My Reading Life (and Other Hobbies Influenced by Parents)

Posted April 23, 2015 / Discussions / 14 Comments

being a lifelong reader

This discussion post was inspired by Kristen’s recent post about always being an enthusiastic reader and, the more I thought about it, Jamie’s older post about how reading wasn’t cool when she was younger. It got me thinking about my reading story a little more and how my parents have been pretty huge influences on that… as well as some other hobbies. You can see some of the best books from my childhood here!

I’ve been a reader my whole life

I feel like I’ve talked about my reading story a million times on here, starting with my About page. If you’re bored of that story then move along to the next section, my friend.

I was fortunate enough to have parents and other family members who were big on reading. I spent my childhood days living with my books. I was an only child and spent most of my time reading instead of watching TV or doing other kid things. I’d go to the library with my mom or grandmother and Barnes & Noble with my dad, pick out tons of books, and try to savor every word until I could go again. I was pretty crazy about making sure my books lasted as long as possible because I refused to reread them (more on that later).

When I think of my childhood, I really do picture reading everywhere – on my grandmother’s front lawn under a tree, in my living room at my old house, walking around inside the pool with my book held high over the water, on the back porch of my mom’s house, in the breezeway in Maine, in my dad’s basement… Some of my best memories include books.

(Except for that one time)

I talk about my reading dark ages a lot on here because it’s a timeframe that I’m sad about. During college, I was armed with a box of books and told myself I would defeat the norm and read for pleasure at school. Yeah, didn’t happen. I just never had the time. My classes all made me do a LOT of reading, especially with my minor in Literary and Cultural Studies. I was constantly reading for school and my eyes would fall out of my head if I read anything else. Plus Netflix was invented…

During my summers and winters, I would read during my lunch break at my internship. It was a glorious uninterrupted hour of reading every day. Each night and weekend was full of activities with my friends, so I really enjoyed my lunch breaks. I mostly read Kate Brian’s two series (Private and Privilege) as well as Pretty Little Liars.

young lauren

My reading influences

My parents are huge readers. They have different tastes than me, but we were all able to bond over Harry Potter at least! My mom loves mysteries, thrillers – anything creepy like that. She says if a murder doesn’t happen somewhere in the book, she won’t bother reading it. My dad has kind of a diverse reading background. He likes biographies and books about people from history, like the presidents or books on wars. He also likes creepy, murder books like my mom. He loves fantasy books too – incredibly long series like Wheel of Time. They both like Stephen King and James Patterson.

Even though I don’t like the same kinds of books as them, for the most part, their constant reading influenced me as a kid. We all could just sit in the living room in silence, reading our separate books. Now they’re divorced and still read just as much. My dad and my stepmom will sit in their recliners and read every night while keeping the TV on. My stepdad doesn’t read, but my mom loves to fill her mornings and evenings with books if he’s on his computer or watching TV.

Having parents that love reading was an absolute blessing when I was younger. I knew they’d leave me alone if I had my nose in a book (and I knew to return the favor) and they’d understand my constant need to have a bunch of books around me at all times. I would never get criticized for having too many books, needing to go to the library for the third time that week, or bringing a book everywhere I went. I go to Maine with my dad and we all spend 80% of our vacation sitting on the front porch reading our books. It’s glorious.
reading influences

Passing along the reading

My little sister, who is now somehow a thirteen year old preteen, is a HUGE reader. Even bigger than me at times. She brings books with her for dinners at restaurants and doesn’t get yelled at for reading at the table instead of talking with us. (I do think this is a little ridiculous and I’ve reprimanded my parents for this before.) She reads any and all middle grade books, like the Emily Windsnap series, Percy Jackson, and a bunch of others. I bought her a Kindle for Christmas and she’s addicted. She makes my dad buy her books all the time and she reads through them so quickly.

She’s also big on rereading. There are so many books she’s reread over and over again. She doesn’t get sick of the same stories or series. I think this why my parents don’t have problems with buying her a lot of books; they know she’ll read them more than once. When I was her age, I refused to reread. I actually have only reread a handful of books (although number is steadily increasing this year!). I kept thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy reading something I’ve already experienced once before. I’ve come to realize how silly this is and my sister’s reading habits have definitely helped to open my eyes on rereading.


Other hobbies from my parents?

I’ve also realized through writing this post that I gained most of my hobbies and interests from my parents. By that I pretty much just mean FOOTBALL. I talked about my love for football here and a little bit more here.

The Carolina Panthers are my one true love. They’ll always be there for me (within reason) (bearing in mind that they lose more often than they win, historically) (also remembering that football season is only during half of the year) …. Okay, but really. Football is my other hobby aside from reading and Lego. I lovingly call my Panthers “consistently inconsistent” because they could be amazing one year, shitty the next, average the following – etc. It’s a vicious cycle.

My dad is an Oakland Raiders fan and my mom is a Dallas Cowboys fan. You’re probably wondering how in the world I started liking the Panthers? Apparently when I was 4, I walked into the living room to tell my parents I needed to pick my own football team. I didn’t want to pick one of theirs. Up until that point, they were dressing me in clothing for both of their teams and I’d had enough. My dad let me know that there were 2 new teams being added the following year: Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. I decided to pick the Panthers based on their colors and mascot (because c’mon, I was 4 years old)… and never looked back!

