Scars and Stories: How I Learned to Read (Though Sheer Stubborness)

Intro:

Every book blogger has a story of how they got into reading or what book insinuated the love of reading in them. This is my story, except my “learning to love to read” story is also my “literally learning to read story”.

Story Time:

Every kindergartener in America starts reading by learning sight words, and by the time they get to first grade they can read picture books on their own. Right?

Well, I went to a private school from preschool until first grade, and they were more math than reading oriented. Reading was basically something that was used to understand the directions on worksheets and that’s it. We didn’t actually read books. I don’t think I read a book until the second grade. That is when I really learned to read. (I mean, I’m pretty sure I read picture books and stuff. But not much else.)

Now, I had an amazing teacher in second grade. I was ahead in everything but reading compared to my class. I went from my slightly advanced private school to an inclusive class (by the fourth quarter they switched me to Gifted – yes, most of the way through the year) to put things in perspective. I went from a first grade reading level to sixth grade level by the end of the year with her. I was at a college reading level by the end of third grade.

The first chapter book I read? Harry Potter.

Sounds crazy? Well, I was a stubborn child (I still am).

I watched the first four movies and was dying to know what happened, so seven year old me decided she wanted to read the books. Didn’t matter that I could just barely read Magic Tree House on my own, I was determined. The school library wouldn’t let me check out the books, but my grandma bought me the boxed set for my birthday/christmas (something around there – this was a decade ago give me a break).

Mind you, I struggled greatly. And Harry Potter was interpreted with listening to the first book on audio to help me out (which we soon learned I wasn’t all that thrilled with – I hate audiobooks, I would literally fall asleep), as well as Cornelia Funke’s books, and stuff  like Series of Unfortunate Events (which I read out of order because at 7 I did not yet really understand the concept of series being in a particular order).

Eventually, I stubborned my way through all the Harry Potter books in a little over a year. My dad used to have to help me read words like “chandelier” but I could read things like “ectoplasm” just fine. I think I confused him.

My reading ability couldn’t be attributed just to Harry Potter – though it was my primary motivation to wanting to. I also had a thing where I liked having subtitles on TV shows  – mind you, I was the kind of kid that was so obsessed with Pokemon, I’d watch the newest movie in Japanese with English subtitles because I couldn’t wait the six months for a Dubbed release.

This Pokemon obsession was the other motivation behind wanting to learn to read – beginning even before the Harry Potter one. I was really into playing Pokemon Channel on the GameCube and Pokemon Leafgreen on the game boy – but Pokemon games are pretty dependent on reading, so I’d have to wait for my dad to help me out (I was 3/4/5 okay?). So, literally, I wanted to learn to read so I could lay Pokemon on my own. I’m pretty sure my first sight words were things like “Pikachu used Thundershock” or something.

After:

Mind you, my stubbornness over reading didn’t end once I’d mastered it. I tried to read Pride and Prejudice when I was 8 (I got bored and read Holly Black and Rick Riordan instead but still – I got a ways through it).

When I was 9, I read all the Twilight books – despite being told repeatedly I was too young and even getting my book confiscated so the teacher could confirm with my mother that I was permitted to read it. I probably would have stopped after the second book because I was, well 9, and a lot went over my head. But I was told I shouldn’t/couldn’t so I finished them. And liked. And started a shipping war among the nine-year-olds once the movie came out and we all begged to see it. Yeah, I was that kid.

I read Hunger Games in fifth grade and gave my dad a heart attack by sobbing hysterically in the car when Rue died – and loudly scream/begging for the next book – despite him beginning to think it was a mistake to let his 10 year old read such violence.

By my last semester of fifth grade, I’d literally run out of books grade level or higher in the ENTIRE SCHOOL LIBRARY to read. Not ones that interested me. All of them. I can’t name beyond about 20 or so favorites that I read through all of elementary school (10 Ways to Make My Sister Disappear, Regarding The Fountain, Awful End, Ghosthunters, Heir Apparent, Companions Quartet, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, The Girl Who Could Fly, Inkheart, Amber Brown, Ramona and Beezus, Suddenly Supernatural, Molly Moon, Peter and the Starcatachers, The Magic Half, Scat, Etc.). My teacher had to allow me to read below grade level books so I could reach my minimum for a grade. Yeah, it was pretty insane. I sat for an hour with a stack of picture books, reading and taking AR tests for .5 points each until I got what I needed.

I was the kid who got in trouble for reading under the desk a lot. I once got grounded from reading and was told to watch TV because I was being a smart mouth (my dad told me to do the dishes, and I said child labor was illegal…and continued arguing this point for a while – I was like, 8).

