Friday, June 14, 2013

For the Love of Books, and Celebrate the Small Things

Remember my Literature Rant on Monday? This is kind of part two, and the some of the reason for my feelings on the matter.

I love to read a variety of books, from "easy" to "challenging," and I don't think any particular type is better than another.

I think that reading is a gift that shouldn't be lost in an attempt to be more "literary."

The sad thing that I see happening in this world isn't that "people don't read enough classic literature anymore," or that "people only read for entertainment." The sad thing I see is kids labeled and told they can't read higher or lower than a certain reading level. Or kids that I see who have been told they "should" read a certain type of book that they don't like . . . and then guess what? They stop reading, entirely.

When I met my husband, he didn't read any fiction. He only read technical manuals and textbooks. He thought all fiction was boring and he strongly disliked reading. He thought it was "cute" that I liked to read, but he didn't want to join me.

So, I started a campaign to turn him into a reader. I read him snippets of books out loud in the car. I told him how my favorite books were like my favorite movies. (He really likes movies.) I read him half of Ender's Game, and he finished it. I read him half of The Hobbit, and he finished it. I read him half of Watership Down and he finished it. 

When our girls were little, he read aloud to them, and had fun doing the voices. He told them stories. Then he wrote a children's book of stories that he made up with them. (It's on our bookshelf, but can't be found anywhere for sale - it's called The Adventures of Thumper and Brim)

He went from hating reading fiction to loving it.

I wish I could do that same for everyone I meet who dislikes reading . . . but what I really wish is that every kid and every adult could read for the love of it, and for the love of stories and books. I dream of a world where books are available for every person in every country, and libraries have to work hard to keep the books on their shelves because they're being checked out all the time.





Today I'm celebrating: books; books without labels. books that we know are the best because they are thought-provoking, fun, educational and entertaining all at the same time! They lift us up out of whatever circumstances we are in, and show us a new horizon.

Oh, and I would like to extend a personal thanks to all those librarians who have made my reading life rich!

How do you share  your love of reading with your friends and family?

And what are you celebrating today?

28 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amen! If a kid wants to read a book, as long as it's appropriate, he should be allowed to read it. If forced to read what he doesn't enjoy, he'll only hate reading.

Laura said...

Books are the perfect thing to celebrate! I always think that people who don't like reading just haven't picked up the right book yet. I always try to encourage them to keep trying, because I can't imagine a life without reading!

LD Masterson said...

I don't think kids should have to read what they don't like but there is a point to having them read at least some books at or above their reading level. I try to find a balance with my grandkids - for every couple of "easy" books I give them I toss in something that will stretch their brains a little.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Reading a book out loud to my kids has always been a favorite way of sharing. Glad you expressed your appreciation for librarians. They are great, aren't they?

Al Diaz said...

I share your dream and celebration! What a wonderful idea to make someone who doesn't like to read into a converted reader. I think I might try it too with a few people around. I wish I could do that with my whole country. Too bad that's an impossible dream. Dragon hugs, Tyrean!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Books are lovely things to celebrate. I too feel that people are not reading books nowadays, with the exception of a handful of people, most others prefer watching T.V, going for movies or talking on the phone.

M.J. Fifield said...

I had a student once who didn't like to read. One day in class, he brought up the movie The Shawshank Redemption, so I convinced him to read the short story it's based on. One thing led to another, and by the time he left the program, he was an avid reader.

M Pax said...

I have to stay, I groaned at being forced to read Tale of Two Cities in hs, but it remains one of my all-time favorite books and sparked a thirst for more classic literature. In college, we read more to enjoy and for larger thoughts other than nitpicking a work to death. I enjoyed that, too, and have since read a lot of classic lit and learned it's OK to read what I enjoy.

No one should be told what not to read. Ever. Maybe the world would be a better place if people read more.

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VikLit said...

How awesome that you helped him discover a love of reading!

jaybird said...

