My name is Amanda and welcome to Bangin’ Book Breakdown! This first post is intended to give you a little insight into who I am and why I have created this blog. If you have already read my About page, this will be redundant, but it’s important that I set the stage appropriately.
At a young age, I was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities in reading, writing, and spelling. Even the simplest language tasks were difficult for me and I struggled greatly through my elementary and middle school years. What was an easy task for others was often a time consuming and abysmal ordeal for me. I spent hours studying spelling flashcards but I continued to do poorly on tests. I dreaded being called on to read aloud in class and struggled through every assignment. Gradually, I began to detest school and used any excuse I could to weasel out of attending. I became disheartened and steadily descended into a phase of self-loathing as my grades continued to drop. Eventually, I started to believe the persistent whispers of my peers – I was unintelligent and there was no hope for improvement.
I would love to say that this suddenly changed and that I miraculously overcame my disabilities in an instant. I wish I could honestly state that I don’t still, to this day, struggle to understand some information and misspell more words than I write correctly. As everyone knows, change takes time and effort. While I have certainly developed into a successful student who loves to read, this transition didn’t take place overnight and it was not, by any means, a simple process. Further, I would never have been able to complete this transformation without significant help and it is, without a doubt, due to the unrelenting support of my mother that I have come this far.
My aunt sent me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was in sixth grade and told me that it was so phenomenal that people all over the world were reading it. Unconvinced and unimpressed, I refused to even consider picking it up and, in spite of my mother’s desperate attempts, it remained untouched for nearly a year. My mother decided to read it herself and, not surprisingly, she loved it. After several more weeks of pleading, she finally demanded that I let her read the first chapter aloud. I know it may seem extreme but, truthfully, that evening changed my life forever. I pretended, of course, that the story wasn’t interesting and that I didn’t want to continue reading it but, in truth, I was hooked. She read to me every night until we finished and I still treasure the time we spent together discussing the book.
Soon after, we began Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but this time we alternated who read each chapter. It was difficult for me, but my mother helped me work through the words I didn’t know and I enjoyed reading aloud for the first time in my life. Next was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This time, she asked me to read the entire book aloud to her. We stayed up for hours as I slowly, but steadily, progressed through the 435 pages, becoming more confident in my abilities with every sitting. Finally, after purchasing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I began reading my first book by myself and finished it within days. This commemorates the beginning of my reading journey. I never again second-guessed a book my mother recommended and, after only a few short years, it was nearly impossible to catch me without a book in my hands.
When I say that the Harry Potter series changed my life, I mean it. There is no telling where I might be today if my mother hadn’t forced Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone upon me. I am fairly certain, however, that it wouldn’t be here writing a blog about books!
I have created this blog to appeal to two groups. The first group I hope my writing, reviews, and recommendations appeal to are passionate readers like myself. These people are keen on snuggling up with a good book on a Friday night and may even feel out of place without a novel in hand. They use literature to explore the mind, spark the imagination, develop an identity, and find comfort in the world. For them, I hope to provide insights into books already read and encourage finding a few new ones to add to their collections.
The second group is much less likely to stumble upon my ramblings, but I sincerely hope that they do. This group is comprised of non-readers, some who detest literature as much as I did when I was a child. They have thought, and in some cases even been told, their entire lives that books are not for them. Like my mother did for me, I want to do for others. For these people, both young and old, I want to assist in breaking down the “reading just isn’t for me” mentality by providing a safe space to discover, explore, and question the world of literature without judgment or ridicule. I hope to introduce exciting books from a variety of genres and seek to help foster a love for reading that can literally change a life.
It doesn’t matter if you are a non-reader, a new reader, or an avid reader. We are all the same here – explorers. Some may be looking for their next all-nighter-novel, while others may just be realizing that books can actually be “cool.” Regardless of which category you fall into, I hope my writing assists you in finding what you are looking for.
And so, this concludes my first blog post. Please send any thoughts or suggestions and stay tuned for the many book recommendations, musings, and reviews to come!