Reading Roots: Jenny from Two and A Half Book Lovers

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 Jenny from Two and A Half Book Lovers. 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 remember my mother made every Thursday library day, and I looked forward to it every week. I was initially allowed 5 books, then 10, and finally my mother just threw up her hands and said I could take out as many as I wanted.  The first real novel I read was Anne of Green Gables, which my mother handed to me as a 5 year old kindergartener. I barely understood most of it, but I made it through and it soon became a favorite.

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 guess, sure, that I enjoyed them, at least the reading part, although I hated any grammer lessons. In high school I read a lot of classics, so that worked out all right for me, but I learned to hate Hemingway, and Great Expectations (Dickens) although everything else by Dickens is glorious. Later when I was older and working as a librarian, mothers would come to me upset because their child’s reading skills were so poor. My biggest piece of advice was to find something they loved to read and have them read every day. The grammar and spelling will come as a side benefit.

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

I love to literally curl up with a book. If it’s a classic, I sometimes use a paperback edition so I can take notes in the margins, but for the most part I just read it straight through. I’m a fan of something like hot cocoa close by, and of course that’s continued from childhood.

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

The car. I KNOW! But I never got carsick, and we moved an awful lot. So, I learned quickly to always have a book in the car. It drove my mother nuts, but I read more books that way than any other. I also love to read in bed. I can’t do the car thing anymore, but I still enjoy a chapter or two before dozing off.

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

My mother is an avid reader with a particular penchant for classics. Because of that, I read all the  children’s classics first –  The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and then as I got older, the ‘real’ classics;
Dickens, Alcott, Austen, the Bronte sisters, Dumas, etc. I didn’t know there was anything besides classics in the fiction section for years. Then one day in high school all my friends were gone and I didn’t want to eat lunch alone. So I scarfed down my food and went up to the library. I found the fiction section and with it science fiction, fantasy, etc. I was hooked. Favorites from that time were Avi, Patricia Wrede, Lloyd Alexander, and John Christopher’s Tripod series. Now I read everything – classics that continue
to call me, plenty of YA (which in my opinion beats out adult fiction most days), and some juvenile as well (Try the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan.). Of course, there’s some non-fiction in there, but that’s mostly cook 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?

My son is 2 1/2 and reads voraciously. This is because of two things – 1) my husband and I read a lot and he sees us doing it over and over. 2) We read to him a lot. After awhile he got hooked, and now we’ll have days where we read him upwards of 20 picture books.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Jenny 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!

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