it’s no surprise that reading has been a defining feature of my life. books joigned me through ups and downs, helped me form friendships and made me escape the real (ugly) world. and fortunately, they still do.
not only has reading been a big source of joy, it has also helped me through hardships in life. as i read more books, i found answers to many questions, solutions to many problems, and reminders that i am not alone, and don’t have to be, in what i go through, whether it be a small issue or a big one. when i read YA during middle school and high school, i could relate to the characters in a way, spot something that happened/is happening to me too. i lost and found myself in books, and i still do.
i may not have been always loyal to books, but they always were here ready to pick me up and transport me. to the real world, to other worlds, to the future and the past. and as i traveled, they shaped my personality, from start to finish.
i can definitely say that there are some parts of me that i got from the books i read. some consciously and some not, but everything i read helped me become a stronger, better person, and my personality would have been totally different if not for what i have read.
though my reading taste has changed throughout the years (from mainly YA fantasy and sci-fi to now mostly adult and YA romance with still a deep love for fantasy), i know that the change is merely a reflection of my development and growth as a person. what i need now in books is different from what i needed back then, although i still go back to old favorites because they remind me of happy times and foetus me.
and when i started reading books that showcased me, a moroccan muslim teenager of color, it was…i was left speechless. finding myself in books had a whole new meaning. i started to look for more books where i could see myself, where i could be the main character, and i am still looking. i am aware that we still have a long way to go in this area, but i am thankful for these books.
in fact, i am thankful for every book i read, whether i loved or hated it. each story was one more step towards the person i am today, and i still hopefully have thousands of experiences to live. i believe being a reader is an adventure in the wonders that are the fictional worlds, but also lessons and reflections of the one we’re living in.
and i’m glad i am part of this journey.