Monday, June 14, 2010

Musing Monday..."We Are Family ..."

"We are family
I got all my family with me
We are family
Get up everybody and READ...

OK, maybe those are not the exact lyrics, but they should be.
Let's check out this weeks Musing Monday question, as always, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

This week’s question was inspired by an online book group I belong to…
Who in your family (both immediate & extended) are readers, and who are not?

Well, since I live alone, I guess I have no immediate family [wow, that sounds pitiful. ;-) ] Except, of course, for Kitty, my imaginary kitty, who does not read. But if we cast out nets a little further, we will catch us a whole big bunch of readers.
My brother is a big reader, although our tastes could not be more different. I read almost all fiction, he read almost all non-fiction. History, politics, the duller and more obscure the better for the Bro. I do remember him reading one fiction series, the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian, but those might be the only works of fiction he has read since he was in school...long, long ago.

The SIL is also a big reader, but her tastes in reading material is much closer to mine, fiction, leaning toward mystery and thrillers. If I like a book, I can be pretty sure she will like it too. Of course, since she bought that darn Evil Kindle, I don't get to actually see what she is reading anymore.
The Niece is a reader as well, happily. When she was younger, I am not sure that was as true as it is now but once she got into college her reading for pleasure seems to have taken off quite a bit. And of course Bandit is a reader...but only in Italian.

I wonder about the whole nature/nurture issue as it applies to something like reading. Do most people pick up the love of reading from seeing it the home when they are kids, or are we just born to love or not love books?
I have mentioned before that my mother was a huge reader. She would often have a paperback in her handbag, she would read for hours in bed every night, often into the wee hours, and she was without question the local branch library's best 'customer'. She came from a family of readers, both my maternal grandparents and I know several of her siblings, were/are readers.

On the other hand, my father was not a reader as I remember. He read the newspaper..and that was about it. But then I wonder how much of that was whether he had access to books as a child. He grew up on a farm in a very rural Ireland, without electricity in his home, and most likely his only access to books was in his small local village school. I'm not sure, but if you don't catch the reading bug when you are young, is there some sort of cut off age or can an adult, who has never been a reader, become someone who really loves books? If any of you have seen that, I would be curious to hear about it.

If you are not exposed to books, if they are not around you, especially when you are a child, is it just that much more unlikely that you will catch the bug? I have said this before, but I think one of the greatest gift you can give a child is a love for reading and one way to do that is to give them books. As much as I love public libraries, and they were a beloved part of my own childhood, I think for a child to actually own a book that they love and can read again and again, a book of their own, is priceless.


  1. I just knew Bandit was a reader :)

    I have considered the "nature/nurture" debate as well, although neither of my parents were avid readers, and both my brother and I are ---- and only one of my three children would be caught dead with a book in their hands.

  2. A very interesting post. As Molly said, I have wondered too. My sons were read to from a very early age, to the point of pretending to read in jibberish before they could even talk. In elementary and middle school, they read but after that they haven't picked up a book for enjoyment. And I like your mother, they always saw me with a book and/or reading. My MM is here

  3. First let me say, like your mother, I almost always have a book in my handbag, and I have been known to stay up into the wee hours of the night reading, unable to put a good book down.

    I have always read books, but, I really started to read more after I was out of school, and a mother. It was a form of entertainment back in the day...

    Enjoyed your post today. I had to chuckle a few times as I read it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I remember my grandmother and mother always reading and I took after them starting in middle school. I encouraged my kids to be readers and they were for awhile, but then sports got in the way. It is nice to see them as young adults reading once again.

  5. That's a very interesting question: nature/nurture regarding reading habits. My parents both read a lot but they both came from parents who barely could read. For my dad, the desire not to be illiterate was the driving force to read. He was actually the one to get my mom to read so much. Hopefully that trend will continue.

  6. I'm with you ... I think you learn to love to read early on in life. Of course, you might become a reader later on but most readers I know were always readers from a very young age. And it helps to have books in your house ... no matter what kind they are. One of my biggest dreams for my Little One is that he gets the reading bug.

  7. Love the pic of Bandit and his book. Buddy isn't at all interested in reading and I'm not even sure he likes it when I do. lol.

    I do think we pick up a love of reading from an early age. If no one introduces us to books then I guess it's possible to still become a reader but I'd say less likely.

    My mom was a reader all while I was growing up - she's slowed down a lot now. She introduced me to reading and always hauled me to the library so I feel she's responsible for my book addiction now.

  8. Both my parents were readers and trips to the library were very frequent. My sister was a big reader too and her daughters are avid readers. The Big Guy would not have been caught dead reading a book until about 15 years ago. His reading ability was not too good but when we had grandchildren he started reading to them and then I got him into reading short mysteries and now he reads 2-3 books a week. As soon as he finishes one, he picks up another. So, yes, I guess one can become a reader later in life.

  9. Nobody in my family was ever a big reader. So, I'm not quite sure how I became one. I didn't particularly like to read in school, so that's not where I got it. It just sort of happened.

  10. see Kaye, I find that fascinating. I wonder how many non-readers maybe never learned to read very well, don't feel comfortable with it. But practicing with the grandkids...

    Yvonne, better later than never!

  11. Bandit, you need to teach me some of that Italian.

    Jenners, I have to agree that is a great thing to wish for your child..but as Kaye's story below shows, it is never too late.

    Darlene, Bandit does not mind so long as you rub his belly at the same time.


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