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Overview Of The Books I Love

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I have always enjoyed reading. Unlike most kids, I enjoyed reading more than being read to. Some of the earliest memories from school that I have are when I was in Pre-K and I was given a Curious George book and when I went to my sister’s school’s book fair and my mom bought me a book about Meet the Robinsons. I guess I have always liked to, through my mind, enter these stories and kind of relieve them as a movie or as a background character of sorts, who is watching the story play out. I think what captures a reader is his or her ability to place themselves in the book and visualize everything going on.

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For example, back in the third or fourth grade of school, I read Frankenstein or a version of the original. I remember being scared of Frankenstein’s monster, seeing him as a tall figure that had no sense whatsoever and could kill me rather painfully and grotesquely. As I started reading it, I was frightened by how Frankenstein made his monster. Who would have the audacity to dig up bodies and give life to an unknown creature? It was truly frightening for my younger self, but I wanted to find out if it worked, so I read. And so, Frankenstein’s creation was born and, as I remember, it seemed scared. Who wouldn’t be? Imagine that, instead of growing up as a small baby and slowly growing to be an adult, you suddenly realized you existed and were a giant of sorts? We’d all panic and break a few things here and there. When Dr. Frankenstein realized his errors, he tried to kill him. I was scared, yes, but I was angry that Frankenstein had done something quite impossible and now, seeing his mistake, thought that killing him would erase everything. And so, I read on, being horrified at Frankenstein killing the girl by ripping her hair off like a big puppy killing a bird by accident or a small animal, just trying to play with it. And soon I read through the first “death” of Frankenstein’s creation, to the death of Dr. Frankenstein’s wife, to when Frank(Jr. ) asked Dr. to make him a wife, and to the eventual death of both Dr and Jr (basically). I got to see that it was Junior who was mistreated and was never helped or given a chance to live truly. He maintained distance as often as he could, but in the end, alone with no wife or friends, both Frankenstein and his creation died. Dr. Frankenstein died from being alone and, I think, realizing how he’d messed up the life of his creation. His creation died from never being able to live a normal life even though he was brought to life under awful circumstances. Needless to say, I really liked this book and read a couple more times. I think it’s the first serious book that got me into reading different things.

In the fourth grade, my love of books came from three series: Captain Underpants, Diary of A Wimpy Kid, and Goosebumps. The first two were the books everyone read and were funny and I could talk about them with all my friends. Goosebumps was something special for me. I loved Goosebumps. Starting with “The Haunted Mask” or “Say Cheese and Die!” or “The Haunted School”, I cannot explain how much these books helped give grow my love for reading. There was a time where I had about 40 of these books stacked in the bottom of my seat at school. I can’t really explain, but these books always felt as if I was the main character in it and I was in danger and had to find a way out somehow. I can also say I improved in my writing thanks to Goosebumps. This year would also include my first visit to Barnes and Noble. I just remember being captured by the strong and sweet smell of coffee coming from the Starbucks in the store. I walked through many aisles of kids books, reading the titles, looking for the first Goosebumps to catch my eye. Finally, my eye caught one and I leaped into the section, looking for some new books from the “Horrorland” section. I got one called “Heads, You Lose!”, where these two friends are accused of beheading a king of medieval times, and “Slappy New Year”, where Slappy the dummy came back. All the Goosebumps books helped instill in me the desire to learn what happens to the character, to see if they survived and saved the day.

Comic books have also been a part of my love for reading, but not in the way you’d expect. My first comic was Death of Superman and it was my dad’s copy. It was in Spanish and a bit worn, but it looked great. Now I couldn’t read much at that point, but I followed the artwork and doing that I was able to catch what was going on. Pretty soon thanks to following the art and learning how to read, I was able to actually read the comic book. It was great. Comics at first helped me visualize what was happening and when I learned to read, I was able to understand what the dialogue meant and could gain a better image on how any story would look. The recurring theme throughout has been how I love reading to visualize and project a movie in my mind.