I follow them obsessively, during the season and during the offseason. My dad has NFL Sunday Ticket so I’m able to watch them no matter what, which is amazing. Living in New England and getting only Patriots games is pretty miserable for an adamant Patriots-hater like myself. My parents are just as crazy about their teams as I am. Every time I watch a game, I can literally hear my parents’ go-to phrases popping out of my mouth. It’s unreal how much I’m like them when watching a game. The yelling, the swearing, the jumping off the couch… it’s all thanks to them.

pnthersWith this post I kind of implied that I got more hobbies from my parents, but it’s primarily just reading and football… and those two hobbies, we do with lots of obsession. I certainly also gained my “lead foot” while driving from them, too. We drive a little too fast for our own good. My parents have definitely shaped me into the person I am today – in both good and bad ways. My mom is a planner but she’s also a worrier. My dad is emotional but he also can have a temper. I got allll of those qualities from them.

Did you grow up a reader? Who influenced your reading? What hobbies did your parents pass on to you?

14 responses to “My Reading Life (and Other Hobbies Influenced by Parents)

  1. That’s so awesome that you basically got your love for reading spoon-fed to you! 🙂 I think it would be amazing to have a family to read so much as me. I don’t think I could ever get my mom to read Harry Potter — although I did get her to read Twilight back in the day, so that was something! Mom does follow my book blog, though, and she really likes the posts I write, so at least she’s interested in my reading. 🙂 She’s more of a vacation reader, whereas dad reads occasionally. My brother hates reading and once made fun on a book lover’s fanpage for liking books…

    I never really read as a kid, apart from the typical children’s books. But when I grew older, nothing. I really didn’t like it — I suppose it didn’t help that the books we had to read for school were all terrible! But then, around the time I was 16, for one reason or another I stumbled upon Twilight (it wasn’t a big hype yet) and that got my love for reading going!

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    • Yes interest in your reading is definitely great! My stepdad is sometimes a vacation reader, but he usually doesn’t read anything 😛
      School books were definitely terrible! I’m glad I was able to get by and read some books I was genuinely interested in during that time too. Twilight is definitely a major reason for LOTS of people reading more – especially YA! Even if most people don’t like it much anymore, it deserves some credit for getting the spark going.

  2. That’s so cool ^^ my dad would take me to Barnes and Nobles a lot but I don’t think I ever went to the library when I was younger 0.0 but it is really cool your family shares your interest ^-^

  3. This post is adorable 🙂
    I know what you mean about reading really tapering off in college. I was an English major so literally like 90% of what I was doing was reading for school (and then writing about those books). I didn’t mind it, but it led to less motivation to read for fun. I still managed to read around 15ish books a year for fun, so I didn’t give it up completely (and a lot of my reading for class consisted of novels, so I was at least reading more “fun” stuff for school a lot of the time, along with critical academic texts). It’s interesting, I’ve started rereading LESS since blogging, and I used to be a HUGE rereader, constantly rereading my favorites. Once I entered the world of blogging (and a few years earlier, Goodreads) it opened up a WHOLE new world of books for me.

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  4. I LOVE THIS! I had the same problem in college too- there just was no time! And when I did have time… I was too tired/lazy 😉 My parents were/are big readers too, which is nice. My mom always read to me as a kid, even when I could very easily read to myself. My brother never picked it up though, even though he had me AND my mom reading to him!

    Okay, funny story about the Carolina Panthers: My parents are hard core Penn State fans (have been since forever!) and my dad had season tickets so we’d go to a lot of games. Well, my all time favorite player was Kerry Collins, and as you likely know, he was the first draft pick that the Panthers ever had, and when it was announced, I decided I had to be a Panthers fan. Plus, the colors were pretty. So I bought ALL the stuff. But um, that didn’t go great hahah. So I kind of stopped caring, though I DO still love the colors 😉

    Such a great post, thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. I definitely see how your parents have affected your life! You’ve practically been reading since you were a toddler! It actually took me awhile to realize that I definitely read more than your average Kindergartener. I read a ton of middle grade and kids books back in Elementary School. I remember my mom would buy a few books every time a Scholastic Book Fair flyer came by. When I was in 5th grade I read Harry Potter and in 6th grade I really took off the with Young Adult genre. So yea, I guess the fact that I love reading so much is just because of the fact that I enjoyed reading A LOT when I was a kid! Thank you for sharing your story! 😀


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  6. My parents were again my huge influences when it comes to reading. My dad doesn’t read so much, but he understands why we do it and approves. My mum was a reader when she had more time and she does read books in the holiday. But she started all of us on reading. My oldest sister used to love it but she transferred into being interested in the sciences and while she still does read she reads non-fiction. I am a HUGE reader and the amount of books I have is crazy. I try to reread but I don’t do it too often. My other older sister is a big reader and my little one alike. I love the fact that we are a family of bookworms.

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