What Makes a Reader?

BlogHer Original Post

What makes a "reader"? I spent this weekend with my best friend, who came to visit me as a birthday surprise. We live in different parts of the country and the last time she was in one of my apartments was circa 2003 (aka the "Not a Student, Still Poor" years). She kept looking at my bookshelves and saying, "You really do have a lot of books." While she enjoys reading, like my husband she's not a "reader". I know the two of them better than I probably know anyone and yet I can't tell you what makes me a reader and them not.

When I was a child I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do more than read. I lived in the country. There were no other children my age close by and my siblings were much older than I was (and I know y'all are shocked that my sister at age eleven did not want to play with me when I was three). I had no one to play with, we didn't have cable and I had tons of time. And I had tons of books - books that I couldn't read. There was something about all those books standing there and mocking me that made me determined to read them. I bugged my oldest sister to help me and I had conquered reading before kindergarten. Once I started reading, I didn't really ever stop (though there were a few spells that were drier than others).

I spent most of the weekend offline visiting with my friend. But when I hopped back online today I found the Musing Monday question this week was about when people discovered that they loved reading. How timely.

Just One More Book credits her mother for her love of reading.

My mother has had difficulties with reading her entire life and often recounts the fear she experienced throughout her schooling, just dreading the time a teacher would ask her to read something in front of the class. Because of this, she says, she was determined to make sure I never experienced this myself. She was always sure to read to me: a brief stint of picture books before heading over to fairy tales and Enid Blyton.

Should Be Reading was a late bloomer.

When I was a young teen (or, maybe a pre-teen), my Mom would take us to the bookstore and let us choose a book or two. I started to love to read then, I think, but still wouldn’t have classified myself as an “avid reader”.

Heather at What Was I Reading is carrying on her mother's legacy.

I think, possibly, my love of reading, which was always there--yet dormant until I had the time aside from all the school-related reading--came as a result of the influence of my mother, who was a voracious reader. Granted, I'd hardly ever read the stuff she read (she was such a genre fiction junkie who was nearly obsessed with Grisham, Clancey, Ludlum, etc.), but I have very distinct memories of her doing book swaps with my aunts and uncles at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom died a little over five years ago, and I think that's when my sister and I rekindled our love of reading--maybe we are carrying out her legacy. Who knows? Now it's just a compulsion.

Library Cat Books still remembers the first book she read on her own.

The first book I remember reading was checked out from the BookMobile when I was in elementary school. This lovely green and white bus stopped at the grocery store parking lot once a week and I loved running across the parking lot to see what wonderful volume I could find. The great childhood book was Miss Jellytot's Visit and I loved it and read it over and over. It was published in 1955 and I think I could read it again today and be delighted.

What makes you a reader?

Contributing Editor Sassymonkey also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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