Yes, I Am a Serious Book Reader

My Filled to the Max (on both sides!) Bookshelf

Last Fall,  I stumbled upon the site Goodreads.  The site  indicated it would give recommendations of books I might enjoy reading based on books I had already read. I was in a book rut, so I spent many hours clicking on all the books I have read, not understanding they became part of my bookshelf (which made them available for others to view). It wasn’t until  later (as in many months) when I realized  of the 159 or so books I had indicated reading that eighty-seven (yes, 87!) were children’s books. For all you math folks out there, 54% of my rated books were children’s books. I thought to myself, “How Pathetic!” Then I thought, “Maybe I should start a blog reviewing children’s books, since I have read soooooooooooooooooo many.” Hmm, I will have to think about that (another day of course).

I realized I have spent the last 9 1/2 years raising children and many years before that teaching children, and that probably accounts for the sheer number of children’s books I have read (what parent hasn’t read Brown Bear, Brown Bear or If You Give a Pig a Pancake? But have you read Lyle’s Birthday, Sylvester and The Magic Pebble or Chrysanthemum? (Okay, it sounds like I am still thinking about a children’s book blog…) But come on, 87  kids books! I absolutely love books and I read a lot  (or so I thought).

How much do I love reading books? Here are a few examples of my complete adoration of literary bound pages :1) I turn into a grouch when I don’t have time to read. 2)I stay up way too late if a book is so well written it leaves me completely enthralled. 3) On a _____ day, (substitute sunny, rainy, snowy, cloudy, etc. You get the picture) I would rather be reading. 4)My nightstand seems bare if there are fewer than 3 books on it at a time. 5) I feel thrilled when I receive books for my birthday, Christmas, Los Reyes Magos, etc. So there you have it, I am a bibliophile, a bookworm, a lover of the written word in short story or novel format.

I have followed a blog called 101 Books  to get ideas on what books I should read that I somehow missed out on. There are a ton of old favorites, like The Time Travelers Wife, which I just got around to reading last Fall. I think I missed it because I was either pregnant and reading those types of books, or had just had my first baby and was reading those types of books.  Either way, you get that I was not reading anything literary. So now I guess I need to play catch up.

It’s a new year with new possibilities. So far, my list includes:

Running With Scissors

Like Water For Chocolate

Runaway

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

When She Woke

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Never Let Me Go

White Oleander

The Book Thief

What else  should I  include in my next batch of must reads??

I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

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There are Fairies in My House

There are moments when time seems to drag on in a repetitive circle in my life as a parent. Five days of school with activities, hustle and hurry, two days on the weekend playing catch up. Repeat. Then something happens and the world seems off kilter, leaving me to wonder:  In which new direction are we headed?

I had decided to take my children to the bookstore one afternoon when they had a day off from school. We all went our separate ways in the small store, looking for new favorites to devour. I ordered hot chocolate and a cookie for the children and called them to the table. Neither of them wanted to leave the books. I told them they could each choose a book to buy before we left.

When it came time to pay for the books, the 6-year-old begged for three chapter books from the Rainbow Magic Fairy series. I held firm to only one and wondered where she had seen these books and why the sudden interest in them.

On the way home we had to stop at the library to pick up a book I had on hold. Once again, the children scattered to the children’s section. And the 6-year-old had found yet more Rainbow Magic Fairy books and wanted to check them out.

During the short ride home she called out page numbers and chapter numbers, announcing her reading accomplishments. The rest of the day I watched her walk up and down the stairs with her nose in one of the books. She brought a book to the dinner table. She attempted  reading while brushing her teeth, a task that even I have yet to do.

When it was time to read before bedtime, I asked her which book she wanted me to read to her. She said, “I don’t want you to read to me tonight. I want to finish my book about Mia the Bridesmaid Fairy.” I tried every trick I could think of to change her mind. All of them were unsuccessful.

I felt deflated, like a day old balloon. For the past four months, we had a routine in the evening where we curled up on a mound of pillows and I read her chapter upon chapter of wonderful books, like the Ramona Quimby series. She was attentive. She asked questions. She compared herself to Ramona and other characters. She laughed at all the right parts. It was a special time of the day for just her and I.

It all seemed to vanish in the blink of an eye. But as I reflected later on, I realized that we had built up to that moment over time. She has always been a self-starter. It was she who told me that she wanted to learn how to read when she was in preschool. She practiced and challenged herself with new words and their pronunciations. The former teacher in me encouraged her to read some of the passages out loud from these chapter books geared toward second and third graders, just to see if she was ready for this type of reading material on her own.

In addition to the mountain of books oozing out of every surface possible in our house, I indulged her and bought books that  interested her, like “Fancy Nancy“, “Pinkalicious” and “Angelina Ballerina“. But now, these books that she had been in love with only a short time ago were unacceptable. “They’re baby books,” she told me. I suggested chapter books that her brother had read when he was younger. She turned up her nose to “The Magic Tree House” series and others. I began to realize how important it was for her to have a say in the genre of books that she chose to read.

Now, she is a full-fledged member of our book-loving family. She wakes up early like her brother, turns on her reading lamp and gets a dose of words before breakfast.  She begs me to take her to the bookstore so that I can buy her more books to read (Fairy books of course). I know that when she is ready to read some of the outstanding literature  we have at home, (like Pippi Longstocking) she will dive right in and eat it up, just like she does with everything else.

As for me, I think this summer I will impose a Mama’s choice night where I get to choose the book and read to everyone. I am not quite ready to give up reading with my children. I guess I should start on my list now. I have some ideas, but I’d love to hear from you, readers.

Which books should make it to my “summer reading with my children” list?