Throwback Thursday: It’s World Book Day, but reading was the devil

So today is World Book Day, a day when authors, book illustrators and reading are celebrated.

And it’s especially a day for children to come together to appreciate reading, or so says the World Book Day website.

Seeing this, it made me wish “celebrations” like this existed when I was growing up. I mean sure, we had the Pizza Hut Book It program at school, which rewarded us when we read a certain number of books with a personal pizza pan. But it wasn’t enough initiative to get others excited about reading, or at least to me it wasn’t.

Growing up, I loved reading. I still do. However, it wasn’t always easy growing up as a book nerd. Especially when you had a mother who –God bless her soul –would get on to you for reading everything but the Holy Book.

I would spend my allowance on cassette tapes and books, and I would get excited when my class went to the library or when my school held a book fair. I always got excited when the Scholastic order form came out, for it was my newspaper, my first shopping catalog.

I would try to save money for a book. I would hold on to that order form or return to the book section at Wal-Mart or whatever store, just to get that book I’ve had my eye on.

And I would try to find the best book deals, so that maybe, just maybe, I could get another book. Especially if I couldn’t decide which book to buy! If I could buy both, I would.

The books I purchased were R. L. Stine’s Fear Street series, the Sweet Valley (twins and high school) series, The Babysitters Club, and of course, anything by Christopher Pike. And with Christopher Pike’s books, I felt like a rebel. His books would have a couple of curse words, and the Catholic girl in me would be shocked, and afraid that my mother would find out. She was already angry that I spend my money on music and books, why add more fuel to the fire?

Now, you would think that a parent would be thrill to see her child’s love of reading bloom, and encourage her to increase her book collection. Not so with my mother.

“If you love reading so much, why don’t you read the bible?” she would yelled at me.

I don’t remember my response, but I do recall how I felt. It was sadness and aghast. I didn’t comprehend why she wasn’t proud of me for this. I thought she would be, but instead she got angry.

And so for my birthday one year, in order to make my mother happy and perhaps, ease up on my reading choices, I asked for a bible. And the Catholic bible was what I received.

Did I read it? Eh. Not really. I would bring it to Sunday School, and try to follow along in class. Though it didn’t give me the excitement that a regular book did. It failed to create the wild imagination in my head like the other books did.

Not saying the bible is good or bad, but I probably felt that way due being force to read the bible, and the implication that the bible is good, and any other book is bad.

Except I disagree with this. My mother saw Fear Street and Christopher Pike books as the devil. I think she had the fear that many Latina mothers had, that the diablo would come through the book and possessed my soul or haunt the home.

As I mentioned before, I still love to read. I love getting lost in a book. I only wish my mother was accepting of my love for words, since words are my way of expressing myself. And words allow me to tell a story, and will be my way to earn a living.

Words make me happy. I hope my writings -whether in opinion, blogging, or reporting form- make you happy or make some sort of impact as other writers have done for me.

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