Columns > Published on August 7th, 2020

Celebrating National Book Lovers' Day

Original photo by Rahul Pandit

I wasn’t always a book lover. In fact, when my mom first started teaching me to read, I went down kicking and screaming — metaphorically, of course. I have this clear memory of sitting in my bedroom in our apartment when the door opened and she walked in with one of those learn-to-read books, and I just pitched the mother of all fits. She says I didn’t pitch a fit, but I remember it that way and hey, this is my story.

But after I learned, it’s like some sort of magical switch was flipped — I was a reader.

Another clear-as-day memory: my mom used to read the American Girl series to me. We were halfway through the Josefina series, back in the mid-90s, and I was impatient. It was taking too long. So I begged and begged and got her to agree to let me read them on my own.

I don’t think my mom ever recovered from the heartbreak of her baby girl leaving her in the dust and preferring to read on her own, but me? I’ve been an avid solo reader ever since. One year in middle school I tracked every book I read and got in the 300s. Many of them were children’s books, but by then I was also combing my parents’ shelves for books to read and absorb.

Let’s celebrate all the good that books have done for us this Sunday.

This Sunday is National Book Lovers’ Day, a holiday that seems tailor-made for me. Books have been my light when I was depressed; they’ve brought me adventure when I was bored; they’ve even helped me during this torturous year of one catastrophe after another, providing escape and refuge from the endless stream of hardship 2020 has plopped upon the world.

I’ve always loved books. As a child, I read mainly Christian fiction, but in high school and college I delved into other genres, discovering mainstream YA through Twilight and The Hunger Games. Since graduating from college, I’ve immersed myself in the world of young adult, especially diverse young adult literature, reading and adoring contemporary stories by Angie Thomas or Mark Oshiro; fantasy by Heidi Heilig and Tracy Deonn; romance by Sandhya Menon; and so many more.

I’ve even explored some adult fantasy, including the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty.

I’ve enjoyed Slavic-inspired fantasy like the Something Dark & Holy series by Emily A. Duncan, as well as contemporary set in Ireland like The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar.

In short, I’ve explored this world and many others through the books I’ve read. I’ve experienced first love and last love; heartache and heart-mending; adventure and boredom. I’ve run through the full gamut of emotions thanks to the books I’ve read. Through books, I’ve lived countless lives and been on dozens of adventures that I could never reasonably experience otherwise. I’ve explored the high seas thanks to All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace.

My reading could do with some expansion, of course. I don’t read nearly enough nonfiction, and I plan to change that in the near future with Chanel Miller’s Know My Name and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, among others.

I’m trying to read more middle grade — I just started the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, a decade and a half late but hey, at least I’m here, right? And after that I plan to delve into the Rick Riordan Presents books, a series of middle grade fantasies inspired by various worldwide cultures and mythologies.

Even when I’ve been through phases where my reading was stalled out or interrupted, when I was going through a slump of some kind, I’ve always returned to reading. It’s a safe place for me. There are so many books in the world, a million and one more than I could ever read, and there’s bound to be something for everyone.

So this Sunday, on National Book Lovers’ Day, I would like to encourage you to spend some time loving on a book. Either reading one you already own, or buying one from your local independent bookstore (indie bookstores are crucial to the publishing industry’s continuation and to the future existence of books), or sharing a review or a picture or a single-Tweet thought about a book you’ve loved...let’s celebrate all the good that books have done for us this Sunday.

Buy Know My Name at Bookshop or Amazon

Buy Three Women at Bookshop or Amazon

About the author

Karis Rogerson is a mid-20s aspiring author who lives in Brooklyn and works at a cafe—so totally that person they warn you about when you declare your English major. In addition to embracing the cliched nature of her life, she spends her days reading, binge-watching cop shows (Olivia Benson is her favorite character) and fangirling about all things literary, New York and selfie-related. You can find her other writing on her website and maybe someday you’ll be able to buy her novels.

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