If you know me at all, you probably know that saying I like to read would be a great understatement. I very rarely go anywhere without taking a book (or two). I probably read more for fun than any other student at my college, and definitely more than the vast majority.
But most of the reading I do at school is in bits and pieces; you can get through a surprising number of books just by reading while you eat and before classes start. Which is nice. But then sometimes…
Sometimes I’ll find myself reading for hours. It might be for school, it might be because I’m tired of a book and want to get through it, or it might be because I find myself in the middle of an impossible-to-put-down book. The reason doesn’t really matter. Reading like that is always sort of a relief. It reminds me of a character in an old favorite book and a phrase that has always stuck in my head.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read the Island trilogy by Gordon Korman. They’re short kids’ books with large print, and I could read all three in a day if I decided to. In the books, six kids are sent on a ship in a behavior correction program, but they end up shipwrecked on an uncharted island. One character, Ian (who was eye-ANN in my head for years before I came to the disappointing realization that the name Ian is pronounced EE-ann), was sent because his parents were worried about him spending too much time doing things like reading, surfing the internet, and watching television instead of having friends. This scene can be found in the third book, Escape:
All day and half the night, Ian pored over the fifty-six-year-old diary of Captain Hap Skelly, M.D. He devoured the details of Sergeant Holliday’s fire-ant bites, Colonel Dupont’s gout, and Lieutenant Bosco’s stomach flu, searching for the tiniest hint of anything that might help Will. He skipped lunch and dinner too, reading by flashlight when it got dark. He owed it to Will, sure. But there was another reason.
For weeks, Ian had watched no television, surfed no Internet, and read not a single word. In the anxiety and fear of these terrible weeks, it had never crossed his mind how much he missed information.
On the beach of a tiny island in the vast Pacific, Ian felt like Ian again.
That last phrase (in which his name will forever remain eye-ANN) often runs through my head when I get to read for hours at school. It makes me feel like myself again, usually when I hadn’t even realized something was missing. And it’s wonderful.