Newer visitors to the site know that I'm not afraid to watch a little television. In recent months, you've likely heard me profess my love for everything from "Party of Five" to "Miami Vice" to "Fantasty Island." Hell, I even wrote an entire post about "My Name is Earl."
However, those who know me well know that television is really my dirty little mistress. Reading has always been the true love of my life and, ever since I can remember, books have always been one of my greatest passions.
When I was a little kid, I used to freak my parents out by running away from home and going to the library. Since my parents both worked full-time, I used to sometimes play hooky so I could stay home and read in peace. Even in college, I remember a time when I stayed up for three straight days because I wanted to finish "Foucault's Pendulum." So yeah, I admit it. I'm a total book nerd.
And while other kids were collecting baseball cards, stamps or coins, I was always collecting books. I used to spend days foraging the catacombs of used-book stores and flea markets, hoping to unearth some hidden treasures. To this day, my greatest discovery was a small collection of first edition hardcovers by Norman Mailer that I found at a yard sale in Berkeley. During this period, he was one of my favorite authors and when I subsequently met him years later, he was kind enough to sign all of them for me.
At one point, I was such a complete and utter dork that I actually kept a list on my computer of all my favorite books. I also kept a separate list of first edition books that I wanted to own at some point during the course of my life. (As a young child, I had visions of my adult home being very similar to Wayne Manor, replete with a Batcave, a sliding pole and a modified version of the Batmobile. I always pictured myself reading my first editions in the library as Alfred served me mac and cheese on a silver tray.)
Quick story about the BossLady...Somehow, when we were dating, BossLady found out about my nerd list. After we got engaged, she started secretly researching internet databases of book collectors from all over the world. Over a year later, she presented me with a wedding gift, a beautiful first edition hardcover of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," the book at the top of BOTH my lists. My hands literally were shaking as I opened it. To this day, it's my most prized possession. Do you see why I love this woman?
Anyway, I tell you all of this only to explain why it's important to me that the Peanut share my love of reading. Even though she's only 16 months old now, I can't wait for the day when she's as passionate about books as I am. I long for the time when we can discuss books that she's read, what she got out of it, and whether she's interested in reading other works by the same author. In the back of my head, I have this Norman Rockwell vision of the entire family curled up on the couch by the fireplace and spending quiet evenings immersed in our own books.
So, to this end, I spend a lot of time reading to the Peanut. Whenever she's feeling a little calm, I'll pull her up on my lap and read something to her. In a way, I guess I'm hoping that my love of literature will rub off on her.
Unfortunately, I think books are my daughter's kryptonite.
Don't get me wrong. She loves chewing on them. She loves grabbing them out of my hand and tossing them at the dog. And last week, she practically peed her pants when I slipped on one of her books and busted my ass on the living room floor.
But most of the time? Put a book anywhere near her and she'll run away from it like she's allergic.
Now, of course, being the totally obsessively neurotic freak-out parent that I actually hate, my head starts reeling with a bunch of imaginary "What If?" scenarios. What if she NEVER enjoys hearing stories? What if she NEVER develops the desire to read? Even worse, what if she never LEARNS to read and becomes a functional illiterate? What if her dislike of reading causes her to drop out of school? What will she do then? How will she survive? OMG!
Sigh...well, at least she's pretty.
(Update: Somehow, the Peanut must have known that I was going to put up this post. Over the past few days, she's been pulling books off the shelf, bringing them over to me, and climbing herself into my lap so I can read to her. I haven't been this happy since the day she was born! Special thanks to one of my favorite bloggers and fellow reader, LandisMom, for preaching patience to me when I thought my daughter would never learn how to read.)
By the way, I just finished three books that I was reading simultaneously so I'm looking for a few good books to read. What are YOU guys reading these days? Got any recommendations?