On Time and Nostalgia
Keah Brown

Dust On My Bookshelf


I wish I read more. When I was a kid I always had a book on my bedside table. A bookmark sat between the pages and each night my parents would tuck me into bed and tell me that I had to stay in my room. It was fine if I stayed up, but that I had to stay in my bed. So as a child I would stay up until my eyelids were droopy, reading. I devoured the pages and lived with the characters. I fell in love with literature. I would imagine myself fighting wizards, falling in love with a prince, or even solving a crime. No book went untouched and my bookshelf was full of my favorite stories.

My bedroom wasn’t the only place I loved to read. In the car, on the bus, and in restaurants where my parents had to hide my book while we were eating. I constantly had a book in my hand. I was even berated by teachers for reading under the table during math lessons.

My reading was so ferocious that in the 5th grade they even let me into the elite GATE (gifted and talented) program. Based on my reading scores I was above a college level.

So I don’t know how today I can barely make my way through one book. My nightly chapters have been replaced with trying to beat level 113 of Candy Crush. My love of books has turned into feeling forced to read seven chapters by Tuesday for my History class.

It’s not like I’ve stopped buying books.

I have a half-read copy of Not That Kind Of Girl on my dresser and a waterlogged copy of I Am Malala in my backpack (from when I took it to the beach). There’s a stack of books sitting on my desk chair, while my Kindle sits charging behind my bed. It contains a million Kindle books. Each is half read, a little progress button sits beneath them mocking me. There are books on my dresser, the bookshelf, my suitcase. Some have never been touched, others have bookmarks and tiny scraps of paper in them.

I feel like they’re taunting me, but I just can’t find myself finishing them. I’ll read a few pages and then begin writing an article. Or I’ll finish a chapter and then get lost on Twitter for an hour.

When I was a kid we barely had the internet. The computer sat in my parent’s bedroom, it was impossible for me to search the web before bed. My only option was to pick up a book.

Nowadays I have plenty of distractions, my laptop and my phone are constantly accessible. Instead of reading the rest of a novel before bed I’ll find myself watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

I’ve allowed myself to become lazy. Watching something is a hell of a lot easier than reading it. I’ve become that person that watches the movie instead of reading the book and I hate it.

I want to become a book person again. I want to be the girl with a bookmarked novel on her bedside table.