My parents were pretty lucky with me in that for as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed reading and writing.

In pictures and videos of me as a child it would not be unusual to find a book or pen in my hand.  While I found incredible joy in it, others did not. My younger brother was not and is not much of a reader, my mom is not either. Many of my friends do not read either. In fact when I went to visit my best friend who lives in New York, I insisted we stop off at a bookstore. I convinced her to buy a book she was holding and after several months, I had read about 4 books and she still hadn’t quite made it to chapter 4. (this was a few years ago and to this day I jokingly ask her if she ever got round to finishing that one book. She says she has not.)

 

It got me thinking of how some people love to read and others would rather do absolutely anything else.

This is not to say that if someone does not read they are horrible humans. No way! In fact, I tell non-readers it is perfectly fine not to read and get entertainment elsewhere.

But some parents I know struggle with their kids to even read their school assigned books. While the tips below have not been tested or peer-reviewed, I think these are some ways to get kids to enjoy reading and how I got into it myself.

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MAKE IT ENJOYABLE FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD

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Almost every parent I know does story time before bed. I know my dad did and one of the most vivid memories I have is my dad reading me a Mickey Mouse counting book. He would read the pages and after every page, he would throw the book in the air, tickle me, make me laugh til I cried. Then, would calmly pick up the book again and read the next page.

On the other hand I visited a family and wanted to read to their kids at night. I took my time with the book, did voices, and made them laugh. The parents were too concerned with getting them to bed and asked me to hurry it along.

The key, I believe, to long-lasting love for reading is to make sure you and your child are having just as much fun reading. If the adult is annoyed, rushing or not interested, so will the child.

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START EARLY

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It is never too early for a child to start reading. Even if they cannot read on their own or hardly have a grasp on the ABC’s, reading as early as possible gets them engaged.

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LET THEM DECIDE WHAT TO READ

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One of the most common reasons people hate reading is because they hated the books they had to read in school. Let’s face it: very few people enjoy the assigned novels in middle and high school. They can be boring, dense and frankly very hard to understand, let alone be entertained by. While we cannot avoid those books, encouraging your child to read other books while in school or over summer break that they find interesting, it will make those assigned books let’s daunting.  Think of when the Harry Potter books came out.  I was a few years out of the age group for that series, but at the time I remember every kid I knew or saw had one of those books under their noses. In fact, I was a camp counselor when one of the books came out and not a single kid wanted to swim during pool time. Oh no: they wanted to keep reading Harry Potter.

Take kids to libraries and book stores. Let them explore and decide what interests them and what stories they find compelling.

We are told what to do in so many aspects of our daily lives. Having the freedom of choice is powerful and can completely change an outlook.

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BE ENCOURAGING & OPEN-MINDED

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Most people hate being told what to do. And even more hate being pressured. Doing either of these when it comes to reading is a bad idea.  Gently encouraging is more effective, but remember that not every suggestion will stick. You may have a child who, despite trying the ideas above, simply is not a reader. And that is perfectly OK! The idea isn’t to make a child into an avid reader, but to find some pleasure in it so maybe school is not so demanding. Or going to a bookstore is not so dull. Maybe they like comics, short stories, or graphic novels.

The point of reading is to entertain and expand. If we limit the concept of reading to only novels, we miss out on other writing outlets. There is a huge variety of ways the written word is put on the page. Allow your child to decide what that variation is.

Yes, it has been quite a bit since I last posted. Truth be told, I am in a reading slump. I read a few back-to-back excellent books then the last one I felt indifferent about.  I thought I could re-set my reading flow by reading another royalty biography, but even that is a slow go.

And I am OK with that.

If you are a reader then you may understand that not reading for a long stretch of time feels like you are failing in a way. Like a body builder who enters and wins a fitness competition and then stops working out and indulges on all the food she deprived herself of during competition prep. It is all a matter of allowing time, allowing yourself to explore other aspects of your interests and not holding yourself to a standard.

