How did your parents influence your reading?

March 9, 2017 Fun Questions 10

Fun Questions LogoJoin me as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

How did your parents influence your reading?

So back in January, Lexxie had this fabulous post about PNR and she talked about how blogging has expanded her horizons. Well it got me to thinking about how blogging has expanded mine… and here’s the crazy thing! My love of fantasy and paranormal is a recent development. I know! Me! Lover of all things paranormal… I mean I’m FANTASY IS MORE FUN!

I can’t credit blogging with bringing me back to Fantasy, but it was just before I started blogging that I found fantasy again. I say again, because as much as I love my parents they… my dad really… pushed me away from my favorite genre as a child. I’ll never forget it. I read this book by AVI called Bright Shadow and it was the first time I stayed up all night reading a book. So I told my parents about it… I was so excited. My dad looked at the book and saw that it was fantasy. He then told me that it was because of the Devil that I’d stayed up all night reading the book. The Devil and his evil magic had held me captive reading the book. I was like 8 or 9… so it scared the shit out of me! I didn’t pick up another fantasy book until I was 19 (It was Harry Potter, BTW). Sometimes I wonder, would I love fantasy as much if it hadn’t been the forbidden fruit for so long? Or would I love it more, be more versed in it, have read more completely? Who knows, but that’s one way my parents definitely influenced my reading.

But they influenced me in lots of great ways too. I was a struggling reader, mostly because – as we discovered towards the end of 1st grade – I couldn’t see. My teacher wanted to hold me back because I was so behind but my mom said, no, she’d work with me over the summer to catch me up now that I had glasses. And she did. We read like crazy that summer and I entered second grade on level with my peers. By the end of 2nd grade I was the top reader in my class. My parents didn’t have much money, so the way they kept me in books was the library. My mom took us to the library multiple times a week, until I got old enough to take myself. Reading was something she loved and she definitely passed that along to me.

I think I also learned my lesson from that first book that I stayed up all night reading though… because I never told my parents when I loved a book that much ever again. I remember discovering Victoria Holt when I was just 14 years old. I’m CERTAIN my parents wouldn’t have approved, but they never knew 🙂 Thus began my love affair with Historical Romance. I can’t help but wonder if my being a historian started there?

Anyway, I think readers will be readers and we’ll find what we love regardless – but there’s no doubt our parents, teachers, and peers have an influence in what we find to read as we grow. I think it’s interesting to reflect on their impact and wonder, how might it have been different? Would you have found you favorite genre on your own just as quickly? Would you have been willing to try things you steered clear of for fear of judgment (or the devil lol!)? What do you think?

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

10 Responses to “How did your parents influence your reading?”

  1. Tiffany

    I get reading from my dad’s side of the family. My dad mostly reads non-fiction, particularly engineering – but he introduced me to Biggles and Hornblower early on (at MY expense, I seem to remember…). And then I moved on to Nevil Shute, which is as close to engineering as you can get while still being fiction – I STILL want a Congreve clock like the one in Trustee From the Toolroom. Even if they don’t keep good time (there’s one in the British Museum, I think, and I watched it for ages).

    I got fantasy and sci-fi from the library; once I was old enough, I’d just go and spend the whole day there. Very useful for reading those books I wouldn’t dare bring home – not that I wouldn’t be allowed to read them; more the remarks I’d get…

  2. Terri M., the Director

    My parents let me read, but I don’t recall any push one way or another read a certain kind of book or not read another kind of book. The only book I REMEMBER seeing on my mother’s night table was Flowers in the Attic. The cover with fascinating with its cutout and then the full family portrait when you opened the cover. I did eventually read that entire series. 🙂

    My friends including fellow bloggers have had a larger influence on my reading.
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Introducing Paisleigh Aumack, author | In the Spotlight InterviewMy Profile

  3. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    My parents always encouraged my reading. They would buy me books in moderation and although my dad wasn’t a big reader, my Mom was. I remember Dad going out of town and I was upset I couldn’t go so he brought me a hardcover of Stephen King’s IT back with him and I was thrilled. My Mom used to “dump” me at the library while she ran around – it really wasn’t a healthy dump if you get my drift but I was able to lose myself in the library so all was good. However, Mom and I read totally different books. She is pretty much strictly romance and loves them to have a western flair where I stay away from those books (although romance is ok from time to time) altogether.
    Barb (boxermommyreads) recently posted…The Supernatural Pet Sitter – A Blast of Middle Grade Fun!My Profile

  4. Melanie Simmons

    My mom so influenced my reading. My mom was a believer in letting me read anything, as long as I was reading. My brother had a lot of issues with reading and a tutor told mom to get him anything he wanted to read. Being a sports guy, she got him to start reading the sports page in the newspaper and a subscription to Sports Illustrated. I was a harder nut to crack for my mom. That is until she handed me a Stephen King book. I devoured Misery. So much so I had it taken away from me several times in school. I would read it instead of doing school work. Teachers would tell my mom that it wasn’t appropriate for a child in the 6th/7th grade. I read Stephen King for a while until in high school I started Interview with a Vampire. The rest is history.

