What makes me different from other writers, you may ask? Do
you know how writing experts say that all authors must love reading, too? Well,
that’s not how I am.
Yes, it might be strange for me to say this, but while I love
writing, I don’t love reading. You read that right. I hardly ever read
for fun. Usually, I read to enhance something for myself or if I’m forced to—which
hasn’t happened in years since I’m out of school and college.
The last year I’ve enjoyed reading stories for fun was 3rd
grade. Starting in 4th grade, I’d only read non-fiction for fun. Not
much has changed with that since—well, except in 8th and 9th
grade. I would only read “Harry Potter” for pleasure. I constantly borrowed the
books from my school library. And because I started reading them after the first
four movies had been released, I read the novels out of order. It was no
Anyway, another unique trait in me is that I’m not just a
weak reader for my age, but I also have younger tastes. I am not kidding. I
would often get surprised when I heard about young children reading about
characters at least a few years older than them and advancing faster than I
thought. There are even complex books for kids who advance quickly, but are appropriate
for their ages.
When I heard about a 7-year-old who wouldn’t be caught dead
reading Dr. Seuss and read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, I was thinking Caught
dead? At that age, I was constantly borrowing Dr. Seuss books from my school
library. I also heard about a 4th grader who read about
14-year-old main characters. When I was that young, 14 would’ve been an extremely
big number for me, and I would’ve considered myself way too young for
that. I am not exaggerating. The first time I read about a 14-year-old character
was early 8th grade, and that was “Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire”. I was reading about characters at that age when I was 16. I also read “Judy
Moody” when I was 10. I’m, like, the only person who read down a lot—the
opposite of many people, children and adults. My mom even had to stop me from
reading a certain book for school summer reading because it was too young.
Excluding required stories for school, I’ve rarely read up
for fun. I read the 7th Harry Potter book from age 13-14 (I read
super slowly and have a short attention span) and where the protagonist is 17. But
that was only because it was a bestselling franchise. Had it been at the level
of “Percy Jackson” or “Eragon”, I likely would never have touched the book.
Last year, right before turning 25, I was just getting
interested in new adult stories. As a college freshman, my classmates would
discuss books like, “The Help” while I was far from ready to outgrow young adult
On the bright side, if you write children’s books, reading
other stories in your target audience’s age range will help you with your own
writing. So, there’s a benefit of reading below your level.
Above all, don’t let others judge you. Be who you want to
be. Read what you like and when you want. Hey—it might benefit your own