Thursday, June 14, 2007

Genre Study

Most people who know me know that I am a big reader. Growing up, my father always read the Israeli paper, but not books. My mother has phases of reading - sometimes voraciously, sometimes more emphasis is put on other recreational activities like needlepoint. I don't recall my brothers being the biggest readers. But for me, reading was like breathing.

I've mentioned about my childhood that as a non-driver, my mother would walk to do the grocery shopping, and would often leave me alone in the library for an hour or so while going in and out of stores(different times, folks). By the time she returned, weighed down with supermarket bags, I had a tall stack of books ready to take home. Of course, since it was a 20 minute, semi-uphill trek, some of them had to be whittled down.

Once my oldest brother was driving, on Friday afternoons, he would be forced to take me on a quick library trip. Of course, he wouldn't start the ignition until he made me sing parts of a good three or four Led Zeppelin songs. I guess it was funny having his kid sister sing the opening part of "Immigrant Song". That song still makes me want to . . go to the library :)

One area of contention was the fact that I always wanted to read during mealtimes. It's not that our family conversations weren't scintillating(ish). But I was usually in the middle of a book. When I went to Belgium to meet RaggedyDad's family, one of few similarities we shared was reading at the table! Finally! It wasn't rude anymore if everyone was doing it!

These days I tend to read light novels or parenting-related books. Sometimes non-fiction, sometimes Jewish books. RaggedyDad, however, almost always reads the same thing: Russian sci-fi or fantasy novels. I laugh when I see these books because there is the inevitable sorcerer/three-headed-creature/dwarf-colony etc. on the cover. These books look so strange. And being that the text is in Russian letters (somehow connoting a sense of weird mysteriousness) they're even freakier-looking to me. Let's just say that from a very early age, if I asked my kids to bring me my book, they'd never mistakenly think that one of these colorful Russian oddities belonged to me.

This past Sunday, we were in Brooklyn for an early bris. On the way home, we made the cursory couple-of-times-a-year visit to Brighton Beach to stock up on RaggedyDad's reading material.

I don't really emphasize what someone is reading, provided that they are reading. Or maybe that's a quote from when I went to grad school to become a "Reading Specialist" - not that I claim to be a big specialist! But reading in general gives you a greater sense of vocabulary, grammar, and spelling, not to mention the creative benefits. Best of all, it's QUIET! Leftover children's books that I kept in my classroom as a teacher line many of our bookshelves, and to me, there's nothing greater than watching the kids feel comfortable to sit, explore, and read. Or, of course, reading to them.

But maybe they'll go easy on me and not get too much into Russian sci-fi.


Ezzie said...

I LOVE reading at the table!!

Of course, my parents and Serach aren't too keen. :(

Shira Salamone said...

My son inherited from me a condition that I describe as "delayed reading readiness"--neither of us learned to read until third grade. I knew that he had finally mastered the art of reading the day he almost missed the bus stop (to the reading tutor's house!) because he was too engrossed in reading a book. :) I'm happy to say that both of us have long since caught up, in terms of our reading skills. Nowadays, my favorite physicist eats books for breakfast (so to speak). :)

Hmm, time for me to post another book review.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I never was much of a reader and I am sad about it, I know if I would get into a book I would enjoy it, luckily Poochie loves books and I hope to encourage her to read a lot.

Ariella said...

All my children are readers -- even my 6 year-old now! But they each have their own tastes that are quite distinct from their parents'. My son, for example, has read just about anything on the American revolution and then moved on to the Civil War and othe war histories. History is by no means my strong point. One of my daughters is now really into Nancy Drew, and I only read two of those. Then there are the children's books that didn't even exist when I was a kid that my third goes for.

triLcat said...

I'm a big reader, but I have social needs. When we eat at the table (which is usually only shabbat), I insist that my husband put down his newspaper or book and spend a little time with me.

If we aren't at the table together, anything goes... (well, almost anything ;) )

Jack's Shack said...

I am a voracious reader. I think that this part of what I love about the Net, so many different things to read.

Ways of Zion said...

I love reading, usually have 2 or 3 on the go. Usually 1 on archeology (currently reading "the Quest" by Lean Ritmyer on the Temple Mt Excavations) and 1 light reading. The problem with being a mom is that the only time I have to read is after I get into bed, which usually means I'm up til the wee hours of the morning!

Scraps said...

I have loved books since I can remember. For a long time, they were far more reliable friends than people were. Your story about your mother doing the shopping and leaving you at the library reminds me of my own childhood; my mother used to do that with me all the time! And I always got yelled at for bringing books to the table. :)