A Learning Experience
Pam Galloway

When I think about reading, I generally think about me sitting in my cozy bed, curled up with a book, glancing at the clock as it seems to skip whole hours of the early morning. My great love of "pleasure" reading is probably because it is so rare an event.
My reading materials often change with the season. In winter, it's generally those "classic" books or "books that I've never read but always wanted to." Their Eyes were Watching God or Emma. Often they are books that I've seen movies of, like The Princess Bride or Lord of the Rings (although I haven't read those yet). Sometimes, they are adventurous and gripping stories of mystery or horror, books that I can't put down because I will lie awake in bed thinking of the possible endings. Over the summer my reading material focus's more on Christian Living. The past two summer's I've worked at Summer's Best Two Weeks (a Christian sports camp in PA). There, I've embraced that rest period after lunch as my time to catch up on some good teachings. The books have ranged from Boy Meets Girl (a book about relationships) to The Sacred Romance (which despite the title, is not about boys!)
With my changing subjects are my changing environments. For the fiction stories, I like to be comfortable...under the covers...on a fluffy couch...under my covers (I really like to read in bed). When it comes to Christian books, I like to be on the beach or under a shady tree, basking in nature, listening to crickets and frogs -- the surrounding creation is just another reminder of the Creator.
My reading habits haven't changed over the years, they've formed. Believe it or not, I used to hate English (shhh...don't tell anyone). I'm not sure if I didn't like it because I didn't have the time needed to do it well or because there were so many exceptions to the rules. I was so busy with activities that involved action that when I finished playing my sports and sat down to read, I soon fell asleep from exhaustion. However, swayed by friends and librarians (or authority figures, although friends and librarians had more influence) I started to read because I didn't want to miss out on life. I thought if I didn't read certain books, I'd miss out on the literary jokes on Saturday Night Live. English actually influences our humor in many ways, and I enjoyed understanding the many ways and layers that lie beneath the surface.
Aside from feeling like reading was something people did to avoid missing key events (or stories), I also read because I felt like it was an intelligent thing to do. The intelligent people knew books. I only knew about them...that they consisted of white (or yellow) pages with black writing on them bound between two cardboard-like materials. However, once I discovered that a good book was just as engaging as a good TV show, I started reading more during the bad TV shows. (I still watched Cosby!!) But let me clarify: by good book, I mean, good beginning. If I didn't read something of significance to me within the first few chapters, I usually abandoned the book unless persuaded by a trusted friend (and sometimes by good teachers). The reverse, of course, is that once I'm motivated and absorbed in a book, it takes a great feat to break me from its grasp. I will stay up all hours of the night just reading. If the chapter doesn't end satisfactory, I read on until I find one with some sort of closure. This style of reading, however, conflicts with the college lifestyle, as there's always a place to go, activity to plan, or assignment to do. But, one of the things that keeps me going are the joys of a finished book, learned idea, and stretched imagination.