Oh nostalgia! Scholastic book orders! There is absolutely no happier moment in life than when your new Captain Underpants book arrives in the classroom—those shiny covers...that new book smell...#bestdayever
Then high school came around, and your grade was dependent on reading and writing a rhetorical analysis of Shakespeare. Don't get me wrong—I loved reading, writing, and critically analyzing the themes of Oedipus Rex, but when your grade is dependent on how well you extract certain knowledge from readings, you become more like an auditor than a learner. In other words, you care more about gets you that A than the actual learning experience itself. And it doesn't help that Sparknotes became a high schooler's best friend, but that's another story...
But looking back at my childhood, some of my fondest memories were dragging my mother to the Chinatown library in search of the next Journey to the West (Monkey King) book, so she could read to me at night. Then came Harry Potter and that was just hardcore reading to the extreme. When you lock yourself in your room refusing to eat for 2 days while voraciously eating up 700 pages of wizards and talking hats and dungeons, you know it's a damn good book.
And even till this day, my love of reading has persisted. While I still believe in wizards and dragons somewhere in the far reaches of my mind (I still hope that one day, I'll just randomly walk into a wardrobe that transports me to C.S. Lewis' Narnia), reading has shaped much of my adult mind and taken me on different life journeys through books such as Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist.
A lot has been said about the power of mentors. And the beauty of books is the ability to soak up advice from many mentors who have seen and experienced things beyond your wildest dreams. And the best part is...I get to talk to them every night if I choose.