You would think that school would be paradise for a bookish, nerdy kid, like I was. But as any former bookish, nerdy kid will tell you, that was hardly the case. Sure, there was always lots to read, new books to discover, stories to talk about (and sometimes even write!). But there was a downside as well. So often, the books we had to read were old hat, or overly familiar. Things I’d read long before, or things I had no interest in reading.
I lost track, early on, of the number of times I got caught reading the books I had chosen, not the ones assigned in class. I thought I had it all worked out: keep the book in your lap, and glance down to read when the teacher’s not looking. Keep the book you want to read underneath the book you’re supposed to be reading, with only a few lines visible at a time. It seemed like it should work, but I got caught almost every time.
That didn’t stop me, though. I don’t think it stopped any bookish, nerdy kid.
And we never forget it. We never quite grow up.
Even now, decades later, I’m still that kid close to the back of the room, sneaking Tom Swift or Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators or John Bellairs, when I’m supposed to be reading ... Funny. I can’t even remember what I was supposed to be reading, but those books I snuck? Those books I loved enough to risk the ire of the teachers, and the threats of the hallway or principal’s office? Those books became a part of me.
In celebration of September, this is a special editi …