1. Descriptive Essay of a Childhood Memory:
One of the most vivid memories from my childhood was the experience of reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the first time. This was the first novel that I can remember reading cover to cover with enthusiasm. The book was filled with humor and adventure. It was written at a fast pace with short chapters. All of these factors were necessary to capture and containing my attention. I remember the day I found that book. I was bored and trolling around the library looking for some thing or another. Looking at the bookshelves I saw tons of classics, but only one author stood out—Mark Twain! So I grabbed The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, half expecting to never read it. But when I brought it home and opened up the cover (the moon must’ve been in retrograde because there’s no reason why would willingly choose to read a book on a Saturday as a child) the book never left my hands until I finished it. I read for an entire day. That had never happened before. There was something magical about Tom Sawyer that I could relate to. But it wasn’t just Tom Sawyer. I felt like I was reading Mark Twain’s thoughts. His personal humor was a dialogue between just the two of us. It was so pleasurable that I decided to try Huckleberry Finn. Another success, although, on a personal note, I much prefer the stories in Tom Sawyer and his nature to that of Huckleberry Finn.
2. Personal Narrative Essay:
My 7th grade teacher tried to get me to read once -- once. Just kidding, but she did assign The Glory Field for summer reading. I wasn’t excited about the idea and I had a number of perfectly reasonable supporting principles. Reading is tiresome. And not only were you expected to read the book, but usually you had to complete some annoying project that proves you read the book. At any rate, when I bought the book I almost had a stroke. The book was over 300 pages and had font that was far too small for my liking. There was no way I could read that in three months.
My parents did not appear to me, as a kid, to be avid readers. Maybe that’s why I never paid much attention to novels as a kid. But I doubt it. I really felt like there were better things to do. I do not regret the fact that I spent my childhood doing mostly anything except reading. But like I said, my parents were not holding weekly book discussions or anything like that. They barely ever mentioned books. My dad told me to read my school assignments for a half hour every day and I would become a steady reader. I never listened. He tried getting me to read from the Bible. The material just was not interesting enough to me. But I can always remember looking at his library and being amazed at the thickness of the books. They would take years to read, I thought.
I looked at reading the way I looked at chores -- except chores were mandatory. If you didn’t make your bed, it was apparent. If the wood wasn’t split, there’s no standard method to convince someone otherwise. It was different with reading. Fancy covers and large books were usually intriguing and gave me the sense that I could not only read this book, but would become significantly smarter if I did.
I wasn’t polarized by all texts though. It’s funny because through doing this I realized that I actually did read a good bit when I was younger, just not novels. There were pretty much three things I enjoyed doing when I was a kid, and still do: strategy games, outdoor activities, and building. And these topics were basis of my reading material. My father is a strong chess player. I’m a competitive person. Sons must always be at least as good at something as their fathers are. In order for me to compete I had to devour professional strategy guides on chess. As I think about it now I don’t find it strange that I could read (but not fully comprehend) a book written, for adults, by a chess champion, but struggle to read a novel. Reading about chess strategies could help me beat my dad. What could The Glory Field do?
It was the same with books on camping and survival; I devoured all of them. It never seemed like a chore for me. You didn’t have to try and remember any plots or significant character struggles when you were reading The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Handbook. Should I ever need to escape from a car trapped underwater, I’ve been properly instructed. If I ever need to fend off a shark or bear, or survive for up to 7 days with no provisions, I’m ready to roll.
20 years ago,
Dad and I would drive in his car,
Dave Koz came on the radio, like clockwork,
After Dark, our favorite song, 6 o’clock, every day
Smooth jazz wash away life’s anxiety
15 years ago,
I blamed Mom when we lost our house
And were forced to move in with neighbors.
I hated going through their refrigerator,
because it was their food, not mine.
10 years ago,
I remember throwing a baseball with my father.
His body didn’t move like it used to,
Limbs were stiff, he had gained weight.
It was not the man I remembered as a child.
5 years ago,
I visited the Redwood forest, And saw an ancient tree had fallen. I stood, marveling at its size.
Three of me, stacked, could walk its now-hollowed tunnel,
Which had seen two thousand years of outward growth.
You’d think a thing so strong would stand forever.
I can’t help but think of my dad.