Reading Roots: Stella from Ex Libris

February 1, 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 Stella from Ex Libris. 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 have three very distinct memories:

1) the first was when I was still in kindergarten around 4 I had these amazing fairy tale books with 3D castles and characters popping up as you turned the pages, loved it 😀

2) when I was around 5-6 when my dad brought home as gift from his trip in Belgium a French book for me, and he read to me the story in French then translated so I could understand it, and I was amazed what a beautiful language French was and vowed that I will learn how to speak it one day (and I did!)

3) in my first year after I started school I received my very first novel from my godmother: it was a crazy story about one red dotted horse and another lime green coloured, but this was the very first book I read completely alone. The font was huge lol 😀

My parents always encouraged my reading, both my grandparents and my mom read a lot, and I always asked for books for birthdays and Christmas from my parents and godmother 🙂

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”?

Oh I LOVED it! Literature was one of my favourite class at school! I always loved to read and couldn’t get enough. Ever since I learned how to read (I learned quite early, around the time I turned 5) I’ve always considered myself a voracious reader.

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

My parents gave up grounding me for staying up well past bedtime and reading till dawn since it happened too often, and I always managed to slip under their radar. I even used to read by the light of the streetlamp outside my window (so that the light from my room wouldn’t be suspicious lol 😉 To this day I can forget myself in a story and stay up until 2-4 am even if I have to get up to go to work the next day. (of course I’m quite a zombie, but at least I finsihed my book ;-p)

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

In huge armchairs! To this day I like to curl up in an armchair and read for hours there. When I wa teen we had a great comfy chair in a glass veranda, loved to read there where I could see the sky and the garden 🙂

I remember those 3 books already mentioned above, and a lot of others: usually the story is the same with my favourite childhood books: I saw them either at my older cousin’s or older friends’ house and begged them to lend it to me. They didn’t want since “I was too little/young for it”, but in the end I succeeded in convincng them and I always LOVED the book! That’s how I read An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and the Sissi books. To this day they remain some of my favourite books!

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

When I was about 10 I loved to read Alexandre Dumas novels, then in high school I had an Agatha Christie and Nora Roberts phase (romance novels were a taboo at home, my mom found them trashy, so when my best friend introduced me to Nora Roberts, I found my guilty pleasure :-p), at the end of university I had a classics phase, read everything from Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell and other Victorian authors, in 2008 I discovered the urban fantasy and paranormal universe and then this year I discovered erotica. So now I read anything i’m in the mood for 🙂

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 think it is extremely important to expose them to books and stories from very early on. I will tell them bedtime tales and buy them funny, colourful, interactive and exciting books. I think everyone is a reader they just have to figure out what kind of book is for them. I will encourage my children to read anything and everything they are interested in. Reading ensues great thought provoking discussions, and I can’t wait to share that with my future children too, just the way my parents and especially my dad did with me.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Stella 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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