Couch

It’s football season and my Broncos are stomping. (We got your rematch, Baltimore.) My son isn’t into football, so he’s curled up on the couch with his e-reader. It’s hard to keep up with what he’s reading. The kid is voracious, and is one of those people who will carry on with a book until the bitter end, whether it has zombies in it or not. He reads as much as I do, and has taken to creeping up with his e-reader and a sheepish look on his face like he knows he’s getting carried away. Hey, as long as it’s not another video game.

I’m two-for-three with my kids as far as reading goes. My boys are heavy consumers (and my oldest sent me a text yesterday from the Seattle Public Library, asking what he should get; that little note warms my heart on so many levels). My daughter reads some, but she doesn’t yearn for books the way the boys do. The way I do. I consider her a work in progress.

(Oh my gosh, premature touchdown celebration. Seriously, 59, I hope you don’t finish all your big moves that way.)

Are the young people in your life into books? What do they like to read?

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31 responses

  1. The one thing I worried most about when I was pregnant with each of my kids was that they wouldn’t love to read. I just didn’t know how I’d relate to a child of mine who didn’t love books. My worries were unfounded. They’re both heavy readers. And now my 2-year-old granddaughter loves books too. Her current favorite is Silly Sally, with Wheels on the Bus a close second, and Big Red Barn after that.

    • Reading to a child is one of life’s simplest joys. My oldest used to love The Lorax—all the Dr. Seuss books, really, and I always thought they were such a pleasure to read. All those tricky, lilting rhymes.

  2. We always had books in the house, and my kids got books from me as gifts all the time. They became readers with eclectic tastes. I guess I did at least one thing right.

  3. My kids are stealth readers. If I recommend a book, they shrug, but if I bring one into the house, read a few pages and set it down, I’ll catch them in corners and under covers with their nose stuck in—and also in the bathroom well after bedtime.

    (that IMAGE)

    • My little guy is like that, too. On the way home from the bookstore, where I’d bought The Age of Miracles for myself and some other stuff for him, he spied my book and cracked it open. Just perusing it for the ride home, I thought. But then he refused to give it back.

  4. “Are the young people in your life into books? What do they like to read?”

    My son (25 now) loves to read. He likes anything George R.R. Martin writes, that sort of thing, Palahniuk’s work, Tolkien, the Dark Tower series, dystopian stuff. He says he cannot remember a time when he did not know how to read.

    • When my oldest was little, he wasn’t so much into reading. But one day we had a long conversation about books, and how you can go anywhere and see anything, just by sitting in a chair and reading a book. After that, he was hooked. I think he was maybe not reading novels at the time, maybe was still into picture books. I remember giving him something that was a bit beyond his skill level, and that was what made the difference.

      I like your son’s taste.

  5. It’s been an odd thing in our family. My mother has always been a big reader, while my dad reads the newspaper and magazines. I loved to read growing up, but my brother, not so much. When I had my two kids, my daughter loved to read, but my son? Not so much. My husband? Magazines and newspapers…books? Not so much. (see the trend here?) Now we have hope. We may have the first MALE reader of books in our family. My grandson, Payton. At this moment, he’s into books, loves to read and to be read to. He’s in first grade. We are keeping our fingers crossed it will continue.

    • I wonder if it’s a matter of the individual’s imagination. My daughter will only read graphic novels, movie tie-ins, or picture-heavy bios about Jonny Depp in which she can gaze longingly into his baby browns. She doesn’t seem to form the images on her own, she needs them ready-made.

  6. One daughter is getting her third Masters so reading is something she HAS to do. She writes rings around me, the bitch. If I wrote like she does at her age, I would have retired years ago, moved to the mountains and be as famous as…I can’t think of anyone who would have been as accomplished I would have been… Sigh.
    The other kid…kid, ha, she’s almost thirty,..when a book bites her she bites back and consumes it in hours. She can be a voracious reader.
    I used to read to our daughters when they were little and even when not so little. They always saw me reading a book or a magazine or the back of a cereal box. I don’t know if that makes a difference but I like that they like reading.

    • I have a picture of myself from years ago. I am completely engrossed in a book, I mean glazed-over IN it, and my toddler is toppling head-first over the edge of the ottoman. Not my finest shining moment.

