• Chantal Canales

How Quarantine Gave Me Back My True Passion of Books

The world of COVID-19 turned my life upside down. My beloved journalism classes quickly turned digital, my dream internship became remote, and now, I feel more lonely than ever in isolation, despite staying with my family over the summer until I head back to Baylor for my senior year.

But in all of this chaos, all this uncertainty and worry, a white bookcase filled with my childhood favorites and a long list of TBRs (to be read, for my non-reader friends) gave me all of the hope and serenity that I needed.

Creased spines and dog-eared pages have collected dust since my sophomore year of high school. I distinctly remember how I stopped reading The Count of Monte Cristo during my AP World History class, shoving a weathered Barnes & Noble bookmark between the pages. It was that moment that my passion for reading came to an alarming halt.

My passion for reading began early in life, with my mom and dad reading picture books to me and bringing them to life with made-up music and sound effects. Where the Wild Things Are and Arnie The Doughnut circulated our reading time often until I moved onto chapter books like Junie B. Jones and other elementary school finds I would discover in my library.

The fourth grade changed my life with Percy Jackson. I was immediately hooked with its quirky chapters, charming and endearing characters and a storyline I never heard of. I consumed each book in a day's time, finishing the final pages in my room after my bedtime using the light in my closet.

I remember the days when I would wake up early and ask my mom or dad to take me to Walmart the day that a Rick Riordan book would be released. I would bring it middle school, desparate to read it all at once to find out what happened to my beloved characters after the author left me on a cliffhanger (if you know, you know). I was desparate to find anyone in school that loved reading as much as I did. But of course, I never had a friend that shared my love for reading, so I settled for reading silently at the end of the lunch bench with my other classmates.

For the longest time I wanted to make the time to read. My TBR list is ever expanding, and with college, friendships and a future career to think about, I put it at the back of my mind.

COVID-19 gave me back my childhood passion of reading, and I'm not intending to ever let it go.

I have more time on my hands than ever, and I intend to use it wisely. My days are filled with reading and writing, my two favorite things to do. The power of storytelling is something I have always admired, and it's something that I will always want to incorporate into my every day life.

Forever and always I will be grateful for books. They gave me friends in my loneliest of times, joy during uncertainty and sadness, and all the life lessons I could ever need.

Maybe someday, not now or in five years, my book can have a glimmer of that power. The power to make someone smile, or feel heard or seen.

That power is pure magic, the stuff that books are made out of.