Oh I wish I could get my husband into reading. He teases me all the time. The only thing he reads are magazines with guns or dead deer on the front! It makes me nuts. I bought him all kinds of books, and tried to get him into them, but he can't seem to sit still long enough to read one. UGH! Meanwhile, my kids and I are all major readers! We'd rather read than watch TV-

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My husband and I both read and always have. My mother used to sit and read to me for hours. She said I was talking and starting to read by the time I was 1 & 1/2 years old.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - agreed!

Laura - me too!

LD - I think giving kids a variety of books to read is good too . . .so they can know that all books aren't the same.

C. Lee - that's a great way to share a love of reading

Al - one person at a time can make a difference!

Rachna - I know how you feel - I think people need to be encouraged to read.

MJ - that's awesome!

Mary - I think the world would be a better place if we all read a bit more! :)

Viklit - thanks!

jaybird - That's awesome that your kids and you are all avid readers - does your husband like humor books about the outdoors? - there are some fun books in that category. Just another idea.

Diane - that's so cool! I think that having parents excited about books and sharing them with their kids is really important.

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Nana Prah said...

Great job with the conversion. I agree, reading is a gift.

Trisha F said...

Great post, Tyrean! I totally agree with you that everyone should be able to read what they want. I still can't understand how one of my best friends (also a librarian) doesn't ever read fiction, though! I admit I wish that would change for her. ;) She has started reading graphic novels as a way of getting closer to reading fiction, but it really isn't the same thing. :P She reads a whole lot of non-fiction though - biographies mostly.

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

What an exciting story. I knew people can change! :) Reading is amazing. So glad there are audio books at the library, because I'd never have time to read as much as I'd like to nowadays. Writer’s Mark

Cathrina Constantine said...

I've been a strong enforcer of books since my children were babies. Even when my son hated to read, I read to him, this he liked-now he's a doctor and has to read textbooks that are five inches deep, haha...I just read a snippet from a book to my hubby, he liked that too. And he actually picked up his book which had a film of dust.

Meredith said...

I agree! The AR reading program drives me nuts sometimes. I want to instill in my kids a LOVE of reading, not telling them what they should read or what kind of reader they are. We may not following "the program" the way we are told, but my kids love to read and I won't tell them to do anything differently or read something they aren't interested in. When did reading become a "chore?"

Happy Celebrating!

Meredith (@MeredithRaeJ)
Meredith's Musings
http://meredithraemusings.blogspot.com/

Rebeccah Giltrow said...

Where would we be without books?! And now that I work in a library, I get to celebrate books daily :D

Jeff Hargett said...

And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. You picked some great books to hook your husband on reading. Nicely done!

Milo James Fowler said...

So cool how you read the first halves and made him want to finish them. Probably helped that you picked AWESOME books in the first place! Many of my students are reluctant readers, but I try to encourage them to read what they're interested in. Sometimes it works.

Misha Gericke said...

I agree. Just as I believe people shouldn't be told what to write, I believe they shouldn't be told what to read.

I get so angry when someone refuses to acknowledge other genres as worth reading just because they don't like it.

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Heather Holden said...

The sad thing I see is kids labeled and told they can't read higher or lower than a certain reading level.

This really resonates with me. In high school, I was told I shouldn't read YA fiction, because I was already "too old" for those types of books. It was like, seriously?! Jokes on them, since I still read YA books!

Also, I'm very impressed that you got your husband to love reading. I used to try making my older sis like reading, but never succeeded...

michelle said...

I share your dream of "a world where books are available for every person in every country..." especially since the adult literacy level in my country is approx. 88% (The UN defines the adult literacy level as the proportion of people aged 15 years and above who can read, write and speak)
I also think that, in general, people are not reading enough. Kids too. Everyone is too busy watching TV.

Writer In Transit

Cherie Reich said...

I definitely share your dream about reading! It doesn't matter what type of a book a person likes to read. The fact that they are reading is what's important.