Becoming a Reader

Before I start a “Books I Absolutely Love and Don’t Give a Crap if Anyone Else Does” list, I just want to let every one know what kind of reader I am and to give hope to parents that don’t have readers.

 

As a kid, I hated reading.  HAT-ED it!  It was a constant struggle for my mom to motivate my brothers and me.  During the summer, we had to read a half an hour a day along with a couple of workbook pages.  My mom would go to the library with us, pulling books off the shelves, trying to sell us on the back cover summary or the picture on the front.  “This is about princesses.  Faemom, you like princesses.  Brother, you’ll like this one; it’s about bears” And so on. 

 

One of the reasons I hated reading was I didn’t read very fast.  I read slowly and still do compared to my friends and old classmates.  It took me forever to read a book when I was young.  My mom finally admitted that she believed I had some sort of learning disorder as a kid, but she felt she could handle it and help me along.  Which might be why we had a love-hate relationship throughout most of my school years, cumulating to a head during the night before the weekly spelling test.  My mom turned out to be right; she found a way to make me a better reader and student.  Luckily I was blessed with a crazy retention rate, so once I slowly read something; it was pretty much lodged in my brain.

 

My sixth grade year I discovered reading.  I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I followed that up with The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder.  I was hooked.  Why didn’t anyone tell me that books could be good?  I read Little Women in the branches of an apple tree.  I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare about half a dozen times.  I gobbled up Greek mythology, reading both The Iliad and The Odyssey, before high school.  I read scores of Madeleine L’Engle’s books.  I learned about fantasy and science fiction books.   When I learned I didn’t have to rely on the boring school library devoid of any books for preteen girls other than The Babysitter’s Club for book reports, I nearly shouted for glee.

 

I read constantly, abandoning my cousins and brothers to tackle football at my Grandma’s house to read in the living room.  My reading got so bad that in high school my mom actually punished me by taking away my reading privileges for a semester, due to my sliding grades.  One of my best family vacation memories was reading every day in the back of the camper all the way from Arizona to Virginia, but my mom has always believed that I did it out of teenage angst for not wanting to be with the family.  The worst thing about college, aside from the home sickness and stalking, was that I had to put away my books to do all the reading for classes.  But on breaks I would race to the library the very day I got off the plane.

 

I believe reading is for everyone; they just have to find the right book.  My baby brother doesn’t read, but as soon as he told me about a book he was interested in, I dragged him to the nearest book store and bought it for me.  He still says that it’s the only book he’s finished reading since high school.  (So any one has any suggestions for a guy who loves sports but hates biographies?)  My mom is a reader and reads those trashy romance novels.  Did I say trashy?  I meant HISTORICAL romance novels.  Hell, she found my birth name in one.  But she did test out of freshman English when she went back to college, and she knows a surprising amount of period history and customs.  I can’t make fun because I love fantasy books and a good vampire books.  Nothing of real value for a serious English student.  Oh, well.  So when the next post comes up, you can read what I absolutely love, and I’ll try to keep it fewer than fifty.  I know I’m not that interesting.

 

And as for my boys, right now they love reading.  I buy them books all the time, hoping to keep them engaged in books.  I figure we have a fighting chance because both my husband and I love to read.  Here’s hoping.