Developing a Passion to Read

April 16, 2016

Russ Ewell

I love reading. My mother was a teacher with a master’s degree in reading, and from my earliest years books were placed in my path. In fact, when I was enjoying Iron Man and Captain America, she slipped Shakespeare comics into my stream.


For lighter fare, my dad offered me the fundamental importance of the sports page. When I fell in love with basketball, one of the first things I did was purchase a book by Jerry West on how to play the game.

This is the book I purchased to teach me how to play the game!
This is the book I purchased to teach me how to play the game!

All of this made me a reader, and while school reading assignments added to my knowledge, it was the library where I found my passion. One winter day in my senior year I entered the library with time on my hands. My senior class load was the lightest I ever had, basketball season was over, and so with a lightened schedule load, something drew me to the library.

For the first time in my life, I wandered over to the fiction section of the library looking for a book to read. I didn’t want to read a book like those from my literature classes. The book I was looking for had to be different, unassigned, and speaking to my personal life experience.

The book I found and selected was “This Side of Paradise” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I still remembered sitting down at the library table, opening up the hardcover book, and experiencing the tactile sensation only print books provide. The first words of the book spoke to my soul. For the first time, I was hearing a voice like my own. I read this book with an unstoppable fiery passion as the windows of my mind was opened.

Approximately 5 months from college, I was traveling through time and experiencing campus life through the complicated thrills of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s pen. A fire was lit and from this point on, I read because I wanted to discover answers to life. My search was no longer for information or knowledge, but understanding.

When we have a passion for reading it reaches beyond the brain, into the heart and soul. We live the story because the story informs our own.

My passion for reading is why I changed my Tumblr account today. After a few years of experimenting with Tumblr, I now understand it is the perfect place for me to share “great reads.”  The perfect place to inspire a passion to read in others.

Please check out “Fitzgerald’s Window,” which is where I will be collecting “great reads” on a regular basis for shared consumption.