Reading Roots: Lee from I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?

July 19, 2011

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 Lee from I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?. 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”?

I remember staring at the climactic “dog party” page in P.D. Eastman’s “Go, Dog. Go!” and thinking that once I could read for myself, all these fabulous worlds would open up to me.  And I was right!

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 always loved reading, and would often lose myself in books (mainly fantasy, often Anne McCaffrey) when my family was doing things that didn’t hold my interest. There’s a photo of me sitting on the floor of an art gallery, reading, that I love because it is so real.

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

I used to stay up all night to finish a book, with the flashlight under the covers. I’d hear my Dad get up around 4 am, and I’d fumble the light and stash the book away, pretending to be asleep…  And then I had trouble getting up in the morning. I don’t do that anymore, but I do consider getting to read a book straight through (even with breaks for sleeping) a wonderful treat!

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

For me it wasn’t where I was reading a book as much as where the book could take me. I read “Dune” by Frank Herbert nine times – once a year for nine years, from 11 to 19, and each time it offered me more to enjoy and think about.

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

I really wished there had been some gay characters in the books I read growing up, but there really were none.  So much of my reading (and writing) today is to heal that inner child that I was. – reading (and blogging about) the GLBTQ books for kids and teens that exist today.  Those books tell me, and all the kids and teens of yesterday, today and tomorrow that there is a place for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning kids and teens in our books.  And if there’s a place for us in books, we can believe there’s a place for us in this world.  And that changes everything.

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 husband and I read with our daughter every day, and as a family we talk about how important stories are.  We were in the supermarket today and the bagger had a tattoo on his leg of The Count of Monte Cristo, and we had a big discussion about how that book was so important to him that he got the character tattooed on his body to always be reminded of it.  Hopefully, the lesson she got from that was books are awesome and important, rather than wishing she could get a Stuart Little tattoo…

I hope you enjoyed learning about Lee 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!

One Comment

  • Mary Fagan July 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    What a great post! Everyone loves to remember their childhood reads. Yes, I come from a long line of readers and the grandkids are following suit. But I gotta tell ya…after pre-school years filled with the likes of George MacDonald and Robert Lewis Stevenson, “See Dick run” was a crashing disappointment.

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