I remember the first time I went to the library to check out a book. I was six years old and attending a decently small elementary school in California’s San Joaquin Valley. It was the first time our class was allowed into the library outside of our set “story time” with the librarian. It felt like I had been wandering around for hours, I was so consumed. I grabbed Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus off of a shelf and found a quiet corner to read in. My teacher was looking for me as I hid between the shelves to keep reading for as long as I could before having to go back to class.

I was, and to this day am, the reader of my household. Once I have a book in my hands, you won’t be able to pry it out until I hit the back cover. I was 12 years old when it took me approximately 10 hours to finish the third book of the Twilight Series, Eclipse. I had woken up at about five in the morning on Easter Sunday and saw the book in my basket. I immediately ran to grab a blanket from my bed and curled up on the couch with my book light and sped through the novel, only stopping to go to church and eat breakfast with my family. This obsession with continuous reading and curiosity became a normal occurrence throughout my life. I repeated this pattern with books such as A Fault in Our Stars by John Green, various books of the Harry Potter Series (I finished The Deathly Hallows in 13 hours), and Dear John by Nicholas Sparks.

Fast forward to August 8th, 2016, I was sitting on my bedroom floor packing my room up to head down to the University of Arizona. I am loudly singing along to “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison when I heard a quiet knock on my door. It turns out to be my dad. He looks at me and then glances at my old, dark brown bookshelf that is bulging with my ever-growing collection of books. “You don’t have enough room for all of these in you dorm room, you know that right?” he says. I was devastated. How was I to decide which are my favorites to take with me? Wouldn’t the others be neglected if I left them at home because no one would read them? He sat a box down on the floor and left the room. It took me two and a half days to decrease my collection from 73 to 20, a number that my dad deemed appropriate enough to fit in those shoe-boxes that they call a dorm room.

-Written by Ireland Stevenson, Intern