The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Art of Reading

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.
- Stephen King

When I was eight years old, I had mastered the art of reading.

Books were my companion and best friend. I learned something new every time and each year my relationship with reading continued to grow and blossom. At the age of eight, I was delving into the world of The Baby-sitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin. I became the confidante of Karen, who experienced a world of two families and living in a “little house” and “big house.” Each book that Martin produced was always interesting, funny, and captured my devotion to the series.

My passion continued to expand to include the world of The Boxcar Children and the world of mystery became my obsession. I enjoyed each of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s mysteries and adventures that each of the Boxcar brothers and sisters encountered. My love for Children’s literature expanded to Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, E.B. White, Judy Blume, and Maurice Sendak. The voices of children were my own and I felt a kinship with them that I have never experienced with another human being.

My love for reading moved into genres that were unexpected and life altering. When I was twelve years old, the dark words of R.L. Stine, Lois Duncan, and Christopher Pike drew me into a world of death, horror, and murder. My teacher expressed concern to my parents that I was only reading this genre of writing. I dismissed her apprehension and reassured my parents that things were going fine. Besides, by the time sixth grade was over, I had finished all the books I could get a hold of by these authors.

When I entered seventh grade, I had developed an interest into authors such as S.E. Hinton, Rudolfo Anaya, and Gary Soto. My love of literature took on a cultural approach, whether it was addressing gang culture or Mexican American culture. My teacher had a strong interest in my education because he understood my natural love for reading. He recommended authors and books for me to read, and I was immediately hooked. My favorite novel I read was Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. That book changed my existence and understanding of literature, which compelled me to read every book I could find written by Anaya and, if I could not find it, I would order the rest through the library.

The art of reading could not have been accomplished without the public library. I spent many hours, days, and summers in the library. I would quickly complete my homework and run around the library. I would check out so many books, I would fill up my backpack and two paper bags. The librarians grew to know me and were astonished at how I could devour books within a few weeks. My childhood is filled with happiness at those moments in my life.

As I look back now, I wish I had more rare moments of my pure delight and devotion towards my gift of reading.

Jennifer Ellspermann

Photo Credit: Girl Reading


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