When I logged into Facebook this morning (let’s all just admit that’s one of the first things we do when we sit at a computer) I saw a post by my public library that it is National Book Lovers Day. The perfect holiday for me.
What a surprise, a librarian who loves books.
But how did I come to love books? My mom (who happens to be an English teacher, but wasn’t when I was born and very little) read to my sister and I on an almost nightly basis. I loved that time, right before bed, when we would cuddle up on the couch and listen to at first, picture books, and then chapter books and novels.
The material would vary (at my Grandma’s I always wanted The Pokey Little Puppy which was kept there much to my parents’ relief) but the experience was always at the core the same. For a half hour or so my mom, sister, and I (and sometimes my dad) would all sit together and spend time as a family being transported. Our nightly reading sessions are where I was introduced to some of my favorite characters: Eeyore, Anne Shirley, and the March sisters. In high school when Harry Potter was hitting the U.S. scene my mom even returned to reading to us in her excitement of this new find (she read the first 3 books to us all as a family and then continued reading the rest to my dad as they came out and my sister and I went away to college).
There are all sorts of studies and articles about the educational benefits of parents reading to their children, and I am sure my mom was aware that she was helping us build language and learning skills, but she also helped to develop my imagination and our sense of family. And, or course, our love of books. Even though my sister is dyslexic she is an avid reader and I believe that is in a very large part to our nightly ritual.
So today I will celebrate those books I have read and those I will read. My goal this year is to read 40 books and according to GoodReads I’m 23 books close to my challenge. But ultimately being a book lover isn’t about the number you’ve read but how you are transported while reading and what you take away from the experience. I used to be very one-note in my reading : for example, through high school other than required texts (which I often enjoyed) my extra curricular reading was primarily historical fiction. Today, I try to vary my experiences reading a novel, and then a book of essays, to be followed by a biography or memoir. It has broaden my experiences, my reading skills, and my knowledge.