. I just loved curly up in the cozy couches by the storefront window in front of the magazine rack, the aromas of coffee and scones tickling my nostrils. I fell in love with Harry Potter there. Worked on school projects. I studied for the SATs there. Experienced my first romance novel. So many good memories.

Then college came. And the books hit. And my ability to read as much I wanted became stifled with works and hundreds of pages to read for classes each week. As much as I wanted to head to the library to pick up something for pleasure instead of a research project, I couldn’t muster up the courage—nor risk the time.

And then I went home the summer after my sophomore year to find the local Borders store closed. Gone. Poof.

The boom of the digital space has been impacting the publishing industry and Borders bookstores have been closing all over the nation. E-readers abound and nooks have challenged the art of publishing. And it was at the sudden realization staring at the empty space of the place that I once considered my second home that I knew I had to find time for one of my first loves again.

So I joined a book club. And now, I read more than I ever did before.

There’s something powerful about the magic of reading that still gives me that same grade-school happiness. I feel so worldly even though I have yet to travel the world. I’ve met successful teachers, high school drama queens, drunken prostitutes, and women hell-bent on changing their communities. Reading a book is one of the best things you can do for your mind. It not only mentally stimulates your mind but also brings you peace. Messages and morals are hemmed between pages, playing hide-and-seek before your eyes.

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