Indoctrination (BTT)

Today’s Booking Through Thursday meme is a particularly powerful one for me:

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 absolutely gained my love of books from my family. I started reading very young (2 or 3?). I have a vague memory that at some point, mom got me to switch entirely from being read to, to reading on my own by stopping in the middle of a book and telling me that if I wanted to know what happened next, I’d have to read it to find out. Very effective! If I recall correctly, we were reading the Little House on the Prairie books at the time. I really don’t have much memory of picture books and the like; the first books I remember reading were the Black Stallion series and the Little House series.

Luckily for me my parents were genre fans, so I read their copies of Tolkein books (including the Silmarillion, which I read and finished in 8th grade) and various sci-fi novels. I remember extended family members being huge mystery fans, including a cousin, I think, with the entire Nancy Drew series. Thus it’s perhaps no wonder that I ended up becoming a published author, and eventually worked my way ’round to reviewing books. I owe my deep love of books in particular to my mother, who indulged my tendency to get so lost in a book that I wouldn’t hear a thing when she told me dinner was ready!

Edited to add: Goodness, I can’t believe I didn’t think to add this earlier. My grandmother lived in Ithaca, NY while she was alive, and helped out at a HUGE used book sale held annually by the library system there. We’re talking a multi-story building filled to the brim with books. So some years I’d make sure to visit her at just the right time, and she’d take me, and I’d spend hours just walking the stacks and looking for fun used books to buy. That’s one of my fondest memories of time spent with her!

Posted in Writing
22 comments on “Indoctrination (BTT)
  1. Rhinoa says:

    It was my mum that encouraged me to read as well. She is an english teacher so had a range of books, but she did have lots of Tolkien and Terry Pratchett too. I like what your mum did about getting you to finish books for yourself, very Katherine Parr 🙂

  2. heather says:

    Rhinoa: Hehe, it was very clever of her, and from that day on I was hooked. I also remember that instead of using the TV as a babysitter she used the library as a frequent babysitter. I loved getting dropped off there to read for hours on end when she had things to get done!

  3. Kristy says:

    What nice memories. I’m jealous! Happy BTT!

  4. Chris says:

    That was a neat little trick of your Mom’s!

  5. Alice Teh says:

    So nice to know that you have a mom like that! Mine’s not much of a reader but she does encourage us to read a lot. I am a bookworm since young and can’t get enough of reading. I wore specs as a result from reading in the dark but now no more (after my lasik surgery a few years back). When I have my own kids, I will get them started young, guiding them but not forcing. 🙂

    Happy BTT!

  6. SciFiChick says:

    My dad used to take my little sister and I to the library at least weekly. We got to know all the librarians and entered all the reading programs they had. Very fun memories!

  7. heather says:

    Kristy: Happy BTT!

    Chris: Hehe, yeah, it was quite clever! If I had kids I think I’d do the same thing. 😉

    Alice Teh: Grats on the lasik! I could never quite get myself to relax to the idea of doing that, so, I’m sticking with my glasses. I think sharing a love of reading with one’s kids is a fantastic thing to do!

    SciFiChick: Our local library is one of the few places I actually remember fairly well from my childhood. It was sort of a semi-dark den of a place, particularly between the stacks, and it was such a wonderful place to hide out and read!

  8. DeN says:

    You just gave me an idea on how to teach reading! ha ha

    My parents are not big readers but they did teach me the importance of books. I guess they weren’t expecting to create a monster though ^_^

  9. heather says:

    DeN: It seems like a lot of parents want their kids to read even if they don’t, which is wonderful!

  10. Stephanie says:

    I love it that your mother nurtured your reading so much! I’m trying to do that with my children. My youngest just started Kindergarten today (sob!), and although she knows sight words, we really haven’t worked on reading. BUT her imagination is so strong, she picks up books all the time, and “tells” her own story by the pictures!! I think that is so cool!

    Happy Thursday!

  11. heather says:

    Stephanie: What a cool and imaginative thing for her to do! Sounds like she’ll go far. 😉

  12. Diane says:

    Ah, yes…. Little House books, Nancy Drew, Black Stallion. I remember those! I recently gave my daughter the book Little House in the Big Woods that my aunt gave me as a child. She loved it!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Happy BTT!

