This is a trending topic on Twitter, but I’m hesitant to participate. When I think back on my childhood I know I read. A lot, in fact! But what did I read? I remember Cordouroy and Paddington from when I was young. More importantly, I remember that my mom, older sister, and younger brother would gather together at night to read bedtime stories together.
As I got older I read the classics like Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer, and A Tale of Two Cities. I read these at home, books I owned, not at school.
I don’t remember reading much in middle school either…. Flowers for Algernon, Of Mice and Men, and The Diary of Anne Frank were all assigned in my 8th grade English class. On my own I read a lot of King and Koontz.
By high school I read very little beyond what was assigned. Unless you count magazines… I wasn’t a big fan of most of what was assigned. Catch 22 and 1984 were tolerable. I despised most of the other books. Through self-selection, I developed an appreciation for Faulkner, however. I read The Sound and the Fury in both the 10th and 12th grades for self-selection assignments. I mimicked his style for a writing assignment in a college writing course. How can you not like reading about families way more dysfunctional than your own?
But the book I grew up with? The one that made the biggest impact? The one I loved the most? The one that somehow shaped me into the reader I am today? I really can’t say.
If forced, I’d probably have to say the big treasury of stories we read from at night. My time with my mom, sister, and brother. More for the experience than the stories themselves. I always loved those times and cherished spending that same quality time with my own children as they were growing up, no matter what it was that we read.