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How I discovered the joy of reading

I wasn’t always a fan of reading.  I only did it because it pleased my aunt and because I had to do it for book reviews. But, even in Grades Six and Seven, when doing book reviews became frequent, my actual reading of them (books) didn’t. I would read the blurb of the book and the last 100 pages so that I could piece together what the book was about. When my Grade Seven year ended, so did my ‘reading’ experience. Until….

I was in Grade Nine when we were given a book at school entitled Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. It was so interesting I couldn’t put it down. I even read it on the way home from school in the bus but, being a teenager and being really tall, I became conscious about the fact that the book was not exactly thick. I wondered what people would think of me, holding a book that a Grade Six learner would be expected to read. The minute I finished the book and wrote a test on it, I made my way to the library at school. Yes, it was my first time. I looked for a book. One that was suitable for me in size – and one that would interest me like Al Capone Does My Shirts.

It was a novel by Elizabeth Noble, The Girl Next Door, that caught my eye. Pretty much a book version of Gossip Girl, the 450-odd pages took me a week to read. I loved it so much that I went back to the library for more.

Next, I took out The Big Book of Summer Sizzlers, Take a Chance on Me, Nefertiti, and The Other Countess – I become hooked on romantic novels! My best book by far was The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, which was recommended to me by my friend Zizipho Sondobo, who’s a reading fanatic, which I then recommended to another friend Alakhe Buti, also a reader.

I could go on forever about my reading experience because it has been quite a joyride. I recently started books by Jodi Picoult and Marian Keyes, and you can be sure I read English teen-lit author Malorie Blackman’s series Noughts and Crosses.

Embarrassingly enough, when I wrote a quote on Facebook I based it on the first brilliant quote I had ever heard, from a protagonist from The Girl Next Door: “Don’t walk where there is a trail, walk where there is no trail and leave a path.”

Asanda Zani is a 16-year-old learner from Chartsville, Western Cape.  “I have a family I’m grateful for because I have a mother and a father who love me, a brother and sister who annoy me, cousins who adore me and vice versa and an aunt I look up to.”


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