  7. It’s always some sports season in this house — for me. I love my sports. I wrote one of my favorite essays on the couch while watching a 4 day golf tournament.

    My daughter has always read literary fiction, even as a teenager. At 15 she would say, “Have you read this Isabelle Allende book, or this new Alice Munro collection?” though she reads less now that she’s been swallowed up by corporate America. My son likes world news and government and history. One of his favorite writers is Tony Horwitz. And he now reads on his phone, which fascinates me. I have a great photo of him at about age 10 — it’s early morning, he’s shirtless, hair sticking up all over, and he’s spooning in cereal with one hand while holding up the New York Times with the other. He knew more about the war in Iraq and the effect on surrounding Middle East countries, for instance, than most of the adults we knew. And he had/has his opinions. It was a hoot to hear him debate grown men on our foreign policy. Ha!!

  8. Both of my kids had the most wonderful kindergarten teacher who had an amazing teaching technique. She had every child reading by the end of the year.
    They are 21 and 23 and are both excellent readers and writers. My daughter reads all the time, my son prefers to read articles on his computer.
    Love that photo! I had “pinned it” a few weeks ago!

  9. My girls are readers, but I’m really excited about their writing skills. The youngest is a poet. She’s sensitive and bleeds her heart onto the page. Her father bought her a website where she publishes articles, poetry, recipes, that kind of stuff and it’s building a pretty good audience. The 12 year old wrote an entire 300 page fantasy book longhand. She saved her allowance and bought Dragon software to get it into a document and is now editing. All her teachers are encouraging her. I’m amazed at her determination. She does not get it from me. My son wrote an essay comparing his experience and his grandfather’s as a veteran that blew me away. The first name that came to mind when I looked into his wrinkly newborn face was Emerson, which became his middle name. Coincidence or fate?

  10. My house was decked out in Broncos last night and my husband was deliriously happy. I’m two for three on the reading front as well. My daughters both like reading, but my son goes in very short spurts and doesn’t claim to like reading. He’s only in third grade, so I’m going to keep influencing!

  11. Before I forget (again), one thing I’ve learned so far in Chicago is what “Da Bears” means. It means, among other things, a team that can blow a ten-point lead against the Browns in the final pre-season and end up losing by two in the closing minutes.

    Season’s just beginning. It’s a long shot, but maybe the bears will ride the Broncos in the Super Bowl. That’d be a sight to see.

  12. Both my girls inherited the bookworm gene from me. John doesn’t read (how did I marry a man who literally Does Not Read, I still wonder) but they do, non stop, all the time. But it’s not “reading” like I think of “reading.” The big one is reading manga on her iPod, the little one is addicted to books on tape. I guess this is an experiment to see what kind of reading is good reading. I guess we’ll have to see what happens.

    • Ha, girl in the hat, I think we are married to the same man.
      My husband doesn’t read at all either. I mean really…he hasn’t picked up a book in , well, ever. He can read, he does read, has to sometimes for work, and he had to for college, but what he does, is read so slowly that every single word he takes in he retains.

    • My husband didn’t used to read. But since he started driving long-distance, he’s read three (count ’em!) novels. I’m so excited, another convert, and am taking my role of book-recommender very seriously. If I screw up and send him off with a dud, I have a feeling it will all be over before I’ve gotten him fully indoctrinated.

        • Well, I started with Breath by Tim Winton, because it’s a coming-of-age story about a young surfer in Australia, where my husband surfed for a couple of months himself, back in the day. Then Joyland by Stephen King, and Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham, (which he gobbled up). At the moment he’s got The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, but I haven’t heard back with the verdict yet.

  13. A lot of the young kids I’ve known started out as happy readers but eventually lost that love to the siren call of the smart phone. The weird thing is, it’s like they don’t know or admit that they no longer read. One even said she “still reads, just on my phone.” But it’s just Facebook feeds and websites. I’m at a loss.

    • Yeah, that is weird, especially because they probably read more words per day than any other generation before them. You’d think they’d be into books more than ever, but I suppose it shakes down as it always has: some people are bookish, some are not.

  14. You’ve done something seriously right, if your boys are into reading. Usually, it’s the boys that struggle. My nephews and niece go to Steiner school, so my biggest frustration has been not being able to send them books they can enjoy. 9 years old and still can’t read. That drives me mad.