The Book That Cured Fred's Reading Hiatus
"We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out--and we have only just begun." --Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
It had been almost 8 years since I had willingly picked up a book. During that time the only books I would get into were required readings for school, and we both know that they were nowhere close to pleasure reading material. It wasn’t always like this though. As a kid I would beg my mom to take me to the library so that I could find another book to fly through but that was when reading was fun, when I was the one choosing the books.
The moment middle school introduced required reading for English class, it was never the same again. I HATED the books they’d choose for us, there was never anything good and worst of all my grades would rely heavily on me reading the book to pass all the test and assignments (I didn’t learn about SparkNotes till 10th grade) so I had to read them. By the time I was in high school I was allergic to books and would do anything to avoid having to touch one.
It wasn’t until 2022 that things changed. I think like most, I was looking for things to do that didn’t involve other people. YouTube videos about Space and wonders of the cosmos became my guilty pleasure and Neil deGrasse Tyson specifically became one of my favorite narrators. After a few months I couldn’t find anything new to watch, videos were saying the same thing or weren’t engaging enough and so I started to look for a book.
The feelings that had been dormant for years started to wake up. I didn’t like the fact that I was looking for a book and I felt like anything I got would be a waste of money. My only real salvation was knowing that I could choose any book I wanted, no reading reports, exams or annotations needed to be done, just some plain and simple reading. A few months passed and I still hadn’t chosen anything. I was kind of forgetting about it to be honest, but my partner had a surprise for me.
Since my birthday was coming up and she knew I was on the hunt for the perfect book, she had taken it upon herself to make the choice for me (I think it was her way of saying I was taking too long). To my surprise she gifted me Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Maybe it was a lucky guess on her part, but this book had the best of both worlds all rolled into one, Neil deGrasse Tyson and the cosmos.
After reading the first page I was hooked. All that hatred I held for reading started to fade with every page I turned. Before I knew it was over, I had read the last page. This couldn’t be, it ended so fast. I wanted more, I needed more. So, I went looking for more and haven’t looked back.
I hope that those who haven’t looked at a book for a long time can give them another chance, it doesn’t matter what it is, a picture book to the history of the boundless sea, if it's something you are interested in then go for it, you might rediscover a long-lost passion.
ABOUT THE BOOKSELLER
Fred went to the same school from pre-k to 12th grade and was donated a bunny named Pichirilo when he was 6. Fred loves rock climbing, but is also scared of heights.