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Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Judy Blume, Karolyn Keene, Beverley Cleary, and Francine Pascal were some of the authors I read when I was in elementary school.

Fast forward thirty years and you’ll find my mini-me, Miss Q, reading Tui T. Sutherland, Erin Hunter, Dan Jolley, Chris Colfer and J.K. Rowling to name only five in her massive library.

The difference between me at nine and Miss Q at nine? Genre.

Where my cherished couldn’t-wait-to-read books were close to real life fiction: friendship, mystery, and twin sisters trying to navigate high school.  Miss Q’s cherished must reads centre on fantasy. From the dragons of Wings of Fire, to the cats in the Warrior series, she is hooked. So hooked, I’m contemplating filling a wheelbarrow with books and leaving it under the Christmas tree.

I’ve always wanted my girls to love literature. Always followed my mum’s prescription of as long as they’re reading I don’t care what they read. So it makes me very happy to see Miss Q curled up with a book.

But I never considered my favourites wouldn’t be her favourites.

Enter my husband, the original D ‘n D (Dungeons & Dragon). Like me, he’s held onto a stack of books from his childhood. Like me, he’s always thought one day his children might want to read them.

Well guess what? When it comes to our eldest daughter, he was right.

Currently, Miss Q is plowing her way through Lord Of The Rings after finishing the Hobbit last week.

I still haven’t finished the Lord Of The Rings trilogy after starting it, oh, fifteen years ago.

Psychologists say after year one, fathers are the most important influencers on a child’s life. While this statement feels like a slight to me, the woman who birthed, nursed and hung out in the wee hours of the morning with our offspring, as I watch Miss Q and her father interact, sigh, I know it’s true: at the core of their twinned dragon hearts live souls of elf warriors.

Better luck next child, Nancy Drew, Super Fudge, and Anne with an ‘e’.

But even though Miss Q hasn’t bought into what I would have chosen for her, I really can’t grumble. I was the one who introduced her to Harry Potter, the portkey into the fantastical worlds now calling to her.

My nine-year-old’s eyes dance as she describes the inner workings of plots I’ve never dreamed of writing and my husband nods fondly, encouraging her to go on.  I listen, trying not to be the third wheel in their love language of orcs, healers and rangers, finding comfort in this quote by George R. R. Martin:

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

So read on, Miss Q. Read on. Don’t let anyone, especially your mother’s nostalgia, hold you back.

gHere is Miss Q’s current must-have reading list in no particular order:

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Relief.  I hate feeling relieved when a story is over, like I was reading it just to say I’d finished it, when the reality is: I wasn’t really reading, just sort of skimming, hoping something will catch and reel me back into the novel.

Don’t get me wrong, A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon started off promising, but somewhere along the way it lost its oomph.  Maybe it was because the story was too common; the characters weren’t surprising.  Or maybe, it lost my interest because it took me two months (maybe three) to finish the dang book.

That’s the problem with young ‘uns under foot.  The time I have to sink into a good story is hovering near zero these days.

Sure, I could read while Miss S nurses, but she objects to anything around her head while she eats.  Besides the fact: attempting to read a book from my library is completely out of the question when Miss Q is awake.  So, nursing time finds Miss Q holding her books; me reading.

I don’t mind this arrangement as, in the words of my mother: reading is reading.  It’s been a blast reliving the magic of Peter Rabbit, the charm of Chrysanthemum, and the reality of Frances. But if I want to write for a living, I need to keep an eye on what is currently in adult publications.

Enter: my birthday.  Armed with one of my favourite presents of all time: gift certificates to Bolens, I embarked on a shopping spree of diverse proportions.

There is nothing more delicious than wandering the aisles of a bookstore.  The smell of new books, mixed with the unknown life that lurks between each cover is enough to lose me for hours.

Before children, I would slowly wander the aisles, plucking from the shelves: books written by my favourite authors or books with colourful covers or books with interesting titles.  Sometimes I read the back cover, sometimes the first page to get a feel for the writing style. But it always came down to: did the book speak to me?

With children, the process hasn’t changed, it’s become more efficient.

The books that speak to me the loudest are the ones I take home.  Here are the ones that leapt off the shelf:

  • The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule.  About her real life friendship with Ted Bundy.  There’s something about true crime that fascinates and terrifies me.  I love reading her books, but with the lights on and husband home.
  • The Household Guide To Dying, by Debra Adelaide.  Fiction. An advice columnist finds herself dying.  We’ll see if it holds up to the tantalizing summary on the jacket.
  • The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano.  Fiction about misfits who befriend each other.  I kept passing this book, picking it up, reading it, then putting it back on the shelf.  Finally, it wore me down.
  • The Notebook of Madame B, Desire, by Madame B.  Hey, I’m 33, I’m allowed.  I had to balance the true crime with something… and reading is reading!

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Miss Q loves her books.  She doesn’t doesn’t discriminate, neither do we.  These are the books we read to her throughout this bright Thursday:

The Berenstain Bears’ and the Trouble with Chores by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The only problem?  When Sister Bear points to a dog mess on the rug, and says, “I know it’s my week to clean up Little Lady’s calling cards.  It’s just that I’m waiting for them to dry.  They’ll be easier to scoop that way.”  Grodie-to-the-max.

Christmas Angel by Quinlan B. Lee

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a puppy and learns about Christmas.  Miss Q is up for Clifford any time of the year.

Grover, Messenger of Love by Patricia Thackray

Grover does tasks for star-crossed lovers.  Unlike Romeo and Juliet, this one has a happy ending; though poor Grover is put through the ringer.  Smooch to Grover.

Cars: A Day at the Races by Frank Berrios

Lightning McQueen returns to Radiator Springs and starts up a racing school.  No mention of his girlfriend Sally – did they break up?  Best part about the book is getting to say, “Ka-chow!”

Cars: Night Vision by Dennis “Rocket” Shealy

Lightning, Mater and Sherif meet Gudmund and learn how to spelunk.  Wish I had night-vision goggles.

The Berenstain Bears’ and the Week at Grandma’s by Stan and Jan Berenstain

This book actually helped me feel better about leaving Miss Q, on the rare occasions we have to have someone watch her.  (Another topic for another entry.)  Not sure I was the target audience when Stan and Jan wrote the book.

The Berenstain Bears’ and the New Baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Let’s just say, having Brother and Papa leave the house to make Brother a new bed; and returning to find a new baby sister, wasn’t exactly what we were looking for in baby-prep books.  But Miss Q enjoys it.

Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

Fantastic.  Miss Q adores airplanes.  It explains matter-of-factly about them, but in a nice cartoonish, easy to read style.  Two thumbs up from everybody in our household.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

A classic.  Love it.  Miss Q loves it too – especially when Alexander says he’s going to Australia.  She often beats me to the punch.

Hugs and Kisses by Christophe Loupy

A cute story about a puppy who wanders around asking different animals to kiss him.  In the end, he realizes his mama’s kiss is the best.  Miss Q could have told him that; spared him kissing a pig.

This was an average day’s read.  We’ve never pushed reading on her, she just genuinely loves having stories read to her.  There are so many stories I can’t wait for her to discover, and one day, too soon, she will.

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