Once upon a time..
When I was in the 2nd grade, my teacher held a contest to encourage her students to read. Whenever one of us completed a book, she would put a marble into the mason jar we each had on our desks. At the end of the year, the marbles would be tallied and the winner with the most would get a pizza party on the last day of school.
There was a girl in my class who was always boasting about her reading accomplishments. She would proudly count her marbles out loud and comment on our meager collections, predicting her future victory. I didn’t like her because she had always picked on me for being awkward and dorky, so I decided that I was going to win just to spite her.
Over the next few months, I went to the library nearly every weekend and checked out the maximum books they’d let me have – ten. I read everything I could get my hands on, including the entire series of both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I diligently filled out the required ditto worksheet and got my mother to sign them, compiling them in a carefully guarded, secret stack. I let the girl continue to brag about her jar having the largest volume of marbles; I let her think she was going to win. Then, on the last week of school when the deadline hit for reading credit, I turned in my pile of book reports and collected my enormous bounty of marbles.
I beat her by almost 200 books. She was so upset that she cried.
The moral of the story is: if you pick on the nerd for being a nerd, she is going to outnerd you. (Actually, the moral of the story is probably that I’m a terrible person for relishing the time I made a seven year old girl cry, but after that…)
And now I am an enthusiastic reader with an unquenchable thirst for non-fiction. I love books. I love the look of a vast library, I love their smell, I love the weight of them in my hands, I love the excitement of opening a new one, I gleefully anticipate the potential of those crisp pages. In addition to my small personal library, I also have a Kindle that I carry around everywhere so I always have reading at my fingertips.
…Plus I’ve been conditioned to believe that nerdery leads to delicous pizza, so now I’m like Pavlov’s dog for books.