Scars & Stories: Asexuality

I haven’t done a scars and stories post in a long time, not since (and I just checked this) October of 2016. I’ve only done about 5 total in the over-a-year since I’ve started these…new blogging goal, actually WRITE MY OWN FEATURES.

I’m getting off track.

So, I’ve mentioned that I identify as asexual (ace) a couple of times on this blog, but its never really been anything I’ve talked about, mostly just because it didn’t feel like the sort of thing to talk about in the middle of a book tag or whatever.

And I thought it’d make a good Scars & Stories prompt, so here we are.


Definitions:

Asexuality, if you don’t know, means a lack of sexual attraction. It is NOT the same thing as being romantic, which is a lack of romantic attraction, which I don’t think I identify as.

Asexuality is a spectrum, and there are different kinds, and honestly I don’t know everything about it, but there is different extents, such as:
-Complete asexuality where you experience attraction under no circumstances.
-Demi-sexuality, where you experience sexual attraction to someone only after falling in love with them.
-There is sex-apethtic, where sex doesn’t excite you but doesn’t repulse you.
-And semi-repulsed which is pretty self explanatory.


Where I Fall:

I honestly don’t really know where exactly I fall on the spectrum. I know I’m ace, and maybe I’m demi-, but I know I’m not aromantic, because I do want to get married and have kids one day. WHICH IS SOMETHING ACE PEOPLE CAN DO BY THE WAY. Like, after I graduate from college though. I do not want to be a teen mother.

tumblr_n3iullBijt1rmm9qfo4_400.gif


Story Time:

So I started identifying as ace in freshman year of high school, so I was 14/15 (depending on the month – I don’t quite remember).

I do remember the moment quite vividly though.

In my high school, I am a part of a magnet (basically meaning special/advanced) program – I’m in the Biomedical academy. First year biomed is basically basic anatomy and physiology as at simplified level. And in this class we had a sex-ed program called “Be Hip”. And to their credit they touched upon different sexualities. They also mentioned something called the Kinsey Scale.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Our teacher leaves us alone for a while. And since we’re the good kids at nerd school, we don’t start wrecking havoc, but rather decide to take this Kinsey Scale test that we had heard about on our phones.

So, we pass the phone around the table to take the test.

(Sidebar – The Kinsey Scale is a sexuality measurement test named after a psychologist whose focus of study/research was human sexuality and its variations. It goes from 1-6. A 1 means entirely heterosexual, a 6 is entirely homosexual, a 3 is bisexual with even preference, 2’s and 4’s are graduations meaning you are willing to try and/or like both sexes but lean mostly one way or another. An X stands for no-sexuality or, asexual.)

Most of my friends get 1’s (completely straight), one girl gets a 3 (bi- but she had already come out to us and so we were entirely unsurprised). I got an X – this was not something we understood.

So, we looked up what asexuality was – and everyone basically agreed it applied to me. I was, after all, the only one in our entire friend group who, not only hadn’t had a boyfriend/girlfriend but also had never even had a crush on anyone.

This obviously doesn’t set anything in stone. The Kinsey Scale isn’t foolproof, sexuality is a fluid, personal thing. And it was mostly a joke, everyone basically assumed I just didn’t like anyone yet and would grow out of it.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was true. But it felt weird to say that, since I knew I still wanted to have a family one day – and that seemed at odds.

But I learned more about the spectrum, and while I don’t know exactly where I fall on it – I know I do fall somewhere on it.

14218915b769645664904f9ec8b76935393e72a2_hq


Parents’ Reaction

Now, being asexual is not quite as dramatic a revelation as coming out as other sexualities. But I do have a pretty funny story.

My dad still mostly affirms that I’ll grow out of it, but I’m about 90% sure he’s joking.

My mom on the other hand…

Flash forward a few more weeks, my mom is driving me to school. And she’s been working late so I hadn’t talked to her much about school.

So she’s asking me about my friends and what we’re doing in school, in biomed etc. Off handedly I mention “we took the Kinsey scale test in class”, and said nothing more on it. After a beat my mom says, “So did you get an X” – cue screeching rewound record noise, I remember suddenly that my mother has a MASTERS DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY. She very much knows what the Kinsey scale is. I ask how she knew I got an X, she says “I know my daughter” – that is the one and only conversation we have ever had about it.

While I don’t talk to my parents much about it, it is something that comes up at school a considerable amount. Especially since my best friend just started dating, everyone now thinks I should to – the Sam’s Asexual thing comes up a lot more now, but at least its stopped being such a joke. I think people finally realized its very, very, legitimate.

 


That’s all I have to say really.

Its not very exciting/dramatic but it is a story I wanted to share.

