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Journal of gratitude, day #11: books
This is day #11 in my gratitude spree. Today, I'm grateful for books.

I was instilled with a love for books when I was a small child. My parents both read to me, and I loved letters and writing from before I could read or write. I actually remember learning how to read in kindergarten, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was obsessed about learning how to read. I would take my kindergarten books home and read the stories in them over and over again just for fun.

When I was a kid, my family always did the summer reading program at the public library. We would come home with so many books, and I would read them all!

In elementary school, my favorite book of all time was The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sara Crewe was my hero, and I loved her philosophy that a princess was more than being rich or born into nobility, but actually being a worthwhile human. She taught me to stand up for what I believed in, and that I should always be nice and kind to everyone around me, even if they weren't nice and kind to me.

In middle school, I still read for pleasure, but I also loved reading all of the books for school, as well -- the English assignment books (like Animal Farm), the science textbooks, and the history books. I was an all-around nerd, and I loved doing unnecessary extra credit assignments. In fact, there was a time in my history class where I actually had a 125% in the class. I am not making that up!

By the time I hit high school, I really didn't have time to read for pleasure anymore. I read all of the Standard Works -- Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants -- for seminary. I also read all of the required stuff for my English classes -- The Scarlet Letter, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, Man's Search for Meaning, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Frankenstein. I don't remember really picking up any books just for the fun of it. I enjoyed all of my assigned reading, but once I developed a social life, I really didn't have time for extra books anymore.

After I graduated high school, I had one year before I got paralyzed (almost exactly, in fact). That year after I graduated was fun, but I don't think I read any books that were not assigned for the classes I took. After my accident, my love for books was reignited. There wasn't a lot of things I could do while I was in the hospital for the four and half months right after my accident, so I was frequently read to, mainly by my mom, but also by my grandparents and others. Back then, it was the Wheel of Time series books, but we also read The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings, among other books.

After my computer got set up, I found all about audio books, which are great, but my real love is for e-books. I like being able to read at my own pace, and if I'm ever too tired to read, be able to pick up where I left off easily, which you can't do with audio books. While I love reading, and I read for many hours every day, it's not always books that I am reading (aside from my daily Scripture study). I will go in spurts where I will just read and read books, and then I will go a couple of weeks without reading a book. However, I love books!

I love the sense of escape you can find when you are really wrapped up in a story. I also love learning about fascinating and new things. I love that books can give you new insights and help you understand things that you didn't before. I love reading scriptures every morning, which I wasn't always a huge fan of, but now it's something I look forward to doing. I feel like books help people to connect, and reach out to bridge gaps -- in understanding, in learning, in comprehension, within our own selves. So, in conclusion, I love books, and I am so grateful for their presence in my life.

Who has pictures of themselves reading? I do. This one was taken by my grandpa in 1994. I kind of have an "are you seriously taking a picture of me right now?" look on my face.