Reaching the end of Freakonomics is a paragraph on the importance of reading, or at least how having books in the house is influential on a child’s development. There is no particular logic other than parents who show an interest in books value education and will induce this to their children. This prompted me a nice souvenir…
There were always books in the house; both my mom and dad were avid readers. My dad was into science fiction (Asimov, Herbert, Tolkien, Bradley) and my mom was into everything else (famous classics, English or French, Pulitzer prize-winners, non fiction and anything taking place in Asia, her favourites are Somerset Maugham and Hortense Dufourd who she has become friends with).
My brother started reading books at an unusual young age, by the age of 9, he had read the entire collection of Jules Verne and read The Lord of the Ring when he was 10. I had a lot of baby books which I never tired of reading. As a little girl, I suffered from insomnia; I would wake up from a nightmare at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning and not to wake up the rest of the house, I would cover my bedside table lamp with a handkerchief, choose one of my books, my favourite was the Ugly Duckling or another one about a rabbit; I burnt uncountable numbers of handkerchiefs falling back asleep with a book in my hands.
I remember the summer when I started reading real books, I was 10, and still thoroughly enjoyed my children’s books, short stories and the standard Disney versions of classic stories. We were in Labastide de Virac. There isn’t much to do there, it’s an old house, we go for walks, picnics down by the river, long lunches, naps and dinner parties. So reading is pretty much the only form of entertainment the rest of the day or when it rains. We get there and my dad buys half a dozen of books for each himself, mom and Julien, it’s like a tradition, that summer he bought 5 books for me, Club Seven they were called, detective/adventure type where seven teenage friends solve mysteries.
I did not want to read, I did not want to do anything, I was bored and grumpy and my mom scolded me because I knew darn well that when we come here, we read. Sulking, I locked myself in the car with the window down just enough to let some air in, and my mom dropped all five books through the slit. I sulked for about 15 minutes before I felt really bored and picked one of the books, I never stopped reading since.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, I read loads until a book I don’t like comes along, then instead of closing it and starting another, I will have a long period without reading at all, until the next book craving. My favorite of all time is Terry Pratchett, he takes me miles away from reality.