One of the best books I’ve read and visualized is Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. In this book, Mr. Vonnegut is a character of his book, being able to write and change what is going on in his story. There’s this particular scene in the end when Kilgore Trout, one of the characters of this book and a favorite throughout Vonnegut’s books, discovers Kurt. When Kilgore tries confronting him in a dark alleyway-sort of place, Kurt decides to disappear off the book. I don’t know why but that is a scene I can thoroughly imagine as if I’m there. I can see the sweat on Kilgore trying to get to Kurt, underneath a light probably smoking a Pall-Mall cigarette, and the world seeming to go silent and only they exist. I can see Kilgore yell but Kurt is writing into his book and he vanishes, leaving Kilgore in the light, alone and wishing Kurt had made him young again so he could be better.

I read Harry Potter and only read a few things that meet its level. I’d been wary to read Harry Potter since I felt it was of the same quality as Twilight, a book I did not like. The summer of 2017 I decided to give it a shot because my cousins wanted me to watch Fantastic Beasts. I rented the books and spent the next two weeks in my bed, traveling through the Wizarding World, going to King’s Cross, entering platform 9 ¾ and exploring the voyage of the boy who Lived. I was amazed at how a book about magic and kids my age would be so good, but unsurprisingly, it was a masterpiece. Before seeing the movies, I loved reading through the part in Prisoner of Azkaban where Peter Pettigrew was found to be evil and Sirus and Lupin being able to be together again like the old times. I was heartbroken when, after finally meeting ina relative who truly loved him, Harry was unable to leave with Sirius. Lupin is also awesome. It all made sense when we found out the Shrieking Shack was used to keep Lupin safe from others during his time as a werewolf and his friends helping him during the time as Animagus. Honestly, I could make this whole essay about my love for Harry Potter, but there are just so many books that I could talk about.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an interesting guide composed by a Terran named Douglas Adams. Adams thought of it as he was a hitchhiker himself, in Germany, going by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe himself. He hadn’t had a good journey, as everyone he asked for information didn’t understand him, was dumb, blind, deaf, or all 4 options. He gave up and thought, “If I had a Guide to the Galaxy, I’d be out in a flash”. I think it’s safe to say that all of us have thought that once. I’ve certainly had my share of moments when life didn’t seem to be going my way and hoped that I could get off from the planet and travel across time and space and alternate realities. Coincidentally, that seems to be what happens in this series of books. Yet, I have to say that this book isn’t a source of pure science fiction. This book is a human story that takes place in odd, interesting settings. Throughout, we experience finding the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. We also ponder how 42 is the answer and what the question to Life, the Universe, and Everything even is. Our protagonist Arthur is dealing with grief, in his case the destruction of Earth and the loss of tea. We have a depressed robot named Marvin, who can be seen as a sad being who can’t stop his depression from affecting himself and others. We also have Zaphod and Ford Prefect, who seem to see life as an everlasting party. Needless to say, since this is also science fiction, we get some interesting scenes. The first of my two favorite scenes is in the fourth book, in which Arthur is traveling the galaxy in search of his girlfriend Fenchurch. He lands in a cold planet similar to Hoth and sees a being up on top of a tree-like post. I see Arthur’s face red and palling as he gets closer and hearing some wise words from the man. When Arthur asks him where he learned so much, the man simply tells him, “there’s a ton of pamphlets in the station”. The second is from an earlier book. Zaphod has found a shack on a rainy night. Getting off his bright ship, aptly named the Heart of Gold, he enters the house. Inside is an old man with a cat. This man does not do much and simply writes at times and feeds the cat. Inside the oddly comfy room, Zaphod asks him if he is the ruler of the universe. The man simply says, “I just write sometimes. Sometimes for days, I don’t do anything at all. I wish I could give these books justice, but they truly are something to check out”.

All of what I have talked about explains my love of reading. Without these books, my love would never be started. These books are more than ink on paper. They are gateways to adventures of the mind and voyage into the unknown. For them, I love taking the step into the unknown, knowing that I am about to experience the journey of a lifetime.

29 April 2020

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