During quarantine, bored of watching and re-watching the content my favorite YouTubers were struggling to put out, I picked up my brother’s tattered copy of “Percy Jackson.” While I had never so much as glanced at the series before — or any of the other popular titles by Rick Riordan — and while I have never put a ton of stock into what age range a book, TV show, or movie “should” target, I did think that I was a little old for these books. Maybe because they were my brother’s, or maybe because I had already finished my Greek mythology phase years ago.

Nevertheless, I picked up “The Lightning Thief” and began to read.

I practically devoured the first book, then immediately rushed to order the next from my library, which I tore through as well. I’m currently waiting on “Battle of the Labyrinth” through interlibrary loan or on e-book through my local library; whichever comes first. I have become 100% hooked, never losing interest even for a page — a welcome change for an English major. 

I’m a little shocked by how much I like the books, as well as how I never even thought about reading them. I’m a complete bookworm, and reading this series has caused me to look a little closer at how I choose my next titles.

Most of the books I read are assigned for classes — academic articles, critiques, etc. — pages and pages full of Big and Important Thoughts and Discoveries. While I do love most of those readings, a) it can be a little  tedious, and b) sometimes I end up not fully understanding certain passages, since I’m trying to get everything finished on time. Reading books meant for a much younger age range is an interesting experience. To me, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to plow through a book without having to stop and look up unfamiliar words,struggle through difficult wording, or have to worry about anything ending too tragically.

It’s sweet to see young, awkward love, and be drawn into memories of being 13 and painfully awkward in the ways of romance, while at the same time being exceedingly grateful you have successfully made it past those cringeworthy years (for the most part). It’s fun to read about monsters and gods and goddesses, and the kinds of magic they use to wreak havoc or save the world, and not be trying to analyze motives or read between the lines for authorship. And it’s especially great to not worry about trying to memorize and regurgitate any information for a test or paper.

I am not a total stranger to reading books far past their intended age range. I was 17 when I first cracked open “Harry Potter,” a series embedded in the childhood of most people my age. 

At some point you think you’ve just missed the train, and that there’s no point in reading books that aren’t “meant for you.”. However, I think my generation is coming to the conclusion that there is no reason not to throw yourself into something that you love out of fear of perceived judgment from friends or strangers. Whether that’s coloring books, Legos, paper airplanes, or anything else — love it boldly, proudly, and don’t ever apologize for that. #iwdfannabethchase

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