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.
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.
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.
With 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.