Instead, I have been watching Reign on Netflix. I have a deep interest in history and European history. I used to watch Game of Thrones but it got to be way too violent and some of the characters bored me to tears. Image result for reignFor me Reign satisfies my need for a story, royalty and history all in one. I can tell it is for a younger audience, but it is really well done.

While I haven’t been reading, I’ve been getting my stories from many places: podcasts, television shows, YouTube, etc.  I am a Reader but even people like me get reading fatigue. And while at first I was not OK with this, I am now. I know the right book will come along and reignite my passion, but for now the reading pilot light is weak.

 

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WHAT I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING LATELY

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  • Discovering “new” music: my father is a huge music fan and while I have always listened to the music he loves, I’ve been exploring it more deeply.  I have been consumed with the song “Soon” by YES.
  • Cooking: Exploring other culture’s cuisine and making them in the kitchen. Last night I prepared dough to make a Polish dumpling. And this weekend I will be making an Irish potato and cabbage meal.
  • House Hunting: My husband and I are looking to move into a new home so I am researching what I want in a house.
  • Walking and Rebounding: I workout several times a week but I noticed that I was losing my drive (just as I am with reading). I have not been as consistent as usual and after a while I decided I needed to mix it up again. I’ve been more into the outdoors and more cardio than doing strength training. I do have to keep my strength training, but listening to my body is what will keep me going. Forcing my body and mind to do what it doesn’t want to only makes me avoid it.

 

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN ENJOYING LATELY?

Image result for the seven husbands of

(Note: As with my reviews, I will not give a plot summary. I will get right into my thoughts.)

This was one of those books that I wanted to finish for no other reason than to finish it. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, I didn’t feel like I was rooting anyone on (more on that later). In fact, there were two times during my reading that I took the book mark out and decided I wanted to move on. However, I kept reading.

The book itself is much like the Evelyn Hugo character: you do not know what it is about it that makes you want more. For me, I think it was the writing and editing. This book was edited and written so well that the words and pages flowed effortlessly. While I decided twice to abandon it, I kept reading because it reads very fast.

 

What I liked:

  • Very original plot, main character and story. Although it is an older woman telling a story (which we’ve seen) this was done in a fresh approach.
  • The writing and editing made for an effortless read.
  • The time period and genre is also a setting I have not seen done in my reading life. I’m sure there are some out there, but this is the first time I’ve seen “old/classic-Hollywood” used as a setting

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • It felt like the supporting characters were archetypes. I do not want to give anything away, but I found little authentic depth with the characters as individuals. The way the author writes the relationships is, however, very well done.  I think that is the reason I kept going.
  • Some “Author…I can see you!” moments (which I really hate).
  • There is one sentence during one of Monique’s sections where I had to go back and revisit the tense. ***POSSIBLE SPOILER**[Obviously, Evelyn’s sections were flashbacks/retellings. But Monique’s were not written that way nor introduced as such. Her parts are written as if it were an on-going action, not a memory.  What threw me off was at the end of one chapter Monique says (paraphrasing) that she didn’t know then that in one week she would hate Evelyn and in fact want to kill her.  I thought, “Wait a second…”  and flipped back to earlier pages. Perhaps it was my own confusion but I thought I was reading a “live” telling since Monique’s parts were written in present tense but in fact it isn’t? Was it? I wasn’t sure. I decided to let it go and chalk it up to maybe I misread. If you read this and have thoughts on this, please let me know.]*** SPOILER END***

Would I recommend this? I think so.

The way in which it is written and edited makes this a reasonably quick read for an almost 400 page book.  It is very entertaining, it deals with interesting characters, a fresh plot, and time/setting. I can see why a lot of people gave this a high rating. I do not disagree with those high ratings.

My Good Reads review does not have a star rating. It is simply marked as read. The Review reads: tbd…

Because while I liked it, there is still lingering feelings of dislike: much like Evelyn Hugo herself!

