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 John from The Book Mine Set. 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”?
It’s interesting. A few Christmases back I gave my mom one of those sappy Chicken Soup books, for the Mother’s Soul I think. She was reading it one day when all of a sudden I saw her wiping away tears. Apparently there was a story about a woman who didn’t feel she had read enough to her own son and daughter when they were kids. My mom, for some reason, related to this story. Yet despite her not having any recollections of having read to me, I remember such times quite clearly. In particular I remember her reading from a Jumbo Book of Stories each night. There were animal stories, giant stories, superhero stories and more but my favourite was about a runaway lobster named Lester. I also remember going through Scholastic book orders with her. She was more keen on the classics (Charlotte’s Web, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and so on), while I wanted, but was never allowed to get, those lesser quality Scholastic knick-knacks and product books (Hot Wheels books, etc). I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but certainly do now.
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”?
Never been a reluctant reader. When did I consider myself a reader? Early. Kindergarten maybe?
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
Not interesting, but I did reread a lot more as a kid. Do you still have them now? I almost never reread books anymore.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
My room, I guess. I don’t recall. I do recall as a teenager reading Robinson Crusoe in one afternoon alone on a beach. That’s a favourite memory.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Charlotte’s Web, Bunnicula. Why? I was obsessed with animals as a kid. I wanted to be a vet so bad.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
I don’t really seek out books about animals anymore, I guess.
Stephen King in junior high– still my most read author. Then classic horror, then just classics in general. I don’t really seek out those any more. I’m more inclined to read non-genre fiction now. Though I mostly read Canadian. Recently I got into graphic novels.
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 read to them every night, we read side by side, I read to them while they were in their mom’s belly. I read in my spare time and they see that. I buy them books and magazines and comics. We keep a gazillion books at the house. My son isn’t quite as obsessed with reading as me and my daughter yet, but he’s still pretty keen on it.
I hope you enjoyed learning about John 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!