Growing up reading, reading, reading

20 Aug

Reading is reading is reading. As long as you’re reading, that’s what counts, right? In my own world, I remember growing up with books. My parents weren’t college-educated, but they loved reading and that love naturally passed to their six children, well, most of us.

My earliest books were the Little Golden Books..books like The Little Red Hen, The Poky Little Puppy, My Little Golden Book About God; and The Little Engine that Could. My mom also read Bible stories to us regularly: stories like David and Goliath, Moses, Joseph, and the list goes on and on.

When I learned to read using the Dick and Jane readers, a series widely used from the 1930’s through the 1970’s, my world expanded rapidly from the little farmhouse in the Ozarks. My parents read a rural weekly newspaper, The Grit. Articles were short and wholesome, so my parents gladly let us read it from cover to cover. An older woman whom my mom befriended gave us a four-volume set of Bible stories. I picked up Volume 1 and didn’t stop until I had finished the last story in the last volume. The writer of that series made those old biblical stories come alive.

I also recall several hard-back novels that my mom said had belonged to my grandmother. I read the titles and from time to time started to read them. I remember clearly Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan though I can’t really say I finished that one.

About that time, we got library cards and during the summer, my mom would take us to the library. We each could check out four books. That summer, I read the entire Nancy Drew collection and a few Hardy Boys as well. My love of mysteries continues today.

My first big novel I read was Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I impressed my father with this since Gone with the Wind had been the first movie he had seen. One of my forever favorites was Snow in the River by Carol Ryrie Brink. The characters in that book were so real, I found myself laughing and crying. Just writing about it had me searching Amazon to order a copy and re-read it.

As a teenager, I took The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty with me on a babysitting job. After the four kids were in bed asleep, I read myself into a nightmare and remember being only too glad when the parents arrived after midnight and took me home. I’m still not a huge fan of horror movies or books.

I could go on and on, thinking about the worlds I learned about through reading. Recently, though, I realized I had all but stopped reading. The stacks of books under my bed and on my bedside table had dwindled to a couple, and I realized I was spending more and more time on Facebook or on my iPhone. I was still reading….but my reading was now blogs or tidbits about friends. And yes, I would like an iPad (in case husband reads this and needs Christmas ideas) and probably will make the transition to reading solely from ebooks one day.

For now, though, I want the rain to fall along with the temperatures (we’ve had 20-plus days of 100-degrees or higher) and I want to grab a favorite book or a new one and journey onward.


4 Responses to “Growing up reading, reading, reading”

  1. Mary Drennon August 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I, like you, find myself reading less and less these days. I try to read by taking a book to bed, and pass out within about 10 minutes of reading it. I miss it! I read all of the Nancy Drew series, and the Hardy Boys, and read so many great books when I was younger. I also taught my son to read, but he, too, hardly ever can be found lounging with a good book.

    I think our bodies weren’t designed to sit in front of screens and read all the time. I miss reading! Thanks for bringing back fond memories!

    • sheilatstc August 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      Yes, this was a fun one to write, remembering (and looking up a few) wonderful books from the past. Glad it awakened similar memories in you!

  2. Karen Mitchell Smith August 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    This brought back memories,Sheila. I was the kind of kid who read the back of the cereal box while I ate breakfast! I well remember Grit. And I read all if the Nancy drew and Hardy Boy books the summer of sixth grade. My first big novel? Gone With the Wind. Thanks for reminding me of those lazy summer days in the backyard glider with a great book.

    • sheilatstc August 23, 2010 at 7:25 am #

      Thanks, Karen. I was reading this from my iPhone, and your comment about the cereal boxes sent my husband down memory lane. He remembered one such box offering an inch of Alaska by sending in boxtops. He couldn’t remember the cereal…lol

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