I guess it is fitting because last night I clipped this gem from author A.S. King: "So today I am here to remind you: Reading is essential. Getting so caught up in a book that you don’t shower for two days is part of your job description. Staying up until three in the morning because youjust can’t put it down and then dreaming in dark, flat Norwegian translation worlds is part of what you’re supposed to do. Being slightly late on a deadline because you are reading a book that will make your book better is … probably the best thing you can do for everyone concerned. Don’t worry about your friends. They’ll understand. Don’t worry about your editors. They know all this stuff already. Don’t worry about the kids. They will learn from you even if you smell bad and can’t tear your eyes away from the page."
Here, then, is how we should measure a reader. She spends all day curled up in a chair (when time permits), forgetting to shower, grabbing food that does not require putting down the book. He is bleary-eyed the next day because he sat up to finish a book he could not put down. She does not hear her mother calling her to dinner because she was lost in a book. His room has stacks of books threatening collapse if someone sneezes. They sit in a parked car in front of their house listening to the last half hour of a riveting audiobook. She throws her arms around her grandmother for the Best. Christmas. Present. Ever: a book.
Measure a reader in tears, belly laughs, gasps, sobs, exclamations, quizzical looks. Measure a reader not just in books and pages and words but in thoughts and responses and questions.