Have you always been an avid reader or is it a newly acquired habit? I’ve been an avid reader since I first encountered Dick and Jane in first grade. But my love of books goes back even further. My earliest memory involves sitting on a baby blanket in the sun with my mother, surrounded by books. I don’t remember all of the books but do recall two – Nurse Nancy and The Gingerbread Man – because they were two of the first books I read by myself.
Two recent events have me thinking a lot about the books I read – and loved – as a child. First, I was sitting in a favorite restaurant enjoying a leisurely brunch, mimosa in one hand and Kindle next to my plate, when a family was seated at the table next to me. I immediately cringed, afraid that my peace would be spoiled by fighting children. Fortunately, I was wrong. While the parents and son quietly scanned the menu, the daughter (about 10 years old) pulled a book out of her pack and began reading. When the waitress came to take their order the girl briefly looked up, gave her order, and began reading again. I stayed for about 45 minutes longer, and the girl read the entire time.
I thought about that girl a long time afterward. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, and rarely ate meals in restaurants. But reading during meals at home? Oh yes! My brother and I were encouraged to read whenever we wanted, and we often read during meals.