For the Love of Reading—Monday Meanderings


Photo: V.

Photo: V.

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?

21 thoughts on “For the Love of Reading—Monday Meanderings

  1. rmp says:

    what wonderful memories to cherish…it is lovely that you had that time and through it found a love for reading (as well as writing). I all too fondly remember the Little Golden books.


  2. claudia says:

    i never saw my parents reading a book – yet i fell in love with books from as soon as i was able to read and i read tons of books during my childhood and youth… i always read a lot to my kids as well…the girls love reading, my son not so much – my husband neither – maybe it depends on the personality… i would love to read more… the last book i read was the book thief – loved it much – and after reading a cuban in london’s recommendation i read “the dirty havana trilogy” right now… not an easy to digest book…


  3. You make me wonder where I got my love for reading. My mother never read to me. So who did? I’ll have to ask her…


  4. Mary says:

    I also grew up with books. My mother was an example to me. We went to the library weekly & often sat together reading our respective books. I do worry that many things will take the place of reading for children. AND for adults as well. I know I read much less now with the internet, the poetry blogosphere, etc. I AM getting back more into reading, however. Presently I am reading “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese.


  5. jenny says:

    I love this post, thank you for sharing. Encouraging a love for reading, words and expression is one of the biggest things for me as a mum to a toddler. We sit together so we can read to her every day, she independently goes off to choose books to look at by herself, and we never leave the house without a book. I think we have a bookworm in the making, which makes me very happy!


  6. Great website, Viv. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Jamie Dedes says:

    Charming. Such memories are what make us strong. How wonderful to have someone like your grandmother who encouraged you to read, Victoria.


  8. scillagrace says:

    Your history and memories are a slice of time. I grew up in the TV era, but my parents kept ours locked in a closet. I did the same with my kids in the video era (a luggage padlock through the holes in the plug prongs). My first child learned to read before her 3rd birthday (true and documented). My childhood books were stamped with our family crest and passed down to my children, and I read to them for hours each day. My oldest has a master’s in Linguistics now, and I am partner in an online book business. I work at a Science & Technology museum where I am old enough to be the mother of every other Guest Service staff member. We are not allowed to have cell phones on the floor (although this rule is broken all the time), but on slow days we are allowed to have a book. I love asking my 20something aged coworkers what they’re reading and passing along books to them – Ursula Le Guin “The Eye of the Heron” was the last one I lent out.


  9. brian miller says:

    nice…i love to read…my mother was a big reader and influence in my life as far as reading…i have loved to read since a young age…grad school has hampered my reading (and writing) of late…but finished last night and went straight to the bookstore…ha….i am kinda fascinated with some alt lit stuff right now…


  10. I love reading, although I do not have as much time to read for pleasure as I would like. At the moment I am reading a stack of Polio related books.


  11. I love to read and have since a child. I am so happy to say that all six of my grandson’s love to read, the youngest to be read to. He brings me book after book to read till I am almost hoarse.

    Some of my all time favorites (ones I’ve read more than once): The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Watership Down, Miss Read books, Miss Pollifax series, The Hobbit, several of Daphne du Maurier, The Good Earth… where to stop?

    My favorite genre though is sci-fi. I just discovered Mary Doria Russell and loved The Sparrow and Children of God. I am presently read Doc (about Doc Holliday, fiction) by her as well.

    As you can see, you’ve hit a nerve with me : )


  12. A delightful glimpse into your youth. Encouraging children to read: Number 1 is to read to them from the earliest age, as did your grandmother, and number 2 is to give books to children. Any present that was not a book was a disappointment to me as a child. As to what to give, this websiteof reviews and suggestions is a great help:


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