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.