Thursday, March 02, 2006

Last night PC posted about Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day. I enjoyed posting my favorite Seuss books which led to memories of my reading journey as a child and thoughts of what my girls' reading journeys will be.

I wasn't much of a reader growing up. I know that might shock some of you but I've since discovered that I'm slightly dyslexic so I'm sure that had something to do with it. The summer before 4th grade my world changed. My parents told me if I read 40 books that summer they would give me an extra $20. Me and my entrepreneurial heart got all giddy. And while I fudged just a bit, I did read at least 35 books that summer (and still got my money). But more importantly than that, I finished that summer with a love for reading and since then I'm never without a book close to hand.

The Shoe Series, Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High. I devoured all of these and asked for more. But once again my life changed when at 13 I was given my first romance novel. I was instantly drawn in by the characters, their search for love and happiness and the struggles they faced and triumphed over. Since then the genre has changed and so have I. But I still love those stories. The basic optimism. The idea that no matter what's going on in the world, or my life in particular, there are people out there who come through the struggles to the happily ever after on the other side. If they can do it so can I.

There's no question that books have changed my life; enriched it, opened up ideas, places and dreams to me that might have otherwise stayed closed. I hope my girls grow up with that same awe, wonder and appreciation for the written word that I now have. In today's electronic age that's not all together certain. I'm doing everything I can to encourage them, reading to them, providing them with books, letting them see me read and write. I hope that in the next generation books don't become obsolete like rotary phones, tape players, and VCRs. There's simply no substitute for the good old fashioned word on the page. Even listening to the words loses something, the ability to paint the picture in your head any way you want to.

Enjoy today. Pick up a book. Talk to your kids about the importance of reading. Share your love and dreams with them. And tell us, what's your favorite book?


Mine is Gone With the Wind - no matter how selfish, egotistical and despicable Scarlett is at times, you have to admire her strength and appreciate the hardships she went through. Those moments, especially the despicable ones, molded her into the woman she was - even if she was blind to the love in front of her. Given the same situation I don't think I could have been as strong, fought as hard or survived as long as she did.


Jennifer Y. said...

I love reading and always have. I don't remember not reading growing up. One of my favorite shows growing up was "Reading Rainbow," which revolved entirely around books. I was one of those kids who didn't mind reading books for book reports or summer reading lists. I remember one time having to read a specific number of minutes in order to get a ticket to Six Flags. I read twice as much as we were supposed to. I wasn't popular in school, so books became my escape. I devoured numerous books including The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley High. When I was 13 I began reading romance books and haven't stopped.

I don't know if I could pick just one book as my favorite. I love so many. One of my absolute favorites is the first book I ever remember reading: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It is a wonderful children's book! Some of my other favorites include Jane Eyre and Little Women.

I think it is important to encourage children to read. It opens minds to possibilities and fuels the imagination. I have not yet been blessed with children of my own, but I have nephews and a niece that I always buy books for. I buy them at least one book each for birthdays and holidays. They may not be able to read yet (the eldest is just now learning), but I hope that they will appreciate what books have to offer.

My life wouldn't be the same without books!

(sorry for the long post)

Playground Monitor said...

Favorite? Aw, gee, talk about a difficult question.

A recent book that really made an impression on me was HIT REPLY by Rocki St. Clair. It's a quasi-chick lit and is written all in emails and IMs. It's a terrific study in friendship and it really made me think about the special people in my life.

I bought books for my boys almost from the moment I found out they were on the way. I read to them all the time and was really upset that they didn't turn into voracious readers. They weren't couch potatoes; they preferred to stomp about in the woods and build forts. However, now that they're older, they've begun reading more. #2 son surprised me by telling me that he'd read the Tolkein trilogy several times. And he reads biographies of famous runners. #1 son asks for technical books now -- ones about some new software package he's trying to learn. But that's okay -- he's reading and learning and broadening his horizons (and hopefully increasing his worth as an employee).

My hubby reads some. He'll pick up a legal thriller or Stephen King book on occasion. But he plays sports and takes ballroom with me and will start drawing classes next week. So he's not a couch potato either.

Actually, I'm the couch potato. I'm always on the couch with a book. LOL!

Loribelle Hunt said...

I've always been a reader and went through a lot of the books already mentioned. Plus I loved Madeline L'Engle, Nancy Drew, Katherine Patterson, and tons of others. I couldn't possibly pick a favorite, but there are books I go back to year after year--Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatbsy, House Like a Lotus, Alas Baylon, are a few of those.

My kids are readers too, my 10yo daughter especially. She blows through everything I buy her really quickly. My 9yo daughter reads, but not as much. The boy's not reading yet, so he remains to be seen. I'm quite certain we own every fire truck book ever published though. ;)

Angel said...

I can't remember if I was an avid reader before my teenage years. I do have memories of a beautiful Sleeping Beauty book and I think my Mom read to us every night.

During my teens, I stumbled upon Phyllis A. Whitney at the local library and have been hooked on romance ever since. My twin sister and I would check out the maximum books we could on our card each week (13, I think) and we'd read all of our own and lots of each others.

My favorites now are After the Night by Maven Linda Howard (I love just about anything by her), The Fallen Angel series by Mary Jo Putney, and several Sharon Sala books. I usually have a favorite of the moment-which right now is How to Marry a Vampire Millionaire by Kerelyn Sparks (not sure if I spelled her name correctly).

We're currently blasting through the Junie B. Jones series with Drama Queen at the moment (Barbara Park). Those are hilarious!


Smarty Pants said...

My favorite books - I love Jane Eyre. I told plasma in college to buy this beautiful leather bound copy from the used bookstore near my campus. I also have the complete works of Shakespeare that I've had since I was 10 (I was a weird kid). Love that guy.

For more modern stuff, I really enjoyed the Witching Hour by Anne Rice and my collection of Harry Potter books.

Quite a variety, eh? :)