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 Lenore from Presenting Lenore. 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 don’t remember a time when we weren’t reading. Both my parents loved to read, so we had books everywhere. I learned to read (and to hoard) book very early!
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 loved English class until 7th grade when I had a teacher who tried her best to get me to hate it. She had these multiple choice opinion tests about the book we were reading, so for example, when we read Dickens A CHRISTMAS CAROL, she would ask “How do you think Scrooge felt when ….” and then she would mark our answers as wrong if we thought differently than she did! Fortunately, I had the most wonderful 8th grade English teacher who renewed my love of reading.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
One of my favorite books as a child was the condensed illustrated version of THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS by James Fenimore Cooper. Though he played a small role, I loved Uncas and I was devastated when he was killed. So much so that I developed a rather bad habit as a coping mechanism: I would read 1 or 2 chapters of a book and then I would read the last few pages to make sure there was a happily ever after. If there wasn’t, I stopped reading. I wasn’t going to invest anymore time on characters who would die on me. The habit stayed with me for a few years until I got addicted to fairy tales. Traditional fairy tales often have brutal endings so they cured me of my need for a HEA, oddly enough.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I would read anywhere and everywhere, but my most vivid memories are of reading at night with a flashlight under my covers. I remember many books from my childhood because I read them way too early. In 3rd grade, I was already reading at high school level, so I would pick up big fat books of my mother’s like SACAJAWEA by Anna Lee Waldo (over 1300 pages!) and freak out over certain adult content.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
Well, there was my illustrated classics phase, my fairy tale phase, my Babysitters Club/Sweet Valley High/series books phase, my sappy teen romance phase and my paranormal phase. (I wrote about these phases more in depth here). In high school, I read a lot of sci-fi and classic novels, and in college I read mainly short stories.
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?
Giving children both access to books and to adults who love to read.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Lenore 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!