Tuesday, January 18, 2005


I love to read; always have. In high school, I had to go to a chiropractor for a while because my neck was bent out of shape from so much reading with my head propped up in bed. Nerd.

Both of my parents love to read, and read a lot when I was younger. My mom would read anything. I think she's the only Pentecostal in America who's read Josephus. She told me one time that her heart medicine had decreased her attention span, and she couldn't really read anymore. That was one of the saddest things I had heard (I was young then). She's off that medication now, and reads like a maniac again. Welcome back, mom.

These days, she sits at a computer most of the day (just like me!) and pretty much surfs her web pages and blogs for stuff to send us. She sends 3-5 articles every day, mostly about parenting. My initial reaction is sometimes to get a little offended (how could you not, when your mom sends you articles entitled "How to stop beating your kids," etc.) but they're usually good articles once I settle down to reading them.

My dad, on the other hand, mostly read (reads?) mystery novels and business books. He's always had to read a lot for work, and doesn't view reading as a pleasure the way the rest of us do.

One of the great things while growing up was that we had two sets of encyclopedias. Mom and dad had both bought a set before they were married (I think), so I had a white set and a green set to choose from. And that's what I read as a kid, encyclopedias. Holy cow. I would get "J" and carry it around for a week, reading it straight through, then skip to "R" to keep it exciting. Then it was biographies in middle school, SciFi and fantasy in high school, magazines and journals (and a brief, disastrous fling with theology) in college, and history after college.

As if it were possible, my wife is an even more voracious reader than I am. She's a machine. If she doesn't have a book on-hand at the time, she's got a box full of old ones stashed somewhere in the house and she'll just go get one of those to tide her over until the next library run.

So it's no surprise that our kids are readers too. T is just like I was. At night, he always clamors to read fact books about animals. If there's a book about dangerous creatures, we've got it and he's read it. He's not a fan of fiction, but he did take the first Harry Potter book well, so we'll see.

On the other hand, S1 loves stories, especially Thomas the Tank Engine. We've got the big book and will read at least one story out if it each night, along with some other picture book. Right now, he really likes "A Day at the Police Station" by Richard Scary.

J likes to be read to, but doesn't really pay attention to anything other than that he's being read to. He'll run around during the story, but will get mad if you stop. Meh, he's 4.

Amazingly, S2 loves to sit in my lap while I read, even if it's not a book for him. He and T share a room, so when we read to T at night, S2 will walk over, back up into my lap, plop down, and sit quietly while we read.

So while my boys may not grow up to be doctors, lawyers, presidents, etc., they apparently will be readers, which is a good thing. And maybe they will be doctors, lawyers, presidents, etc. Who knows?

As for me, I don't get to read as much as I used to or want to. That’s about the only thing I’m actually looking forward to when the boys grow up. I’ll miss them terribly, but I’ve already got a backlog of reading, so if they want to jump ahead a few grades and go to college when they’re 15, that’ll be fine by me, at least as far as reading goes. Don’t mistake me, I’ll cry like a baby. Then I’ll turn around and start measuring their rooms for bookshelves and comfy chairs.

For now, I'm pretty much restricted to reading during "man time," during meals, and the hour or so before bed. We tried to have a rule about no reading at dinner (family time and all that), but it was a race between my wife and myself to see who could break that rule first. Now the big 2 read at dinner too. Oh, well. We do enforce the “no videogames at the table” rule, which should hold, since neither of us have handheld videogames.

I do try to keep two books going at once, with an Upstairs book and a Downstairs book. Really good books get carried up and down the stairs with me. My current Upstairs book is "The Story of Civilization: The Life of Greece" by Wil Durant (who was apparently a BIG fan of socialism; wow) and my current Downstairs book is "How the Scots invented the Modern World" by Arthur Herman. The last book I carried with me was "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." At 800+ pages, it was a labor of love to lug that around with me for three days. Nerd.


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