    I’m really glad that your parents were very supportive of your reading. Sorry that you weren’t able to share more with them because of fear of disapproval.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Etched in Bone Audiobook by Anne Bishop (REVIEW)My Profile

  5. Geybie's Book Blog

    My parents don’t like reading. I learned how to read from school and started to love it when a friend gave me a graphic novel in junior high school. When I was a senior, a cousin of mine introduced me to mystery novels. That was when I knew that I loved reading written stories.
    My two sisters don’t like reading at all. They don’t understand why it is so important for me. The same way with all my friends. None of them loves reading.
    That was the reason I started blogging. To meet people who share the same passion. Oh what a great community I am in. 😀
    Geybie’s Book Blog recently posted…Book Review – Passion & Venom (Venom #1) by Shanora WilliamsMy Profile

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    Goodness! I’m glad you didn’t give up on reading, Berls. And I’m happy you found your way back to fantasy as well. This is a great topic. I hadn’t thought about how my parents influenced my reading. I will say I’ve always been fond of books and reading. My mom likes to tell stories about when one of my uncles would come to visit, I always grabbed his hand and took him to my room where I’d have him read to me for hours. And my aunt, his wife, worked at the library, so I visited there quite often. As for my parents specifically – I’d have to say my mom was the influencer because I don’t remember my father ever reading anything other than the paper. My mom was a Doubleday Book Club member though so she always had books. 🙂 And I “borrowed” them from her shelf. I’m quite certain that she would be horrified to know the ways in which she influenced my reading. lol 😉 But she also read historical romances along with contemporary romances and I enjoyed them myself. She never restricted what I read…of course, she didn’t know she might should have. But what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. 😛
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…Review ~ The Wright Brother ~ Marie Hall #COYER #ShelfLoveMy Profile

  7. Lark

    Wow, Berls, I had no idea. I’m so sorry your dad reacted like that. I’ve seen that sort of reaction from other parents, and it always makes me so sad. At least your mom encouraged you to keep reading books, even if they weren’t fantasy.

    My mom is a reader, as is my stepdad. My dad is less so. But I don’t remember anyone reading to me once I got old enough to read on my own, which was pretty early—I took to reading like a duck to water. So my mom’s influence was mostly just by example, and through taking me to the library or allowing me to go on my own (on my bike or the bus) when I was big enough. And I almost always got (and asked for) books for Christmas and birthdays. She still gives me books sometimes, but less often because she got tired of giving me books I’d already read!
    Lark recently posted…TOUR: In Farleigh Field (Rhys Bowen)My Profile

  8. Greg

    My parents didn’t really pay any attention to what I read, and I mostly gravitated to SF stuff. So I didn’t really have a problem like that. But I sympathize… and I had a friend who didn’t really have parents who approved of that kind of thing. Magic was bad. 🙂 But for me it wasn’t bad I pretty much could get whatever I wanted. And once I was in my late teens and could drive, I would hit used bookstores and they wouldn’t have had a clue what I was reading!

    I do think people will find their niche or the stuff that appeals to them for the most part- it might just take longer if the parents are super controlling. I think it’s a fine line, I know parents want to regulate maybe what kids are reading but if you hold them back too much they’re going to just rebel. Let ’em read and see what they like. 🙂
    Greg recently posted…A Darkness AbsoluteMy Profile

  9. La La in the Library

    I understand the “Devil” thing. After my parents got a divorce when I was six years old, my mother started going to an Evangelical church. We went there until I was 14, so I certainly would not have been allowed to read Harry Potter, or Bright Shadow back then. I guess I was lucky I was into dog and horse books, Little House On the Prairie, and Classics like The Secret Garden, ha ha. I remember I was constantly being read to as a child. My dad especially. I had three cousins who lived downstairs who were quite a bit older than me, and threy read to me, too. My dad subscribed to the Seuss Book Of the Month Club for me. My love of SciFi and Fantasy started with my 4th grade teacher reading A Wrinkle In Time to the class. It was kind of the perfect mash-up between those two genres. I don’t know what my mother would have thought about it though.

  10. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Yikes, I’m sorry you had that experience with the fantasy book!

    My parents aren’t readers, so they definitely weren’t the ones who made me a reader. I think I can credit my school more for that because we had required reading time every day—you could read anything you wanted, but you had to read—and that was how I discovered my love of books. My mom bought me books sometimes and took me to the library though. And my parents let me read any genre, so long as it was YA (the exception being Anne Rice’s vampire books). I managed to sneak a couple books in at some point though lol. The only YA rule was so limiting though and I hated it because YA wasn’t as huge as it is now, and I didn’t even know about ebooks or buying online, and so I kind of ran of books I was interested in, and I most definitely read all the YA vampire books they had in the stores. Plus I was plenty mature, but even at the age of 18 they wouldn’t buy me adult books. If they had their way, I wouldn’t be allowed to read adult books until I were 50 lol.
    Kristen recently posted…Book Review: Broken (Beautiful Monsters Book 3) by Jex LaneMy Profile

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