Raising a reader


When I was a kid, reading was pretty much the only way of spending free time. Of course, one could go outside or watch TV, or play with the dolls, which I duly did, but peering into a book was my top of the list. The library was just a couple of blocks away and I went there religiously, at least once a week: no wonder all the librarians knew me by the name and I was allowed to take home whichever books I wanted, including those you cannot take home. From adventure stories to the encyclopaedia of entomology, my reading range was quite impressive, it was like I could never have enough…

In my University years, I became a pickier reader: I had my favourites. Literature studies provided material for “broadening the horizons”, while my old friends were always close at hand for a cosy, relaxing time: rereading and rediscovering has become a new guilty pleasure of mine, and I have never pushed it as far as during my son’s first months when I could often be found sitting up in my bed in the middle of the night, breastfeeding, one arm wrapped around the baby and the free hand holding a smart phone…

I’m not sure if these breast-reading sessions are to blame, but one thing is clear: this boy is a real little bookworm. He has started early: at the age of 18 months he already had a library card of his own and at two, he’s a happy owner of 50-something books (and I didn’t count the magazines). His books are stored on the bottom shelf of the bookcase where he can pick them whenever he wants and I’m glad to see that he does reach for them, every day! His “passion for literature” often manifests itself in the evening and, although it has spoilt many of our TV nights, I keep encouraging him (and reading to him in whispers while we’re watching yet another film) because in my charts, the magic of the “blue screen” will never rank as high as the magic of a good book. I don’t know if his interest in books persists but he can count on me to keep them coming: it takes a library to raise a reader!

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