  13. Cynthia says:

    My mom encouraged me to read and then as I became a teenager, she’d beg me to take my head out of the book for a few moments to listen to what she was saying or to go do an errand. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Famous Five, Secret Seven and yes, even Mills & Boon back in the day (lol). I don’t like romance novels though, give me a good mystery and I’m in heaven. I enjoy Tolkein’s works as well. I particularly like the Silmarillion. Am a lover of CS Lewis’ work as well. There is not enough space here for my rants of loving to read… I’ve not been doing as much of it as I would I like of late but I plan to change that very soon.

    As a side issue, I was conducting interviews all day today with prospective Mass Communication students hoping to get into the programme at the college where I teach and sadly, a lot of them were rather frank in saying that they don’t read and do not like to read 🙁

  14. ScottM says:

    Yeah, my parents were also big readers and big on sharing their love. My brother and I both got the bug young; my early reading days are some of the embarrassing stories that Dad brings out when he’s meeting someone new to me.

    My grandparents were also big readers; we’d all curl up on couches (and grandpa’s big chair) and read in the afternoon when we visited. It worked out very well…

  15. Merri says:

    It is so great to see so many whose mothers imparted their own love of reading…
    My Mom would let us read and read..we would almost be drugged by the books, it was great!

  16. Cereal Girl says:

    Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, yes. But did you ever read the Doc Savage books? For some reason I liked these very ‘pulp’ adventures almost as much as the Famous Five etc.

    I’ve never seen Doc Savage in the bookstores. Racist? Sexist? Or just out of print? It’s a mystery.

  17. I too found my love for reading through my family. Both of my parents are avid readers and encouraged me to read throughout my childhood. Your mother’s trick to get you to read reminds me of the time my dad threw me into the middle of the pool to remind me that I knew how to swim. Except your mother’s experiment had a better outcome. 🙂

  18. kat says:

    I’d love to see that library. It seems that we all have fond memories with books. 🙂

  19. heather says:

    Diane: Some of my best reading memories of childhood still involve the Little House and Black Stallion books. I’m glad the book had the same appeal for your daughter that it did for you!

    Cynthia: It’s so rare to find someone else who loved the Silmarillion! Whoo! And it’s so sad to hear that so many of those going into college don’t like to read. 🙁 If you enjoy reading you can learn so much about almost anything just by picking up a book!

    ScottM: Haha, it took me ages to convince mom to stop telling embarrassing stories to new friends of mine. 😉 Those reading afternoons at your grandparents sound lovely!

    Merri: It certainly seems like most of the people who responded to this meme either had parents who loved to read or at least had parents who greatly encouraged their love of reading. Parents have such an influence over these things.

    Cereal Girl: I certainly know of the Doc Savage books, but haven’t seen them around, although when I was at MIT I’m sure we had them in the SF library there. I expect they’re out of print.

    Literary Feline: lol, yeah, it’s a lot less risky with a book than with a pool!

    kat: Definitely tons of fond memories! This meme seems to be bringing everyone out of the woodwork. It’s really nifty.

  20. Aaron says:

    In my family, we were all forced to read a little everyday when we were young. After a certain age, we were only encouraged. My dad talks to kids like they’re adults, so it wasn’t long before I was reading classics like Moby Dick and The Count of Monte Cristo.

    When I really got into reading was when a cousin discovered fantasy novels, like those of David Eddings and Terry Brooks. My older brother and I followed along, and fantasy’s been the backbone of our reading ever since.

    Interestingly enough, that happened right around the time we were going through our stealing phase (I was about 12, I think). We must have stolen dozens of books that summer. =)

  21. Bridget says:

    What a great post! I remember being surprised when I got older, and knew other kids in my class whose parents had college degrees, and they and their parents only read when they had to! I guess I had always figured that if my parents, who never went to college, read all the time, surely people who had gone to college liked to read …

  22. heather says:

    Aaron: Forced to read?! Oh heavens, good thing mom probably knew better than to try that with me. I was such a stubborn kid that if she’d done that it would have backfired. Good of your cousin to drag you two into his/her fantasy phase!

    Bridget: Heh, yeah, and yet… I’m always amazed by the number of people who see reading as a chore. 🙂

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