Thursday, April 1, 2010

Weekly Geeks - The Birth of a Reader



Weekly Geeks is a weekly book meme in which a question is posed to get bibliophiles blogging about a specific book related topic. I don't always remember to check Weekly Geeks and I'm not always inspired to answer the questions, but this week's question brought to mind a life changing moment in my life.


For this week's Weekly Geek installment, we're asked "to think back to the moment when you realized "I am a reader!"


I can remember this moment vividly. I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade. I had made a new friend, Kim, who always seemed to have an interesting book in her desk. I asked her about the source of these books and she replied that she got them at the public library. What? The public library? I knew about the school library - we had weekly library time- but I didn't know anything about the public library. (Not exactly sure why my parents never introduced this free public institution to my brother and me. It may have had something to do with being young and unsophisticated and simply being focused on making ends meet. Truthfully, I don't think it ever occurred to them). Anyway, I asked my mom if she would take me to the library. Next thing I knew I was standing in the children's room of my town library and the kind librarian was showing me around. I was awestruck. I couldn't believe that such a heavenly place existed. And I could take out as many books as I wanted. The choices were limitless. I can picture this moment so clearly. The sun coming in the window above the low bookcase against the wall. I can see my ten year old self choosing a Katie John book (does anyone remember this series by Mary Calhoun) and taking it to the desk and checking it out with my brand new library card. I had always enjoyed reading and as cash strapped as my parents were, I was always allowed to purchase books from the monthly Scholastic book order. But it was this moment, this defining moment, when the world of books and reading was revealed to me. My options were limitless. The world was my oyster. I was a Reader, with a capital R.


19 comments:

Sandy said...

Nice story and a great recollection for you. I was an early reader and remember reading the "See Spot Run" series in the 1st grade. I remember devouring every Nancy Drew book in the 3rd grade room, even after I left it, and a series of biographies in 6th grade but I don't remember one defining moment when I knew I was a reader. When I was 11 my parents bought a set of World Book encyclopedias on an installment plan. A MAJOR investment back then in a similarly cash-strapped family and I started to read each volume from beginning to end! Can you say nerd?

Jen said...

Such a sweet and touching story, Pam! I'm glad you chose to blog about it!

Sadly, I can't remember when I first realized I was a reader, but gladly, I think that's because I was before I could even read! I always remember my parents reading to me as a child, and my mother tells me that she had taught me how to read before I was enrolled in kindergarten, so I guess I became a reader back then!

Rebecca Jo said...

Love that... makes me think back to going to the library when I was little... loved everything about it!

Anita said...

I love this story. My siblings left old Dick and Jane books(you know with Sally) at our home, and I know it's hard to believe but I actually have pre-school memories of me wanting to read those. In school we had a small library, but my highlight was the bookmobile that came from the public library........I would check out all the books I could carry. I was an avid reader very young, and I remember sneaking to the drug store to by paperbooks when I was a pre-teen........ones my mom would consider racy or inappropriate!

nan said...

I too was in 5th grade! We had an individualized reading program and one day I discovered that I was in the top 5 readers in the class, tearing through books *I* got to choose as fast as I could. I knew then that I could read WHATever, WHENever I could. Reading opened up new story lines and feelings in my heart and brain. What a gift.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

I remember the days when my kids were little (there were 5 of them). My mother in law and her sister offered to come over a couple of times and relieve me so I could have some me time. Every time, I headed straight to the library and sat in the quiet reading or slowly in wide eyed wonder at the possibilites they held, walked through all the isles looking at all those books. My MIL thought I'd go shopping or have my nails done. No way. Not when there was a public library for me to visit!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

My mom and dad both read to us; I can remember walking to the library with them (maybe about half a mile) when I was so little I could barely keep up. (We're talking over 60 years ago now). I honestly can't remember a time since childhood when I wasn't reading at least one book. And we read to our kids -- the one thing I know for sure I did right in life! -- and they read to theirs! I still love libraries.

Christine said...

Gosh I wish I can remember the same moment for myself, but I can't. I suppose for me it's not remembering a time when I wasn't a reader. Though, I will say I do have a very vivid memory of a day, when I was around 10 like you, that I was home sick from school. It was the very first time I ever read a chapter book, start to finish all in the same day. In fact, I read two!

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

I just had to add one more comment. When I get a great book and get into it, I literally put everything else aside that I can't do whilst actually reading the book. I'll fake sick if I have to, nothing can stop me once I find and get into the plot of a great book. My family calls me "an irresponsible reader".

MissKris said...

My moment was when I was around the same age. It was a warm summer morning...I'd just come home from the library with an armload of books. I plopped them all down on the bed, plopped down on my stomach next to them with a big apple in hand, sunlight streaming down on me thru the window, and thinking, "Boy, which one do I read first?" and thinking what a treasure I had!

Julie said...

I could "see" your moment and it gave me chills! Loved it.

Saint Dolores said...

Hi new here

Just wanted to say your post kept pushing all these mental pictures and memories into my head, and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks

Star Forbis said...

I Love this post. That moment for me, it was when I read Little Women for the first time when I was a little girl. (I reread it as a teenager, & many times as an adult!)

injaynesworld said...

I remember being hooked on the Nancy Drew books as a child, too. From then on, I've always loved to read. How are you liking the new Lorrie Moore novel. I made it about halfway through and just couldn't connect.

croneandbearit said...

I believe my a-ha reading epiphany happened in second grade when my father and stepmonster finally realized (another story for another day) I was failing school because I COULDN'T SEE! Gah...glasses literally opened my world and I discovered books and the rest is bibliophile history. Now you can't get my nose out of them!

Anonymous said...

I remember the day when I became a reader (literally). When I was in kindergarten and first grade, I was in the lowest reading group at school. I just didn't "get it." Then one afternoon at home, I simply picked up my reading book from school and read the whole thing. Something clicked that day, and it was SUCH a thrill. It was like suddenly finding out that you can fly!
-- Amy S.

MissKris said...

I've made it a habit to visit the blog just before mine on BPOTW and say hello...and isn't it funny yours is just before mine this week, haha! Since I already commented before I'll just say howdy and hope you're enjoying your weekend so far. We're celebrating my youngest grandson's 2nd birthday today so I'll be browsing the aisles of ToysRUs in a couple of hours. Gotta stock up on trucks for the back yard!

Brenda said...

When I was 15 and read 50 books in one summer. Serious reading addiction!

Visiting from BPOTW

Sue Jackson said...

Hi, Pam - I'm just trying to catch up after a 10-day vacation...I;m up to the P's on my blog reading but still have over 400 unread e-mails!!

What a great topic!

First...I LOVED KATIE JOHN!!! That was one of my all-time favorite books when I was a kid, and I still have it on my shelf upstairs! I've never heard anyone else mention it.

I became a reader very early. There's a classic photo of me in our family sitting on my potty chair at about age 3 reading The Cat in the Hat. But I really became a reader when my Mom taught me to read before I went to kindergarten. That seminal book? Go, Dog, Go! Still a classic and a favorite of mine!

Sue

 

Blog Design By Lindsey Joy Design © All Rights Reserved.