I have been very lucky that since I was a child my parents have instilled the love for books and reading. My dad was already retired when I was born so he played an important role in raising me and I still remember him reading books on physics (and specialistic magazines on astronomy as well as computing). My mom was the one working every day and commuting and she loves reading and writing. Her commutes were a great time for her to get some time for herself and to read. Thanks to her work, one of the bonuses was that`1 she would get money in vouchers to spend in certain places, one of these was a bookstore in the city where she was working. It was always an exciting time when she was getting this voucher because she started taking me with her to buy the books for her and me. Oh! The books, the smell of that bookstore, paper and glue, the quiet buzz of people going there to buy stories but also to be in a serene environment away from the craziness of the city centre. I always enjoyed these visits and my mom never put limits on what we could buy (in terms of genre) and I think that’s a very positive way of educating kids as when you start imposing limits you’ll see that things like a taboo and eventually you might lose interest. Also, my little girl’s mind wasn’t going to be limited to “girly” books and if I were to choose an adventure or horror book, my mom would let me take it.
Now. You might think “But you are a librarian! You shouldn’t buy books, but you should go to the library!” I feel you, I really do and I wouldn’t agree with going to bookstores just for the sake of it, especially after my studies in Librarianship and having been working in a library for 4 years, I know that bringing kids to a library, making them understand the whole concept of borrowing things and then returning them. But these are peculiar situations: my mom was working till late and there was a small library in the village where we used to live with such reduced opening times that it was impossible for my mom to take me there; plus, the money was from the company my mom used to work for. So it’s almost a situation of “taking from the rich to give to the poor” kind of thing XD
On a Sunday we would all be reading something and it was such a relaxing time providing a break from the weekly madness of school visiting relatives and trying not to be bullied by schoolmates and the same relatives.
Reading has always been a pleasure. Except for those times when at school they forced us to read some authors or some books that I found utterly obnoxious – the authors – or extremely depressing – the books -: that was when teachers wanted people to read only those books that were deemed respectable enough: no comic books, manga, no Dork Diaries etc.
At the beginning of the school year, I would have been the second one to have read more books during the summer: no need to force me into reading. I would prefer the company of those fictional characters or learning about different species of animals to play with the other children. And that would also apply to holidays: every time we were going on holiday, whether for a few days or weeks, I had to bring with e AT LEAST ONE book: there would always be space for a book in my luggage. Probably now this is even more relevant because I tend to travel alone and having a book with me it means I am not really alone (not that I mind being by myself, but you know what I mean). It doesn’t matter where I go or for how long I am away, there has to be a book with me.
Benefits of Reading
Reading brings you to other words, it helps you develop more sensitivity and empathy when you read fiction, and it teaches you new things or strengthens your knowledge obviously, it might be that a book isn’t suitable for you (it happened that I couldn’t finish a book because it wasn’t for me or that I finished one but leaving me disappointed). This means that when you choose a book you’ll have to be careful because you’ll get into that world with those characters and you will be together for a bit. It is understandable when people tell me: “I don’t like to read, I look at the page and my mind goes blank” and I think that that’s because you haven’t found the right book. Yet. And with the book, I mean anything that is written because we are not all the same (otherwise the word would be pretty boring). Probably you have tried to read a fantasy while you actually would prefer romance, or you have been advised to read a history book when it is the latest anime that would make you happy. This is also part of the problem of the divide between readers and non-readers: some readers are too judgemental toward those who don’t read or what they read which makes the non-readers lose the will to read. We are all different and the main message here is we are all different: read, READ, read whatever catch your curiosity, whatever tickles your brain, because that will help you develop vocabulary, and grammar, it will help you relieve stress and more.
One of the books I read recently was the fifth book of “The Invisible Library” series which is not what you would expect. A beautiful fantasy with the main character a librarian but she’s a spy as well, if you want something fast-paced, with mysteries and intrigues, dragons and Faes and multi-worlds set in different periods in time, then this is for you. I always recommend it because Genevieve Cogman (the author) never fails to write a compelling story. Nice and easy read (might do a little review some time!).
Reading is one of the pleasures of life. Getting into other lives, other stories, learning new things. Don’t get discouraged by your past experiences and read all that you can.