Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What makes a reader a reader?

I have got to remember to switch my pictures to my laptop because I am getting sick of looking at those books. Although I have to warn you: it will probably be cats.

So, it's banned book week, where everyone reads banned books as an ethical bitchslap to everyone who claims to be the voice of morality. I've gone on ad nauseum about banning and censorship, so instead I'll write about my love affair with books.

I come from a family of readers. We all have different tastes that rarely overlap, but my parents read, my siblings read, I read, and I can't remember a time when I couldn't. When I was young, my favorite books were the Little Mermaid (the Disney version...don't look at me like that! I was four!) and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Doctor Seuss. Of course, almost everyone had a favorite Doctor Seuss book growing up. The man had a way with structured rhymes.

My next books were comic books. Not the superhero variety, but from newspapers. My favorite was Garfield and say what you want about the strip, I still enjoy it. And that's enough. But while I loved pictures, they weren't a match for the ones in my head. I was around seven when I first picked up an "adult" novel, The Shining by Stephen King. And I never looked back.

Yes, they were a bit over my head. I didn't understand most of the sexual things and sometimes I never heard of certain words, but I felt what the characters were going through, I saw what was going on. I complained about a lot of homework assignments in my time, but I never balked at books. It was the only time I ever considered homework not to be work.

What makes me a reader, I wonder? Learned behavior? Something in my genes? What about you guys? Are your families big on books? Or were you just captivated by the first black squiggles you came across?


  1. My mother and her parents are/were huge readers, so they shoved books in my hands pretty early on. I began reading on my own when I was 3ish. I moved on to adult books (Stephen King, too, actually) when I was ten. I haven't stopped reading since. If there's nothing else to read, I'll read condiment containers. :D

  2. Great post! It's fun to reflect on the influence of books/reading/writing.

    I was the avid reader in my family (always a nose in a book) tho my parents did read too (spy novels for dad, self help/new age for mom) so my own bookishness was never frowned upon, quite the opposite. We were always going to the library.

    I recall books from my childhood, like you, Dr. Suess. and also the Bernstein Bears. I also was a big Garfield fan! In highschool I too got into Stephen King, with The Stand and The Shining probably being my favourites...oh, and 'It'. Catcher in the Rye was also a big one (read and re-read, my friend and I would quote each other from it). And lets not forget Mad Magazine!

    All fondly recalled.
    Thanks for the memories!

    Julie Johnson


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