Indoctrination

Booking Through Thursday 

When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

I grew up surrounded by books.  When I was four years old, I already had my own floor-to-ceiling bookshelf filled with books in my room.  My parents had a little study in that house which was also lined with bookshelves overflowing with books.  When I was five, my favorite book was an atlas.  I always got books as presents, and growing up we went to the public library (which was actually a very good, well-funded one) at least twice a month.

My wife loves books, too, but she did it on her own, inspite of her family.  Her mother, who is sixty years old, has never read a book for pleasure and is actively anti-book.  She says that she would rather “experience life” than have her nose buried in a book.  We’ve tried to explain to her that reading doesn’t prevent us from “experiencing life” but rather enriches our lives and allows us to have experiences on more than just a superficial level.  It didn’t work.  It still irks her that her “wayward” book-loving daughter married someone who loves books just as much. 

So we decided to make it into a game.  Every Christmas, we get each other a book to be opened at the family Christmas present exchange.  The rules are (a) it has to be a book the other person actually wants to read and (b) it must be able to double as a doorstop.  Last Christmas, I gave her Anna Karenina.  It was her favorite present.  Her mother actually pouted.

And yes, when we have children, we will be dragging them into every bookstore and library we pass.

3 thoughts on “Indoctrination

  1. Literary Feline August 23, 2007 / 8:00 pm

    What a great story! That really is too bad your wife’s mother is so opposed to reading. I have an uncle who is similar, although not quite so extreme. Unfortunately, he married a reader–unfortunate for her, really. He does not like her to read while he’s in the house, even if all he is doing is watching a game on TV. I find that sad, but perhaps she does not mind it so much. She’s stayed married to him for all these years.

    Lucky for me, I married a reader just as you did. I can’t imagine it being otherwise.

  2. merrimerri August 24, 2007 / 6:09 pm

    EEK that is so sad about the mother in law!
    I wonder if she has trouble reading?(So degrades it?)
    Anna Karenina is a gorgeous book…
    GOOD that you will be encouraging your kids to be readers!!!

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