No, not crossed eyes…two people’s visions!
This week’s topic of what we read with our loved ones really strikes a chord with me. I was read to quite a bit when I was little, so my mother and aunt chose books that they cared for, since I wanted to hear them over and over! I remember discussing certain storybooks with my mother when I was quite young. She didn’t influence my reading later on, except that she did have me read “The Naked and the Dead”, by her one-time pal, Norman Mailer. While I was reading she pulled a very bad spoiler on me, (asked me if a character had died yet; he hadn’t), and I never discussed books with her at all after that.
My older sister wasn’t much of a reader because she was the victim of experimental reading programs. She did like a few Nancy Drew and Nurse Cherry Ames books, Little Pear and a few others, which she had me read and we talked about. I became a veracious reader while she slacked off. When she was in her late 20s, her mother-in-law introduced her to a couple of pretty good romances which they both asked me to read. At that time the woman gave her a book that made a big change in her life: “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”. My sister braved her way through Hercule Poirot’s first mystery and made herself learn to read well to enjoy the rest. We both read most of Agatha Christie’s works and discussed them at length.
When I married, my husband’s book collection and his profession as a history teacher influenced my reading material. He asked me for my [second] opinion on a number of historical novels to judge their suitability for his students. These are not my favorite genre. His taste runs more towards historical/ military works and religious books, all of which can overwhelm me. I have read more than several with him over the years and although he isn’t one for most novels or mysteries, I can persuade him to read a really good story now and again. When my niece had me read the Harry Potter books, he read them, too, and we still discuss them. I have indulged in “The Hobbit” for him, but he hasn’t gotten me to dip into the “Ring” series, which he is willing to discuss. I will in time. We both read a bit of nonfiction together.
My sons and I read many books together when they were younger. I continued to read TO and WITH them long after they were able to do so on their own so that we could discuss them at the same time at the same level. Sometimes, we switched-out reading aloud to one another. Shakespeare, historic biographies, (such as great explorers), and good fiction were the most frequent. “The Necklace”, “Beowolf” and “Lilies of the Field” also come to mind, but there were many others that were not as ‘heavy’. Case in point: “Thomas the Ship’s Cat”, which is really cute.
Now I read books with my grandson. “Harry Potter” was the first series we read. More recently it has been “Artemis Fowl”, “The Chronicles of Egg”, the “Wimpy Kid” books and a few others, along with some mysteries. I will check out a series or a book and recommend it to him; he’ll hand me a book that he has bought, checked out or liked reading at school; and that is a real thrill, having the kid recommend a story to me! We have found that we can usually recommend Newberry Award winners to each other. Last year he asked me to read “Walk Two Moons”, while I had him read “The Westing Game.” Then we discussed them. (He asked me today to start on a trilogy he is just finishing.)
My niece has started me on a few series that she likes which we read together and discuss, such as the “Stephanie Plum” , “Betsy the Vampire Queen” and the “Puzzle Lady” series. One series introduced me to an author whose online interviews I went looking to read. That started me reading the interviewer’s blog, and that young author took me up on the offer to hand out excerpts of another author’s work that I had been given to distribute. That introduced me to The Hound, who invited me to check out this blog and it all snowballed from there! I began my own cooking/entertaining blog and started writing and submitting and getting published again, which I had not done in a while,( except for a bit of poetry). Good Heavens! I have a ‘romance’ in the works, plus I do many reviews and interviews, which I never expected to happen.
So you never know how a loved one’s suggestion of a good book just might rock your world!
Have you read any of the books or series that I mentioned?