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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Olden days

When I was younger, I read every book I could get my hands on. This is because I lived in the country and there was nothing else to do. My friends did not live nearby. My siblings were too young to be of any use. We didn't have cable. Books were my life.

I remember reading the Little House on the Prairie Books - our neighbor loved to buy me books and she bought the whole box set, which I still have. I read Little Women in fifth grade (though I didn't understand or appreciate it until many years later). I even read my fair share of Nancy Drew And then there was L.M. Montgomery - I started by devouring the entire Anne of Green Gables series before moving on to some of her other books.

My question is - do kids "these days" still read these books, which I consider to be classics? And, really, do they read at all? Or are they too busy with shiny games, interwebz, television.

I'm not much of a gamer but I definitely spend more time in front of the tv or on the computer than I should. I have to make a very conscious effort to read books even though I love reading and enjoy getting lost in the stories.

I like to fool myself that when I'm online, I'm writing. But, really, am I? Yeah, I puke up a post each day but how often am I actually "writing"?

My most recent "Cate's Book Club" selections have been great reads but also rather depressing. Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen, is the true story of a serial killer during the turn of the century Chicago World's Fair. My next two books were The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both by Khaled Hosseini. Fascinating fictional accounts of life in Afghanistan. Horrifying and eye-opening and I'm so glad I read both books but they were not light fluffy reads.

The rest of my current library pile includes two books on Buddhism, a James Patterson book (#7 of the Women's Murder Club - I find his books to be great for travel or appointments because of the short chapters), and a David Sedaris book. I think I'll hit the rest of my borrowed books but then I'm very much considering revisiting the worlds of Laura Ingalls and Anne Shirley.

Oh, to be a kid again. Am I too old to be reading these books again? And am I too young for a midlife crisis?


mo.stoneskin said...

I can't answer your questions but I do know I have to really fight to make myself read, even though like you I love reading.

It is worth fighting to read, and what you read shapes how you write so it is worth it even for writing's sake!

Peggy said...

To answer your question, my oldest 11 has to be forced to read anything! He's into so many other things...there doesn't seem to be time. BUT he's really into a series of books titled "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (too lazy to look up author but there are a series of like 3) that he will sit and devour.

My daughter (7) is a bookworm...she's constantly reading but it's all crappity crap ala Junie B Jones (school reading)...I have yet to introduce her to the "classics" I guess I should really get on that.

I read in spurts...if I have a really good book, I'll shuck all responsibility and park my ass on the couch for two days and finish it...LOL...but ever since I got "into" blog reading I've read nothing but.

Check out my Shelfari if you feel like it

Sass said...

My oldest is a big, big reader. Actually, all of my kids are, to the best of their ability.

I haven't got them into the classics yet.

I read each night before bed. Ahhh....serenity.

Alabama Redhead said...

What about Bunnicula and the Celery Stalks at Midnight? Man, I loved those books!!

I'm a book fiend...I have a to be read pile is the size of a small European country! Sigh...

Lisa said...

I have only just reread 'sense and sensiblity' and am about to start on 'pride and prejudice'- i love these books and NO, kids dont seem to read the classics anymore- but then again, maybe Harry potter is a classic now xx

C. Beth said...

I read those same books growing up--sounds like we had similar taste. Little Women was my favorite!

blognut said...

All 3 of my kids read, as do I. However, some of the stuff my kids read would hardly be considered a book by my standards. My girls do all right, if you don't count the Twilight series, but my son reads crap. Captain Underpants, Goosebumps, etc. He's 9. I'll overlook it for now. I'm just glad he knows how to work a book.

I have reading time and computer time, because I have no TV time. That's how I balance it all.

I just read a good book, Broken Open. I highly recommend it.

Grand Pooba said...

Yours is the best puke I've ever read! lol

Call Me Cate said...

mo.stoneskin - You are 100% correct, of course. It's just so easily to be distracted these days.

Peggy - I also read a lot of "crap" books growing up. I think it's most important that your kids are reading something, anything. And if you can sneak in classics (and some vegetables!), that's great too! I'll check your Shelfari, thanks!

Sass - I think reading at night would be good for me if I found the right book. The last few haven't been conducive to peaceful sleep.

Alabama Redhead - I loved those books. And Fudge, and Judy Bloom and...

Lisa - Maybe Harry Potter IS the new classic. But so many classic classics that I can't believe kids don't read anymore.

Beth - The first time I read Little Women, it was mostly to impress everyone by carrying around that big book. The second time was much more rewarding.

blognut - I'm at my desk all day but I've started shutting off the monitors during my lunch hour to read. Especially when my lunch is inedible. I'll check out Broken Open, thanks.

Grand Pooba - Clearly, I should not be allowed to blog after two shots of bourbon. I had to go back and read my post again. I'm ashamed.

