Wednesday, May 9, 2012

She is too fond of books

It makes sense that a writer would love books. If you follow that logic to its conclusion, it's natural that a writer would want to share their love of books with everyone in their life.

Because what is a joy that can't be shared with others?

The reading question has been one that has been analyzed and re-analyzed over many an over-priced cup of coffee with my group of close friends. My friend Georgie and I find this question particularly troubling.

Georgie and I both share an uncanny ability to show up at events dressed as though we'd called each other first to check in. We are the kind of friends who will cook the same things for dinner, buy the same cute napkins from Ikea and decide to eat out at the same restaurant on the same night, all without prior consultation.

Our similarities run even deeper. To name a few of the obvious ones, we're both lawyers, with an older daughter and younger son. But most importantly, for purposes of this blog post, we both spent hours upon hours of our respective childhoods curled up with books.

Which leads to another similarity. We both agonize over the fact that our daughers don't love books the way we did. Don't get me wrong. They're both smart girls. They know how to read and they like the idea of reading but, given the choice, the thing that will keep both girls up past midnight isn't Little Women and a flashlight under the covers.

My daughter and Georgie's daughter haven't followed in their mothers' footsteps when it comes to under-the-covers reading but, like their mothers, they have their own set of similarities.

They are the talkers, the tellers of stories and fonts of imaginative play. They're the kind of girls who are in high demand for play dates because they're NEVER at a loss for ways to occupy themselves.

At four, they created puddles in Georgie's basement in order to make 'Polly Pocket Lake'. We discovered them in their underwear joyfully stomping and squealing in said puddles.

At seven they face painted each other with lipstick, which would have been okay if the lipstick hadn't been smudge- proof and they didn't wipe it on the walls, the mirror, the carpet and all over my daughter's bed. Now at ten, they are busily planning the details for next year's attendance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

When there is so much joy to be gleaned from every day life, maybe it's okay if books take a backseat. Maybe if Georgie and I had grown up together we would have spent more time creating outdoor soup and putting on plays. After all, books will always be there, but being ten is a place you only get to go once.

She's reading, I'm writing. Everyone's happy.


48 comments:

Beylit said...

I wasn't a reader when I was growing up, I was a dreamer. There was a pesky issue with not being able to read and then resenting it, but still, I was not a reader. I am now a reader, though not to the point that my husband or friends are. A book a month is good progress for me, where as they are a book a day sort of people.

Still, when you are 10 there is an entire world to explore, and though there are thousands of worlds to explore in books, that giant mound of dirt on the neighbors yard is only going to be there to be your own personal mountain/castle/moon for a short time.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Isn't that such a comfort, that books will always be there?

My second daughter isn't a huge fan of reading. (Seriously?) She gravitates toward graphic comic books when we hit the library.

Celebrating her right where she's at. :D
~ Wendy

Angela Cothran said...

You can NEVER be to fond of books!!! My kids are avid readers too. I love it!

Alison said...

Those pictures are simply precious, in that you just can't buy that. Fantastic!

Genna has a friend who creates Hogwarts wherever she goes. When she arrives for a playdate, the first topic is, "Which HP book should we act out today?"

And then there's me - I'm a terrible reader, in that once I start reading, I forget everything else. A bomb could go off next to me and I wouldn't notice, once I'm in my new little world.

Great post, as always!

Jenny Morris said...

I have to say the fact that my boys love books makes me giddy. But I spent a ton of my childhood outside and not curled up with a book. So your daughter will be fine!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Is it possible to have too many books? Books were some of my best friends as a kid. I had other friends, too, but I would easily lose myself in a book.

Talli Roland said...

Love that photo of your daughter reading!

I've always loved reading - always. Some of my best moments were summer days after a library run where I could gorge on books!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was always reading as a kid.
Your daughter might find she enjoys it more as she grows older.

Connie J Jasperson said...

My two oldest daughters Leah and Christy have always been each other best friend. As 10 year olds they were not real interested in reading,although they would listen to any story that I read to them. Now Christie reads anything that she can get her hands on, and Leah is well into writing her first novel. They both amaze me!

Joshua said...

I'm hoping my kids like reading. The Girl has enjoyed me reading "big" (her word) books to her at night. Pretty soon she'll be able to read them to herself. I think I'll be really sad if she doesn't want to read with me anymore.

Also, I'd like to apologize for not making it over here to your place until now. Thank you for your patience, and for coming by to comment. I'm here now, and glad I am.

Kristen Wixted said...

Well said! She is enjoying her life her way, and sounds like she's really good at being a little girl.
Loved the polly pocket lake story!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I enjoyed reading as a kid too. With a twin sister, I recall lots of play too.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have a large number of students this year who aren't interested in reading. It made a big change from last year, when I had students who devoured books. I made quite an effort with this current batch -- and they LOVED the books I read aloud to them this year. But they still won't pick up a book on their own. It makes me sad.

Melissa Bradley said...

Your girls sound like the most beautiful, imaginative spirits. I have four nephews and one day I went out into my backyard because the boys kept coming in for hot water. I thought they would burn themselves and was curious as to what mayhem they were up to. They had taken a kiddie pool, fill it partway with cold water from the hose then poured in the hot water to make their own hot tub.

Stephen Tremp said...

Reading. Telling. Its all good. Of course, reading is much better IMHO.

Stephen Tremp said...

Gotta love the Hunger Games!

Anne Gallagher said...

I was a reader. My daughter is a story-teller. She's always making stuff up. I wonder where she gets it from? Lol.

jenny milchman said...

I've heard from many parents that reading can kick in later. I think the best way is if they see you getting joy from books--this will settle in their minds. Right now she may be too busy crafting her own stories!

Polly Pocket Lake. I love it.

Kathleen Barker said...

Echoing Jenny's comment, I too was a later book lover. Oddly, my love developed as a consequence of forced summer reading lists from school. You watch, Johanna. I'm willing to bet money that it will come with a vengeance!

Johanna Garth said...

Beylit, I bet that will be my daughter too.

Wendy, I love that attitude.

Angela, that's wonderful.

Allie, I'm exactly the same way. Drop everything and read kind of person.

Jenny, so often I think our kids are the mirror images of us.

Talli, I loved those summer library days too.

Alex, I'm sure you're right.

Connie, I always find your input so reassuring :)

Joshua, so glad you stopped by. No apologies necessary :)

Stacey, twins are so lucky that way.

Dianne, it's tricky. We have designated reading time at our house.

Thanks Melissa and I love the hot tub in the backyard swimming pool!

Stephen, yes Hunger Games, whatever, as long as she's reading.

Anne, isn't that funny. Can't imagine where she would get it from ;)

Jenny, I hope so. In the meantime it means we get to hang out together. Me writing and her reading.

Thanks Kate, I'm planning a summer reading challenge of my own for both kids!

laura thomas said...

I spent all of my time reading when I was a young girl. It felt like Christmas when I went to the library and I couldn't wait to get home with my haul and start reading. I still feel like that today!

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