Wednesday, May 30, 2012

COG: The Love of Reading


Life is funny sometimes, wouldn’t you agree? I sit here this evening checking out my blogger dashboard and find Jasia’s post about reading for the Carnival Of Genealogy. Ah, reading! One of my absolute favorite pastimes. And Jasia wants to know my family’s history of reading? How ironic that on the third anniversary of my father’s death, I am asked that question, for he was influential in the development of my love of reading. Furthermore, I was in a training at work today and we were asked to discuss characteristics about our fathers that we would like to keep, toss, or add in reference to their values, beliefs, etc. One of the items I listed in the “keep” column was his emphasis on the importance of reading and education.

My mother tells the story that my father had heard that reading to your child was a good thing, so he instructed my mother to read to me every night. (Until I was about eight, he was often away because of his Navy service.) He purchased several books for me, including those beloved Golden books. Unfortunately, my mother was not a keeper and gave away most of my books when I grew up. I was certainly delighted to have one of them presented to me shortly after my father’s funeral by a friend who had found it in my mother’s home after she had packed to move closer to my sister. This copy of the Big Brown Bear was inscribed by my father when I was three. I have started collecting here and there other Golden Books that I remember from that time period. (Although I have not yet found Walt Disney’s Uncle Remus, one of my favorites.)

My mother, too, was a big influence on my reading. Not only because she was the one who read to me each night (and oh, how she gave such voice to the characters!) but also because she was a reader herself. She enjoyed big, thick books and favored those regarding the World War II era.
I went from the little Golden Books to Little House on The Prairie to Nancy Drew Mysteries and all things in-between. Then there was Stephen King and Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children Series. When I was dating my future husband, he and I would share Western novels with his father, passing them back and forth; Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, John Jakes. We named our first dog, Toby, after a hero in one of Jakes series. He and I also enjoyed science fiction.

Then we passed that legacy on to our children. I read to them from almost day one. I can remember very clearly seeing the light dawn in my youngest child’s eyes when she made a connection to what was being read to her life. She was not quite two years old and I had just given her a bath and dressed her in pajamas. She sat on my lap in the rocking chair and I picked out a board book to read before putting her to bed. It was a book called “Kisses.” I got to the page where it said, “After my bath, I give daddy a silly, soapy kiss.” My little one looked over at me with a look of surprise as if to say, “I just had a bath” and leaned over and gave me one of her famous open-mouth kisses.

The children eventually picked up the habit and ran with it themselves. All three read nearly every evening before turning off the lights and going to sleep. I introduced them to books I loved as a child and they in turn have introduced me to many more. There have been several times we have all read a series together. Even their father has joined in on some. Ironically, they all enjoy science fiction, too. I’ve also taken it to the next generation as well, giving away mostly books as gifts to my great-nieces and nephews.

I have a couple of books pinned on one of my Pinterest boards that I would recommend. If you do a search of my blog (just click on the "books" tag), you will find a few more book reviews and recommendations. And if you’re interested, I will share my 100 top book reads. Just drop me a line. 

13 comments:

  1. You touched my heart with your story about finding a book from your father all these many years later and wanting to collect more books from your childhood. I can really relate to that feeling, Dawn. Not that long ago I came across a box of my old books that my mom had saved for me (a picture of that box with the books in it is in my article for the COG). These weren't necessarily my favorite books and I didn't keep all of them (wish that I had the space to do that) but it did make me smile when I opened that box and took a look back at my childhood. Such happy memories of a simpler time. Thanks so much for sharing and participating in the COG!

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  2. A very touching post. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. My favorite part is when your daughter realized that you were reading about a bath and *she* had just had a bath.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Kristin! It meant so much to me to observe her first "text to life" moment.

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  4. I so enjoyed your post! Reading has played a large part in my life as well as that of my children. My grandmother tells of her mother churning butter with one hand and holding a book in the other! It would appear reading runs in the family.

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    1. I do believe things like that are passed down to generations. My grandfather also told me the story of his mother saying that she would read anything she could get her hands on...

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  5. Great Post! Ha we share more then the same reading list! My Mom read to me and I to mine...and they all read. Some more the others, but they read :D
    Julie

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    1. Isn't it wonderful to pass on rich legacies such as a love of reading?

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  6. Dawn, enjoyed your reading history, and also perused your "books" tag. Hey, I loved the picture of you at the beginning of your genealogy project! Very nice.

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    1. Hey Joan - thanks for your interest in my postings on the subject of books. I'm glad to have photographic proof of my genealogical beginnings... :)

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  7. Thanks for all your comments, everyone! It's very gratifying to hear that someone enjoyed reading this little writing piece of mine :)

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  8. I was lucky that my mom saved most of my Little Golden books. It has been fun to read them to my daughter. I can't wait to introduce her to Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Anne of Green Gables, Little House and find some new ones as well. BTW, we have a copy of Uncle Remus (the tar baby, the laughing place and one other in there too) from my collection.

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  9. Yes, Nancy Drew & Trixie Belden were two much-loved series. How about the Bobbsey Twins? A bit older, but way good, too.

    I am jealous that you have a copy of Uncle Remus and that you had a mom who was a saver :)

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