I was an extensive reader at a young age. I read bilingual children’s books, knowing words I didn’t even know how to pronounce because I only learned it by reading. I read almanacs and fact books as a child, simply because I was interested in the information that they presented. I read popular pocketbooks by Ann M. Martin, R.L. Stine, and Mary Pope Osborne. I was also a fan of the original Archie Comics. Eventually, I grew older and I moved on to novels by J.K.Rowling, Lemony Snicket, and Eoin Colfer.
Now, I am more widely read (I believe), reading works of different genres, from Colleen Hoover to Dan Brown. It was 8 years ago when I first read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It was a popular book (it still is) but somehow I never got around to hearing about it or reading it. It was a required book for my English class, and we all had to buy copies of it. I vaguely remember the discussion we had, although I do remember that we were grouped and we had to make a presentation of sorts with what we learned from it. I also remember that I just read the book simply because it was a requirement. It looked cute and people said it was good, so I was alright with it. I read it and I found it interesting how the prince could care for a rose so intensely.
The problem with required readings, as I have fully realized in my college days as well, is that they are required. I have come to know myself a bit more, and I realized that when I have to do something, that tends to take the enjoyment out of it. I had different articles, short stories, and novels that I needed to read for various classes back in college. One time when the semester was over, I went over them again and I actually had fun reading them. The thing with required readings is that when you read them, you have a class or a paper in mind, and so you automatically analyze it and think of what you’ll say. Besides, with all the academic deadline you have, you rarely have time for a pleasure read.
Going back to The Little Prince, I had the pleasure of reading it again just last week. It was the same book from before, but it was a different book. It hasn’t changed, but I sure have. Over the eight years, I have grown so much. I learned a lot, met various people, and experienced different things. I wasn’t the same person as before, and that has made all the difference. I was reading the book with different point of view. I suddenly got all the subtle meaning in the book regarding adults and how they tend to lose their childish imagination, thinking about “matters of consequence” and not really focusing on the important things in life.
With this recent experience in mind, I suddenly thought about all the other books I have read before. I wondered what I’d think about them now that I’m not exactly the same person anymore. Reading the same book was an entirely different experience, and it will make you think of your own opinion-making process right now. You hold particular beliefs and comments because you know certain things as of this moment, but years from now, it could all change.
What I learned from all of this is that reading is a matter of perspective. It’s all on the lens you choose to put on.