Reading Roots: Darren from Bart’s Bookshelf

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 Darren from Bart’s Bookshelf. Let’s explore his 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”?

My earliest memory involving books, involves correcting my teacher for reading a line wrong!

I’d have been about 5 or 6 at the time and we were allowed to each bring a book into school, which the teacher then read aloud to the class.

The book I took along was The Town and the Country Mouse, and I obviously knew it by heart, because when my teacher read a line out slightly differently, I was horrified!

I loved books as a kid (still do, obviously) and my habit was always encouraged, Santa always left a book on my bed (to encourage me not to get up to early!) and me and my mother were regular visitors to our local library.

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’d say I always ‘enjoyed’ English classes, but I rarely ‘loved’ them. My favourite type of books at the time, generally weren’t the ones we read in class, and I wasn’t really the structured type of reader. If I was enjoying a book I just wanted to read it, not having to keep pace with the class.

As you can probably guess from my answer to the first question, I’ve been a ‘reader’ just about as long as I can remember.

Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?

Reading habits? Well, I tended to read in bed the most, that has probably moved more to me reading the most on my commute to work and back.

Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?

The big books I can still remember from by childhood would be both The Famous Five and Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton, I devoured them, just about as quick as could get hold of them. I them remember reading a lot of The Hardy Boys and even some Nancy Drew.

How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?

The next big phase I can remember going through was epic fantasy series by the likes of David Eddings and Raymond E Fiest, and not forgetting the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

Even now, while I tend to read a wider range of books, the books I tend to fall in love with the most have some fantasy element in there somewhere, books like Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness, Neil Gaiman’s books, or even two of my favourite books from last year Green Angel and Green Witch by Alice Hoffman, all have themes or elements that can be traced back to my teenage love of fantasy 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?

Encouragement. Show just how much fun books can be, in your own reading life, be enthused if you read a good one. I don’t think it’s something that can be forced. Just make sure there are lots of opportunities for kids to pick up books in their own time and way. Every book I’ve ever been made to read, even if I’ve Iiked it, I’ve never liked it as much as one I’ve picked up, because I wanted to.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Darren as much as I did! If you haven’t read his blog before, I suggest that you go take a look.

See you next week for a look into the “roots” of another fantastic blogger!

4 thoughts on “Reading Roots: Darren from Bart’s Bookshelf”

  1. Aww, I love the bit about Santa leaving a book on his pillow to encourage him not to get up early. I may have to steal that for my kids when I have them someday.

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