As an adult, I found out that there are many different kinds of reading journals, created to help a reader chronicle and remember books, but I didn’t know that as a child. I was barely a teenager when I began recording what I read. I remember it so vividly.
It was summer vacation, spent at home on the island of Tåsinge in Denmark. The weather was warm, but the fresh grass was cool to walk barefooted in. I spent entire days with my nose in books either on a blanket under the tall birch that towered in the front yard or on the small terrace with my feet up in a chair. My first book of books was in a pink and white floral pattern, and I believe the first book entered with my adolescent loopy handwriting was by R. L. Stine. Many entries followed, and many books of books followed. Now, approximately 20 years later, they fill up a shelf by themselves. In some of them, I have written more than in others, but I chronicled every book, I’ve read since then.
What makes us want to chronicle what we read? I am not in a race; I have not taken up a reading challenge, but there is something distinctly human about reminiscing. We remember the herd of mammoths by drawing on the wall of caves. We repeat stories from generation to generation. We etch letters into trees and take photos from the annual road trip. We keep written journals about what we do, where we go, and what we read – all in an effort to keep the memories – the experiences – alive.
I love the way; the point comes back to the experience. Even in the short lines of a pink and white, floral book of books, a book isn’t just a book. It is the book itself, the reader, the context, the environment, the atmosphere – in short; it is the life of the reader combined with the book. In furtherance, every reading of a book is different; even the rereading of books we hold close to our hearts or that simply deserve a second chance. Reading is always a new experience, even when reconnecting with old friends.