Do any of you identify as asexual?

Did this help you understand asexuality better if you didn’t before?

Do you want to see more of these Scars & Stories posts?

Let me know!

 

Throwback Thursday: Color Your World

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


 

In kindergarten, there was only one debate bigger than “Crayola v. Rozart” (and really, everyone knows that Crayola is the winner there). That argument is, of course, “what color is this?” Common contenders of this fight are:  red/orange and blue/green, both of which probably have actual names that no one uses. But the argument, actually more like all out war, of my kindergarten class was over a color from the Rozart box, called Orchid.

Orchid is this pink/purple color that was a favorite among the girls of the class. Of course, because no one could read, no one knew it was called Orchid, so we all called it pink or purple depending on the side of the argument you fell on.

I was firmly entrenched in the belief that it was purple. My kindergarten best friend firmly believed it was pink. In order to salvage our friendship from this crushing betrayal, we settled on naming the color “pinkish-purplish”(a perfectly acceptable name considering we were five years old).

Of course, we had to explain to our peers why we were very obviously correct in our naming, and everyone else was wrong. So, we gave the crayon an origin story, and this is that origin story: Once upon a time, a pink crayon and a purple crayon got married and had a baby. That baby was a perfect mix of pink and purple. The crayon parents argued about which one of them the baby should be named after. Finally they came to an agreement, and thus the crayon was named “pinkish-purplish”.

Again, this made perfect sense to a group of five year olds. And although our teacher crushed our little hearts by telling us the crayons real name was Orchid, we never did stop calling it pinkish-purpleish.

How I Choose My Books Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Melting Pots and Other Calamities – whose blog is absolutely amazing, so go check them out!


Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover.
What made you want to pick up this book
?

William-Ritter-Jackaby

A combination of reasons mostly boiling down to:
-a glowing recommendation from Icebreaker694,
-the comparison to Sherlock and Doctor Who (two of my favorite shows),
-and the cheap price of the hardcover via Bookoutlet.


Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did.
Why did you read it in the first place
?

511zpEl8PYL

I don’t really read books I don’t expect to enjoy.

I guess I could go with The Cursed Child – so many people seemed to hate it that I dragged my feet before getting to it. I didn’t HATE it, I liked it, it was entertaining. But I prefer to imagine it as Harry’s fever dream of sorts rather than actual canon.

I read because its Harry Potter – that much should be obvious.


Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random.
How did you discover this book
?

20649195

I discovered this book when I was randomly scrolling through the kindle deals looking for a new ebook to read after AP testing was finished and we basically were doing nothing but watching movies/stareing at the way in AP classes.

It was on sale for $1.99 and seemed interesting – so I got it.

Its now one of my FAVORITE books.

Read my review here: Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me

And there is a sequel! Read my review here: Arc Review: Nowhere Near You


Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you.
What did you think of it
?

22328546

A friend of mine from school LOVED this book – and sophomore year of high school bought it for me for my birthday because she NEEDED me to read it.

I really, really liked it. But I haven’t continued on with the series yet. I might just wait to binge read it when the entire series is finished.

You can read my review here: Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard Book Review


Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs.
Did it live up to the hype
?

Illuminae-Cover.gif

Pretty much EVERY book tuber I watch was RAVING about this book – before it even came out.

And if you’ve read it, you know OF COURSE it lived up to the hype. Its killing me that they pushed back the release of Obsidio.

 


Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a one-word title.
What drew you to this book
?

Divergent hc c(2)

I’d boughten and read City of Bones from the school book fair and when I finished they didn’t have the next book, so I went looking for another.

Divergent was on the same “bestsellers” table and it looked interesting so I bought it.

Sidenote: a lot more books have 1-word titles then I thought…


What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 9.53.36 PM

I saw the movie with my parents, and I liked it, so when I found the book at a second-hand-bookstore I bought it. And I liked it.


Think of your all-time favourite book/s.
When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

Well, I have a whole story about how I came to read and love Harry Potter here:
19 Years Later – My Harry Potter Story

And a whole story of how I came to read and love Twilight here:
Discussion: Why I Still Love Twilight


I Tag:

Casey @ Adopt-a-Book-AUS

B @ Icebreaker694

Calliope The Book Goddess

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

The Blogger Recognition Award #3

Never Not Reading Blog nominated me – you should go check them out because they are hilarious and a wonderful blogger and person all around!


Blogger Recognition Award

The Blogger Recognition Award #2


blogger-recognition-award-badge

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created

How My Blog Started:

Back in 2015, my younger cousin started a blog, at her mom’s insistence (my aunt does PR). Being two years apart, me and my cousin are competitive like sisters – so of course, I started one.

