Posted weekly on Tuesdays, Reading Roots features a variety of book bloggers talking about their early reading influences and experiences, letting us catch a glimpse of the “roots” that each person has built upon in forming their identity as “a reader”.
Today, I’m interviewing Aths from Reading On A Rainy Day. Let’s explore her reading roots!
What is your earliest memory involving books or reading? How were books, reading, and literacy approached in your childhood home? Were your parents or other family members “readers”?
I grew up watching my mom and dad read. Not necessarily fiction. It could be magazines, newspaper, cookbooks, etc, but it was a powerful sight that stuck with me. Because of that, I got the notion that reading in a normal activity and not something nerds do (as I have been told countless times by those who mock the readers). Sometimes, the TV might be switched on at home, but my parents would still be reading – both of them perched on their chairs with their reading glasses. During those days, I read but not like the voracious reader I am today. It was with a perfunctory attitude. And then my mom chided me once making an example of a cousin of mine who started reading at age 3 – I don’t know if it’s true, but that got me real jealous, LOL. Being the competitive person that I am, I couldn’t let that rest. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Did you enjoy language arts/English classes as a kid, or were you more of a reluctant reader? When did you first consider yourself “a reader”?
I don’t know when I first saw myself as a reader. I remember always reading, though it didn’t start out quite as voracious as it became later. English was always my favorite class. I considered it a personal insult if I never scored well or if the teacher never noticed me – yeah, I was that nerdy. To this day, I wish I had pursued a major in English. I’m not how it would have turned out, but I am keeping my options open for future classes in “artsy” fields.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I went through a phase during my teenage years when I was smitten by romance novels (read, erotic romance novels). Apparently, an aunt of mine did the same. She had a stack of Mills and Boons in her room in a box, which was off-limits to her daughters and me, and any “kid”. So we pretended not to know of its existence. When the adults were out or busy, one of my cousins and I locked ourselves in her room and read through the books. We were so shy we kept the graphic details in each book to ourselves and then recommended the books (and the specific pages) to each other. LOL! I don’t know what happened to those books now, but my cousin and I have a laugh reminiscing about those days. And nop, I don’t do that anymore, I no longer worry about hiding my books.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I always loved reading on a couch or a bed. I still do, though I’m guilty of falling asleep sometimes too.
I remember devouring the Nancy Drew books. I so wanted to be like her that I imagined mysteries in my head. She was my heroine growing up.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
As a teen, I was into mysteries. I read them left, right and center. Once I reached high school, it was suspense books and thrillers, like those by Sidney Sheldon and Jeffery Archer. Of course, I also read romance at this time (as I mentioned in my answer to Question 3). I had a small cupboard in my room where I hid those books from my parents. Now I can’t stand romance.
Later on, courtroom novels became my passion. I absolutely went gaga over Perry Mason books. I loved the way this lawyer argued cases. At that point, I went through a brief period when all I wanted to be was a lawyer. And then, abruptly, I dropped mysteries, and moved on to chick-lit. And now, it is the more mature books, especially the socially themed ones, though I read all kinds of books. I like to say I’ve gone all around the spectrum, and that has built in me a really eclectic taste in books.
Bonus Literacy Question: If you have children, how did you encourage them (or how are you encouraging them) to become readers? If you do not have children of your own, what do you think is the most important thing to focus on in order to promote reading in the coming generations?
I don’t have children, but many of my friends and cousins do. There’s nothing that excites me more than watching a kid read. I almost have an insane desire to jump and tell the child that I did the same growing up. I believe the most important thing to focus on, based on the issues we see nowadays, is to make sure children grew up aware of the diversity around them. The younger they are when exposed to multiculturalism, they lesser chance there is for any racism. It’s hard reading debates of white-washing and books by people of color stacked somewhere behind in bookstores, knowing that if we don’t do something today, starting with the youngest generation, we are likely not going to solve this issue any time soon.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Aths as much as I did! If you haven’t read her blog before, I suggest that you go take a look.
See you next week for a look into the “roots” of another fantastic blogger!