Because my mother became a war widow when I was just an infant, we spent the first seven years of my life in the home of my grandparents. My grandmother had congestive heart failure and was unable to do a lot, so my mother assumed responsibility for household chores. This symbiotic relationship had a profound effect on my development, as my sedentary grandmother played a critical role in the five years before she died.
I recall that early mornings, most every day, I would drag a pile of Little Golden Books into her bedroom. There, still in bed, she read to me for hours at a time. She spoke to me using adult vocabulary. I fell in love with words before I could read them, and when it came time to learn to read, it came so easily.
One little vignette I will never forget. I suspect it was in the months or even weeks before her death. Her patience had waned along with her strength. I was playing with a toy plastic Brownie camera as she read Lewis Carroll’s fantasy to me. She asked me to cease and desist…several times. I didn’t and she (apparently very calmly) took the camera from me and hurled the length of the living room where we were sitting, I on her lap. To this day I dislike the classic “Alice in Wonderland.”
That being recounted, I have, over the years, continued to develop my love of reading and have, at any given time, several books of various genres on my current reading list. It’s not a leap, and writers know well, that reading nurtures those of us who write and helps to develop imagination in children and adults.
I worry that so many things are supplanting reading. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s when I was a child, there was no virtual reality and, until I was 5, no television. Life was simple and nurtured simple things. Okay. I confess. I’m sounding my age. The point I want to make, the question I ask—what are we doing to promote reading among children and adults?
An addendum/disclaimer: it’s good to see so many YA books appearing on the various best-seller lists.
Just for the fun of it—what do you like to read? What are you reading now?