I blogged for maybe a month, before she got bored of it, as did I.

Flash foreword to the end of 2016, I decide I want to blog again. So I did. And i’ve been going strong(-ish) ever since!


Advice:

  1. Just do it. Waiting until “you’re good enough” or until everything is perfect just means you’re never going to start. Start your blog, learn as you go, talk to people. Eventually, you learn, you get better, your blog grows and changing with you, but that can’t happen if you never start.
  2. Talk to people. Comment on discussions. Tag people in tags and posts. Talk a conversation on twitter. I promise, 99.9% of the time, people are amazingly nice and will love to talk and make new friends. Ask for help. Request books. Nothing ever happens when your too scared to try. If you want to be a part of the community, be a part. Simple as that.

Nominees:

B @ Icebreaker694

Calliope The Book Goddess

Jocelyn @ 52 Letters In The Alphabet

Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

The Orangutan Librarian

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

Adri @ Little Fox & Reads

Melting Pots and Other Calamities

Sarah @ Written Word Worlds

Angelina and Brianna @ Fables Library

19 Years Later – My Harry Potter Story


Today is the day of the Harry Potter epilogue.

Yes, I informed every person I came across at school.

No, I did’t do any fun Potter related things – because again, I had to go to school.

I thought, though, that in celebration, it would be a good day to write about the impact Harry potter had on my life.


maxresdefault-3

My Harry Potter Story

When I was in second grade, I was in the inclusion class at school – which essentially meant I was bored perpetually, because I finished my work ages before anyone else.

My teacher had me read during this time, partly to keep me occupied so I couldn’t distract others, partially, because I was reading at about a kindergarten/first grade level.

And I hated it. Reading was boring. The books they gave me were boring. I did find some I liked, Scary Stories to tell in the dark, Magic treehouse etc. But I could only read so much of it. I would read it, and like it, but never felt the need to keep reading, or read more.

This changed when my parents showed me the Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire movie.  I hated seen the other movies. I had never heard of the books. I didn’t want to watch the movie – because “ew my parents like it” and I was 7/8.

We watched the movie. I was confused the entire time and persisted in asking questions about everything the entire time through. I thought Hermoine and Harry were dating. My mother corrected me. My mom didn’t feel like explaining three movies to me, so they rented all four so I could watch them through. I loved them. I wanted more. But the fifth movie wouldn’t come out for about a year at that point. My mom told me the books were finished (the seventh book had come out fight about this time).

I tried to check the first book out from the library. Its a sixth grade reading level, which I had decidedly not reached. They wouldn’t let me check out the book.

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 2.40.51 PM

That Christmas, my grandmother bought me the box set of the books. It was decadent too hard for me to read. I stubborned through it on the principle that I wanted to prove people wrong – and that I did in fact like it. I didn’t stop reading until I finished the series. It took me about a year to finish the seven books.

Third grade – I finished the books. I was a seventh grade reading level. Every quarter I was the top reader of the school – not just the grade level – from the rest of my time in Elementary school – I won us ice cream parties.

Thus began my love of reading. And my obsession with Harry Potter.

When I was in fifth grade. My grandmother took me to New York and we went to the Harry Potter exhibition at my insistence. I own a time turner necklace and Ravenclaw robes from Harry Potter world at Universal. In seventh grade, a friend and I started a Harry Potter club at school – our sponsor was named Ms. Luna and I consistently called her Ms. Lovegood though not entirely on purpose.

I’m currently making my ten year old cousin (the cousin from Harry Potter: As Told By My 9-Year Old Cousin) read the books and she is on book six now.

Me and my friends are planning a Harry Potter movie marathon for an end of Senior Year celebration, all 20+ hours straight before we graduate.

Harry Potter has such a big role in my life, and today seemed like the day to share it.

Apologies – and a Semi-Haitus

Okay,

So you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been very active on this blog recently – every post that has gone up this summer was previously scheduled, and while I responded to comments, I haven’t really been reading blogs or writing posts, or reading.

You may have noticed that there haven’t really been any recent book reviews – because I haven’t been reading. Part of this is I got entirely overwhelmed by Netgalley and it put me in a reading slump, and a majority of it is I’m been working of things this summer – volunteering, college and fly in and scholarship applications, babysitting my sister, etc. And as much as I love this blog, all those things must come first.

So, I have posts scheduled for a while, and I’ll try to write more when I can, I’ll try to respond to comments etc. But I won’t be as active as I like to be on here for a while, and I won’t be reading much for fun, because school stuff has to come first. I feel guilty, because I do have arcs pending etc. but my schoolwork and my future (i.e. college applications and things) have to come first.

I hope you all understand.