I am the product of a single mother with a Masters Degree in English literature. Books are part of my life, there’s no denying and no escaping that fact. I used to love exploring the shelves at the library. My family would walk up and we could spend hours there. When I was very young I started volunteering at the library at my elementary school. We used to help check books in and re-shelve them. I would go to school an hour early just to help out.
That’s not normal.
The biggest treat we got for Christmas was a gift certificate to a local independent book store where we would go and browse around looking for the perfect thing to spend it on. I devoured Ann M. Martin and Gordon Korman, Lois Lowry and Paula Danziger, when I was older I started reading Michael Crichton and John Grisham, and then moved on to Richard North Patterson. I was still a kid when I tried to read Jany Eyre. I was introduced to J.D. Salinger at exactly the point in my life when I needed him. The best English I ever had taught me Fifth Business in a way that made me appreciate the amazing way Robertson Davies could write a perfectly good book on one level and a completely intriguing book when your lead by someone who makes sure you remember all the hints he leaves. I was lucky enough to be drawn in by the cover of The Eyre Affair and now I wait for each of his new books with an excitement I had almost forgotten.
I am on a constant search for the next book that is going to pull me in – that book that you want to finish but that you don’t want to finish because then it will be over. When I was a kid I used to pick things off the shelf and just dive in, I used to follow my sister’s lead, I used to buy books that I had heard mentioned in passing to see what I thought.
My biggest problem as an adult has been finding new reads, trying new authors, picking things up just because they look interesting. Admittedly, my second biggest problem with reading in my adult life has been television. Now with the baby in the house we’ve started going to the library and we’ve started turning off the TV more often. It’s important to me that she fall in love with books and reading because I believe books foster imagination and creativity. I also believe reading helps with critical thinking skills.
I don’t just think books are important to my child, I think they’re important for every child.