I think this is one I will decide on a rating many months later.

So, to be continued…

Where I live we have “Sneaks the Cat” as the local library system’s mascot for summer reading for children. I still have a soft spot for Sneaks as it reminds me of summer vacations long, long gone. But as an adult reader, I still set plans for reading in the summer. It is not an official plan like you see on some blogs where I have a list of themes, authors or genre. Instead, it is that time of year where I up my reading game.

I have been quite ambitious this year with setting a Goodreads reading goal of 50 books. [let’s be friends!] So far I am at 12 books marked as read. Not a solid foundation but good enough. Sadly, I am a bit of a slow reader and I am on the hunt for tips and tricks on how to read faster without sacrificing pleasure or quality.

Like the first half of the year. my summer reading list contains heavy topics and high page counts:


::LET SUMMER BEGIN::


 

Image result for the story of the lost child

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

I approach the fourth and final book of Ferrante’s Neaopolitan Novels and I must admit, I am saving it for the long plane ride to California from my home state of Maryland. I’ve devoured this series and will have a full dedicated post once I finish.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This book has a lot of buzz around it which usually makes me cautious. After hearing many a podcasters say how great this is, I had to get it. (Side noteBarnes and Noble (local location) had it on sale for 20% off, plus my 10% discount, plus a 20% off coupon and I got myself a deal! (2 books purchased that day for less than what this hardcover would have cost full price.))

I am on page 200 and it is really great. It is not a typical novel and it takes a bit to get used to the structure (which reminds me of a play) but the way in which Saunders uses the structure to tell a story is unlike anything I have read. I look forward to finishing it and writing about it soon!


The [Unofficial]Summer TBR*


Everything on this list!

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

*subject to change 😉

What are you reading this summer?

Hello Readers,

March was a long month! My reading felt a bit slacked and that is because, well, it was and still kind of is. I find that by the time I finish up at the office, come home and do wifely things, workout and clean up the house it is 10pm before I know it. I haven’t had a chance to have some solid reading time and I am behind in my podcasts! Oh what to do…

Last month I had a chance to listen to my first audiobook that was fiction. I have mixed feelings about it, mostly because I am not an experienced audiobooker but I will give more a chance and see what makes a good and bad fiction on audio “read.” But that is another post.

 


BOOKS READ IN MARCH


1. Chocolat – Joanne Harris (Re-read Project) – 5 stars! I love this book & read it every year.

2. By Gaslight — Steve Price – 2 stars – Disappointing ending for such a massive book.

3. Columbine — Abandoned read.  I was a teenager when this happened and while I wanted to read it to understand more about it, it was a little too vivid for me and opened a memory box I no longer wish to visit.


BOOKS TO READ IN APRIL

My to be read list is growing and at a fast pace than I can read.

I bought the books in the photo above except for “Special Topics…” That book I bought a while ago and during my Minimalism decluttering I popped this into my give away box. I regretted it a few weeks later. I kept hearing it suggested on the “What Should I Read Next” podcast and thought I’d just rent it from the library. A few weeks later my husband comes in with it in his hands and says, “I found this in my trunk. It must have fallen out of the giveaway box.” It was meant to be!

For April, I need to finish Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I am about half way through and while I love it so far, I just have not had solid time to read more. April I plan to set aside time for reading again. In February, I actually marked “Read – 1 hour” in my daily to do list. It was not because I did not feel like reading, but scheduling it in was necessary to make sure I set dedicated time aside to do so.

I will also begin reading Agatha Christie’s Poirot short stories collection:

 (Roses – thanks to my husband)

And now for some madness…

I have read several Stephen King books and he is a brilliant story teller. I know his name is thrown around but he really is one of the best writers of all time. He is a best seller for a reason. Next on my list is this gem:

 

 

As for the Re-Read Project, I believe I will revisit “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

Here I am with Mr. Wilde in Dublin, Ireland. We had a nice chat, though I did most of the talking.