Nerd, brainiac, loser - I used to hear those words a lot, but they never bothered me asthey might have hurt others, because I am a bookworm, and proud of it. Readingcomes naturally to me, almost like breathing.
I remember all the booksI've read since I was five, and how much I loved them. It used to be a greattreat to wake up early Saturday mornings and go to garage sales with my mom. Theonly items I looked for were books - picture books, fairy-tale books, easychapter books and hardcovers that I would have to wait a few years to read. Theywere all wonderful and special treasures, and I was extremely proud of my growingcollection.
I'm proud because I am a bookworm.
Reading has alwaysbeen a great way to escape everyday life without actually leaving. All it takesis a little imagination, and since I have plenty of that, reading has always beenfun.
When I got to middle school with my large collection, maybe largeenough to call my own library, my parents began fighting more frequently. Istarted devouring books even more. On the weekends I would check out three booksfrom the library to keep me occupied.
My favorite author was R. L. Stine,especially his "Fear Street" series that I read and reread, and if itwere a really good one, read again. For some reason, I never seemed to hear thefighting that was worsening each day or the names my parents called each otherwhile I was reading, but as soon as I put down the book I was all too aware ofwhat was happening.
Now that I am beyond some of the roughest of my teenyears, I don't need reading as an escape anymore. Now I can read for sheerpleasure. Since I've learned so much from it, I feel really lucky, as though Ihave an advantage others don't.
I am lucky because I am abookworm.
So what literature means to me is very simple - all the booksI have read or will read bring me pleasure. Literature is the books that made mesmile, laugh, cry, and the ones that made me angry. I remember not being able tofinish Fahrenheit 451 because in it they burned all books. I found this atrocious- destroying knowledge.
Literature is what got me through my parents'divorce and kept me somewhat sane. Without books I probably would have ripped myhair out. So I wholeheartedly give thanks to authors of the wonderful literatureI enjoy every day. I know that whenever I need to escape, all I have to do isopen a book and turn the page.
I will always proudly remember that I am abookworm.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.