Isabella said...

I loved reading as a kid. We visited the library often. :)

My parent's books weren't all that interesting...though my mom let me read The Shining when I was in 3rd grade. And I thought watching a scary movie was bad...

I don't think you're too old (or are going through a midlife crisis) by reading those books again. Yes, you might get some strange looks from people as you read "Little Women" at the local coffee shop, but maybe that will get others fondly thinking about books they used to read as kids...and before you know it, everyone is reading kids' books.

This post made me want to revisit Roald Dahl...BFG, here I come!

Snarky A. said...

I love reading, always have, always will. I'm constantly reading a new book, and I love to re-read both old & new favorites. I say go for it!

Sassy Britches said...

Finding the right book is always hard. It takes a lot of dedication for me to sit through non-fiction, but I feel like I'm not "living up to my potential" if I read non-thinking fiction. Whatevs. I read Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts/J.D.Robb, Jennifer Weiner, Andrew Greeley, and love every minute of it.

As for young readers' books, I went back and re-read Are You There God? It's Me, Margare; as well as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle; and The Leftover Kid just ummmmm...two months ago? So, I say bring on Little House on the Prairie!

Kara said...

I'm 41 and I still go back and revisit those books: the entire Anne series, the Emily series, Little House, the Sue Barton series (hard to find now), Cherry Ames, and others. The old, original Nancy Drews are even good for a rainy Sunday filled with reminiscing. Of course I also have my new favorites and authors who I come back to time and again.

Charis said...

My grandparents bought me the Laura Ingalls Wilder box set when I was little, and I read them so much that each book disintegrated into pieces over the years.
This past Christmas my sister got me the same box set :) I'm SO excited about that.

Grand Pooba said...

LOL! Hey, I don't judge :)

Call Me Cate said...

Snarky - I'm weird about re-reading. I definitely have a few though that I enjoy revisiting.

Sassy Britches - I read a lot of Patterson from time to time. I just find it to be very quick reading, even if it is somewhat formulaic. Also, Sue Grafton. I couldn't get into the Stephanie Plum books. :(

Kara - I read Emily as well. I'm totally going to read through these books again this summer. Thanks for visiting!

Charis - Thanks for stopping by! My old classic Winnie the Pooh books were ebayed against my will (by my mother) so I bought them off Amazon. It's so nice to have them back!

Grand Pooba - good thing! Or I'd be in big trouble.

andy said...

I think we should start a book club thing.

I miss reading.


Debbi said...

They still make books out of paper?!!!!!


I liked reading, still enjoy it. But don't find/make the time very often. So enjoy your books!!

Lora said...

I re-read those, and I'm only 32. Well before my midlife crisis, I hope.

Also, I have a shocking truth about LHotP. I'll email it to you if you want to know.
I don't want to ruin everyone else's life the way Laura Ingalls ruined mine.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

I love that you read Little Women in 5th grade (my fav then was the Hobbit). Even though you didn't fully understand it, it probably had a profound effect on you as you grew up.

I am continually astounded at the lack of selection in bookstores for young readers - seriously. I have already started a collection of good ones for when Monsoon is old enough to hear longer stories (and read when he can). If I have anything to say about it, he will read - and like it! Literacy is a huge issue with me - as a former preschool teacher, I could go on all day (and nearly have, huh?) about the importance of starting kids on books when they're babies. The down side? Now I don't have time to read for myself - because I can't just put a book down once I start.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

On a side note, if you're looking at YA fiction, (of course you're not too old for that - never!) I recently fell in love with A Wrinkle In Time. Most people have read it, I suppose, it's so worth picking up if you haven't before.

Juliet Colors said...

I grew up with my head buried in a book too. I don't know what kids these days read, but I've read all those you mentioned. (I wonder if that's a generational thing?) Also among my favorites were Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, and Madeleine L'Engle.

I still love reading children's/YA literature and, as I've advertised on my blog, have no shame in admitting it. I'm totally in favor of reading whatever you like and enjoying it. I don't read much serious literature these days; I prefer to be uplifted.

Call Me Cate said...

Andy - how would you suggest going about this book club thing? I'm more adept at organizing bourbon clubs.

Debbi - I KNOW!!! Books, out of PAPER!

Lora - I'm only 30 myself so yeah, mid-life crisis. I have to hope I've got a bit before the midway point. And thanks for the email. Fascinating.

RAS - I don't know that I realized you were were a former teacher. Babies sorta terrify me but I think one of the activities I'd enjoy most is book time. Because there WOULD be book time. I've read Wrinkle in Time but it's been awhile - I remember nothing about it.

Juliet - I read Beverly Cleary and a bit of Judy Bloom. I recently revisited the Choose Your Own Adventure series but it left me feeling bitter. Long story.