Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book 'em, Janno

I am a reader.

If you stopped by here yesterday and witnessed my abject slobbering over one of my fave-rave authors, you already know this.

I also am not a library-goer. I want to OWN my books, so I can touch them and caress them and fondle them -- and reread them -- whenever I feel the need.

Books are a portal to other worlds and other eras, and I treasure my time with my hardbound and paperback friends.

But somehow, my love for reading never made it to the next generation.

Oh sure, Drama King is an obsessive-compulsive reader. But then, that makes sense in the fairy-tale world he lives in, where Peter Parker could be his best friend.

Z-man? Middle school stopped his reading career in its tracks.

And the Drummer guy? He struggles.

So I was understandably thrilled when I heard possibly the sweetest words ever to escape my Roo-girl's precious lips.

No, it wasn't "I love you, Mom," although that ranks up there with "Here, Mommy, let me give you a backrub" or "Hey, Mom! I won the lottery!"

It was this:

"I need a new book. I have run out of things to read."

Ah, music to my ears from the child who, six months ago, fought me tooth and nail on extra-curricular reading material. You see, for reasons that I totally understand but 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds fail to see the point of, our middle schools require a certain amount of outside reading to be done during the school year.

The kids then have to take these little computerized tests and get points. Each year is different, but this year, Roo needs 15 points a quarter. Books can be as little as 2 points (some third or fourth-grade level readers) or as many as 44 ("Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix").

So you see, 15 points for 10 weeks is pretty much a no-brainer.

Unless you are the Z-man and "forced" reading turns you off to the pleasures of the printed page forever.

Or unless you are Miss Roo and are flatly allergic to books.

Last year, in an attempt to find something to fulfill the reading requirement, we discovered the chick-lit books, like Louise Rennison's "Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson" and her successive seven books, or Lauren Myracle and her "ttfn" series, written as a series of instant messages between friends.

If she read the back cover and didn't start snoring (or snorting), we were in. Sorta.

And then ... came "Twilight," "New Moon" and "Eclipse."

I've written about these books a couple of times before. They are really enjoyable teen/vampire romance stories by Stephenie Meyer.

And Roo inhaled them.

And reread them.

And obsessed over them.

And, through them, found the key to unlock the magic kingdom of books.

"Now I get it, Mom," she told me recently. "I never understood why you loved reading so much -- and now? Now I do."

So, since the end of January, she has read the three Stephenie Meyer books (twice) ... and this... and this ... and this ... and this ...

And she just started this three-book series.

Now, I do know they have a bit of a theme running through them (teens and vampires and such) and I did allow that fairly adult'ish Christopher Moore book in there (hello, Child Protective Services?).


When my anti-reading child asks to go to the bookstore? You betchum.

When this same child carts five books to school -- one for her and four to share with her friends? Yippee!

When the sweetest moment I can think of is to sit snuggled up with my teenage daughter while we both have our noses in a book?

Ahhh. It doesn't get better than that.


Joy T. said...

Aww that is the best. My kids used to be voracious readers and we would constantly hit Chapters (book store) because their other books were done. They don't read nearly what they used to but my son did come home the other day and said he stopped at Chapters and bought a book. I didn't want to run up and hug him because, you know, I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it. But he certainly knew I was happy to see him interested in reading again.

Burfica said...

that is so very awesome. I still struggle with Kiddo, he's been behind in reading since 1st grade. He's finally starting to get some chapter books, I try to find plenty of dragon books. And in the summer after lunch we sit and read for a good half hour mandatory, sometimes more if we are in a good part.

I'm trying to produce his love for them as much as his dad and i have.

Cathy said...

That's great - I always loved reading when I was I have trouble finishing a book and most of my books are about parenting or teaching in one way or another.

Miss Ann Thrope said...

The book "You Suck" is actually the second book about vampires by Christopher Moore. Bloodsucking Fiends: A love story" is the first, and in my opinion, by far the better one.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I love this!

I remember sitting on the couch with my mom with both of us reading voraciously.

Good times.

nikki said...

I always support Aaron when he asks for books. Granted we are huge library people. If I read a book that I LOVE, then I will go buy the book to reread over and over. Aaron can spend hours in the library.

Greg said...

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Janet said...

Hi another Janet! Thanks for stopping by my blog. The Janets are taking over the blogosphere (not really).

My whole family used to pass entire days reading books in silence when I was growing up. I'm a voracious reader; my husband, not so much. I desperately want my kids to love reading. The verdict is still out.

jennifer said...

I hope I can instill a love of reading in my kids. Glad she is devouring books!

I agree about owning books (althouugh I do love the library). I must OWN my favorites.

Canadian flake said...

awwww I am so very happy for you both. Both of my gremlins have struggled to read due to their learning disability...that makes it hard for them to enjoy it.

I really am happy for you and Roo

karisma said...

I know exactly how you feel. Yesterday afternoon was spent with my 8 year old (who by the way could not even read when I pulled him out of school just over a year and a half ago) together reading not just books but comparing how many pages we had read so far. What was so amazing is that he was reading a rather large chapter book with words way beyond his understanding (and some silly made up words) and he still finished it and started on the next in the series. I was so proud of him.

What do you mean, you don't go to the library? I also like to own books and indeed have far to many. Just yesterday I took delivery of two large boxes from the kids bookclub. And I stop into the local book stores every week. But I still go to the library every three weeks and borrow a bag full. I can't help myself!

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

If mine doesn't dig books I think we may question if he's really ours. We both inhale books. Way to read it Roo girl.

Jenni said...

Caleb was born reading and has probably read more of the classics than I have. Steinbeck is his favorite author and is prominently featured on his MySpace page. (Can you hear the angel chorus singing?)

BUT Jo took a while longer to become interested in reading for fun and her tastes are...well, she's reading. Josh had to have vision therapy and has struggled some but is now enjoying reading, though not often enough. Na is a jock and never liked to read. (You'd think I was torturing her by making her read for school.) Then I took her to seen the Nancy Drew movie last summer and now she MUST read every single title. Not great literature, but it's a start, and she loves it.

Oh, and I hate the AR program. It sucks, sucks, sucks. I know the intentions are good, but it is so poorly done. It is sucking the enjoyment out of reading for Josh, and seeing how much he struggled to get to the point of liking books, it just pisses me off. I think we'll have our own little reading program this summer to have good discussions about books, delve a little deeper into their meaning, and bring back some of that passion.

Dory said...

I mentioned the Janet Evanovitch series in my last post, and if you're ok with her reading pg-13 type stuff she may really like that series. Janet Evanovitch is very dry and sarcastic and I LOLd many many times thru that series.

Janet said...

Christopher Moore! Love his books, he's twisted, that one. Met him at a book signing once, nice guy.

Stephenie Meyer! Love her books, can't wait to see who is chosen to play Edward in the movies :-) She was at a book signing recently at the Barnes & Noble near where I live...didn't go to that as I felt like I'd be the oldest one there LOL!

This post makes me wish I had a child to read with...sigh...

Now I'm going to read the post about your fav authors!

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