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My Mom Made Me a Reader

2014 May 12
by Geri Diorio
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GerisMomI hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day. Truthfully the holiday is bittersweet for me, since my mom passed away nine years ago this month. But I do have happy memories of her, and many of them are connected to books and to reading. She was a voracious reader who passed that love of books on to me. I’d rather read than do almost anything else. (This is why my house looks like it does.)

Poppy_seed_cakesWhen I was small, she read to me daily. We shared Pauline Palmer’s The Just Alike Princes, No Flying in the House by Betty Brock, Margery Clark’s Poppy Seed Cakes, and many, many fairy tales and fables. As soon as I could read on my own, she let me have free rein in the public library. While she checked on what I was reading, she never stopped me from reading anything. This led me to discover The Bobbsey Twins, Harriet the Spy, and every word Judy Blume ever wrote.BobbseyTwinsCamelAdventure

do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheepMy mom’s favorite genre was Science Fiction. She loved Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? When the movie Blade Runner came out (it was based on Do Androids Dream…) mom and I eagerly went to the cinema together to see how the adaptation worked.

This love of SF led me to read everything from Asimov’s I, Robot to Frank Herbert’s Dune to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series to novelizations of Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. battlestar_galactica_cover

Bacall_By_MyselfMy mom was also fond of nonfiction, specifically biographies. Her influence may have made me the only twelve year old on the planet who read both Lauren Bacall’s By Myself and Long Live the King: A Biography of Clark Gable by Lyn Tornabene.Old_mans_war

Mom’s dementia stopped her from reading for a good couple of years before her death, but I just know she would have loved Harry Potter and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. Whenever I sit down with a new book, I am always grateful for the rock-solid reading foundation she built for me.

How did your mother shape you as a reader? Do you have a memory of your mom and books? Please share your experiences in the comments.

~ Geri Diorio, currently listening to Project Nemesis by Jeremy Robinson

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Jessica M permalink
    May 12, 2014

    My earliest reading memory is actually of my mom reading to me from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger…and then finishing the trilogy with her. No wonder I love fantasy and scifi so much! Later, my mom insisted that my brother and I both read, taking us weekly to both the library and the bookstore so that my brother would have to find something he liked… no excuses. She felt reading was one of the most important life skills… no wonder she raised a Librarian :)

  2. Kathy C. permalink
    May 12, 2014

    I was the sixth of seven children, so my mom never had time to read to me when I was a toddler. It was when I was launched as a chapter book reader that my mom shared many of her favorites with me: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Girl of the Limberlost, and Seventeen. She also encouraged me to try historical fiction as genre – which I still greatly enjoy. I would come home from school occasionally to find her reading a book and neglecting some of those chores! Go Mom!

  3. Laura Leib permalink
    May 13, 2014

    I was the oldest of four children, and my mother read to all of us daily, and later encouraged me to read to my brothers. Sadly for her, I was the only reader growing up, my sister and my brothers found it very difficult to read on their own. She kept at it though, I remember in the summer when I was in high school, Mother read plays to us, Life with Father, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and others, we all loved them.
    But really her total vindication is that all of my siblings grew up to be readers, and I put that down to Mother’s persistence!

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