I Love to Read

NaBloPoMo Day 22

I really like words.  When I was a kid, I used to read the dictionary.  Yes, yes… I was a complete dork by age 10.  (And, um, I still enjoy reading the dictionary.)  Loving words and loving to read are all tied up together.

I remember that there were always books to read in our house growing up.  Not quite as many as I have in my house now, but still quite a lot compared to most people I knew.  Both my parents love mysteries… Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series seemed to be most popular.  My dad was also a big fan of Louis L’Amour, while my mother enjoyed historical novels (she spent close to a year reading everything she could about Henry VIII and his wives… fact and fiction).  So the fact that I always have something around me to read is not at all strange.  To me.

By the time I was in fourth grade, I’d read all the books in our small school library at least once.  By the time I was in sixth grade, I’d finished all the books in the children’s department of the nearby public library.  (Oh, and that was quite a feat!  Except for the main library downtown, Hild Regional Branch was the largest library in the city of Chicago.  I even read all the “boys” books… the Hardy Boys and Chip Hilton and quite a few others.)  I was already reading at the college level by this time (yes, yes… total nerd), and my folks didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t read books from the adult department.  The librarians had other ideas, though.  You couldn’t check out a book from the adult section on a “youth” card… and you couldn’t get a “young adult” card until you were 14.  Now, just because my parents were completely supportive of their children reading everything they could get their hands on did not mean they wanted to schlep to the library every week.

I vividly remember the day my dad walked me over to the library and marched right up to the front desk, demanding to speak to the person in charge.  Mrs. Bare was in charge that day (I’ll never forget that woman… I worked for her right there in that same library several years later), and my dad insisted that she give me a “young adult” card.  Mrs. Bare explained the rules; dad just gave her that glare that he did oh so well.  Mrs. Bare (gods love her) just stared back.  Finally, dad gave her one of his rare smiles and explained that I’d already read all the books in the children’s department, that I was entirely too smart for my own good, that I read all the same books he and my mom read, and that he trusted that I wouldn’t bring home anything inappropriate.  Mrs. Bare (bless her heart) smiled, too, and said that maybe — just this once — she could bend the rules.  After all, 12 was pretty close to 14.

When I retold her that story when I was working for her, Mrs. Bare didn’t really recall it.  But I do.  And I always will.  Why?  Because that was one of the only times I knew my dad was proud of me.

My parents gave me a gift that’s still with me: the love of words, the love of reading, the love of books.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!  (And I seem to have passed on the love of reading to my darling Offspring.  Go me!)

Ah, if only I could remember to update my book blog to tell people about all the great (and not-so-great) books I read.  Maybe next year for NaBloPoMo…

2 Responses to “I Love to Read”

  1. November 23rd, 2009 | 12:18 pm

    My dad is not a reader (with the exception of tech manuals and video game guides) but other than that, my experience growing up was similar. Most of my ‘grown up’ books came from the used bookstore or my mom’s shelf. She never figured a book could hurt anyone.
    .-= Tina Kubala´s last blog … Barbie’s Pool Party =-.

  2. Kelly
    November 23rd, 2009 | 5:36 pm

    I got nearly all of my science fiction books from the used bookstore, since the library only offered authors like Heinlein, Clarke and some Silverbergs. Read them ALL, of course. LOL My daughter reads a lot of my books… but like my parents, she isn’t terribly interested in the science fiction. She has enjoyed some of the urban fantasy, but mostly she reads the mysteries. Oooh, and true crime. And legal dramas and police procedurals. :)