One of my earliest memories is of reading The Chronicles of Narnia way past my bedtime. I had a fish tank which had a light and I learned real quick that I could turn out my lights, turn on the fish tank light, and read into the night. It was pure love of reading.
Fast-forward to high school. I remember slogging through Dickens and Shakespeare and being bored out of my mind. There’s something about being forced to read that kills a lot of the joy. Mix that with a teacher prodding students who haven’t read the book for answers, and you get a real buzz-kill. If that’s all there is to the world’s great literature, well, I’d rather pass.
But in so many of our lives, something amazing happens. It might take a while or it might sprout from the first book read for fun. Our souls are jostled and we’re never the same. Once you pick that first book up, it leads down a path that doesn’t stop. One book leads into another. People ask you when you find the time to read and you want to ask them how they have the time not to read.
For me, the book that sparked a change was The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge. At its root, it connects books of literature, art, and movies to the Biblical Gospel. This sparked in me a desire to get a hold of some of the books highlighted in The Sacred Romance. The first book I read after that was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. That book blew me away and I can still vividly remember scenes of that book nearly 18 years later. That was it for me. My love of reading that started by a fish tank light was reignited and has never died down.