I’m a few days late with this but I loved the question, and decided to use it after finishing a work read about a rather lonely little girl.
When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)
I definitely remember my dad reading to me when I was a little girl. When I was six, he started reading The Princess Bride to me, and after he turned the light of I grabbed the book and read the rest of it by the dim glow of my Hansel and Gretel nightlight.
My dad has always enjoyed sharing books with me, and lately my brother. I remember we went through a terrific obsession with Colleen McCullough’s First Man In Rome series back when I was in college. I always love buying books for him. He definitely had a love of reading instilled in him by my grandmother, who was a voracious reader much like me, though she preferred biographies, which are my least favorite. I don’t know if she was Superfast, but she always had a new book whenever I saw her. She also had a huge dictionary on a beautiful stand that was always opened to a different page.
My mom and I don’t share quite the same taste–she likes mysteries (particularly Amelia Peabody), but whenever I come across a book I think she’d like, I buy it for her birthday or Christmas.
Now, my brother is an interesting case. When we were growing up (he is younger), he HATED to read. I never understood how something that brought me so much pleasure could be so distasteful to him. However, in recent years, he’s come to realize that he does like to read, in fact he loves to read. It was only that he had been forced to read the wrong books. Now he gives me as many recommendations as I give to him. We share a love of fantasy and science fiction, something we share with all three of our blood-related first cousins, even though we’ve always lived on opposite sides of the country and didn’t see each other much growing up. It’s such a funky thing to have in common, but I love it about our family.
My family always teased me (gently, of course) about being such a bookworm. And I did always have my nose in a book–at dinner, in the bath, while walking. In fact, the only activity that kept me from reading was gymnastics. I couldn’t read and cartwheel at the same time, much to my great disappointment. And I couldn’t read in the car, but we always listened to audiobooks on long trips, and that was something our whole family enjoyed together. I particularly remember when we listened to Stephen King’s novella “The Mist,” which scared us all to pieces on a ski trip. I’m looking forward to the movie for just that reason.
But my parents never stopped me from reading, nor did they censor my reading, something for which I’m greatly appreciative. My dad tried to encourage me to put down the Sweet Valley High, but nothing was forbidden to me to read. That’s a little odd because we weren’t allowed to watch MTV (despite getting cable in 1980) or Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie, or listen to certain kinds of music. I’m not sure what to make of that, except to be thankful that I was trusted to read what I wanted.