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.