Aug
19
2007

Bookworm and Bookkid

I’m sitting in a Barnes & Noble right now. As usual. Next to me are a father and son, sitting at a table and reading quietly.

The boy looks young; maybe first or second grade? The father looks pretty young too; maybe only a few years older than me.

Then the thought struck me: I totally want to be a father who brings his kid to Barnes & Noble too.

I was a voracious reader when I was a kid. A total bookworm. I’d borrow the maximum number of books I could at each library visit, then read them all in a few days.

If books were beers, I would’ve been a raging alcoholic, vomiting and stumbling into walls everywhere, in a beer-stained wife-beater.

But as luck would have it, consuming books don’t make you drunk. (Except drunk with knowledge! Ha ha! If you’re a librarian, yes, you may use that line in your brochures.)

While in college, I stopped reading for pleasure. Instead, I read for my classes, which wasn’t nearly as fun. But you know how it is. In college, if you were reading, you were reading textbooks.

Unfortunately, I didn’t return to reading for pleasure after college. I jumped into the working world and began reading a different kind of textbook: technical books for web design and development.

It wasn’t until I started working abroad and having twelve-hour plane rides that I picked up reading for pleasure again. And what a pleasure it was!

Like an addict returning to his drug, I was hooked again. Hi, my name is Mike and I’m a bookaholic. (Ha! Another great line for librarians. You’re welcome.)

So it’s natural that I’d want to pass this addiction onto my kids. Get them infected like me. Turn them into bookkids. Open the world of possibilities and imagination through the prose of enrapturing stories.

(Hey librarians, if you want to hire me to write you some slogans, I’m available anytime. For a nominal fee, of course.)

Spending an afternoon in a bookstore with my kids sounds like a nice and wholesome activity too. It’s relatively cheap and feeds their brains with lots of yummy knowledge and creativity. Munch munch munch.

There are so many subjects for them to absorb too. Maybe they like mysteries. Or science-fiction. Or relationship dramas. There are worlds in here, just waiting to be explored.

Childhood is a time for exploration too, isn’t it? It’s a time when a child should be discovering the world and finding out what naturally appeals to him or her. While books aren’t the only way, they’re certainly a great one.

They’re also great for creativity. Getting absorbed into an enchanting story opens up a vast universe that exists only in the readers’ minds. The exercise of creating those universes inevitably strengthens one’s mental muscles.

Plus, spending time in a bookstore with your kids is a nice way to bond. It’s good old-fashioned quality time.

Which makes this a good pastime suggestion for parents, yea? Like I was telling the librarians, if you need any more tips, yup, I’m available for hire! Wink wink.

. . .

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  • http://akrypti.wordpress.com Akrypti

    This isn’t directly related to your post, but your post reminded me of this incident…

    Over the summer while studying for the bar, I was at the Cupertino library (or was it Sunnyvale? I went to them all and I’m all confuddled now) and since there were no available seats left in the normal sections, I sat in the children’s section.

    A father (Asian) and his son are sitting at the adjacent table playing chess. The father is grilling the boy in THE most bizarre fashion…

    “How many books by Shakespeare have you read?”
    “Ten.”
    “Read more. How many books by Hemingway?”
    “Three.”
    “What?! Are you stupid? Too hard for you, stupid? Read more. More!”

    And the conversation went on like that until the kid began messing up at chess and the father started yelling at the kid, calling him stupid for messing up at chess.

    “If you can’t even read Hemingway and if you can’t even play a simple game of chess, what CAN you do in life? Huh? HUH?”

    My. GOD. That is going to be one messed up young teenager someday.

  • http://everythingisdesign.com Gino

    Well, welcome to our world. This was pretty much the normal run of the mill expectation from my parents, and I know I wasn’t alone, so. I never thought I would say this, but while, yes, the carrot is better than the stick, I’m not convinced we have enough stick in this country. And often not soon enough, really.

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