For the Love of Reading

By Sherry — Home from a chilly Northern Florida to a freezing Northern Virginia

I have a lot of things to thank my mom for, but probably none more than my love of books. We had lots of books in our house. We made weekly trips to the library from the time I was really little. Then the bookmobile started coming to a park an easy walk from our house once a week.

Mom would read a chapter of a Bobbsey Twin book to my sister and I every night. But she had a devious plan which was to get us to read on our own. I was a bit more of a reluctant reader than my sister. The plan worked because who could stand to wait until the next night to find out what was going to happen next.

There was a large collection of Bobbsey Twin and Nancy Drew books in our house. When there was a book fair at school we were each allowed to pick a few books. Oh, the joy! My second grade teacher wasn’t the best so I fell behind with my reading compared to my peers. Thankfully, I had a third grade teacher who noticed. She took to giving me extra books to take home to read out loud to my mom. And my mom always made time for me to do that. Soon I was back on track and have been a voracious reader ever since.

My dad loved to read too and as we grew up we were always trading around mysteries and thrillers. I remember us all reading the Deadly Sins series by Lawrence Sanders. And books by Sidney Sheldon. There’s an image in one of them I still can’t get out of my head.

My mom is a big fan of cozy mysteries and an avid reader of our blog. She’s introduced me to as many authors and series as I have to her. Years ago it was Lillian Jackson Braun and Dorothy Gilman, more recently Joann Fluke and Diane Mott Davidson. I’ve, of course, introduced the books by all the Wickeds and so many other friends. (A signed book makes a great gift!)

It’s something we will always share.

Readers: Who instilled a love of reading in you?


61 Thoughts

  1. Reading was more of a survival tool for an extremely dysfunctional family life (I basically raised my siblings starting at age 2).

  2. What a sweet post, and the pics of your mom. We made a lot of treks to the library too, especially in the summer. My mom would let me check out as many books as I could carry, which may explain my now freakishly long arms, haha! Both of my parents read quite a bit. I discovered Mrs Pollifax with my mom and Agatha Christie with my dad.

  3. Both of my parents were big readers–my mother read historicals and romance novels, and my dad read books on history and sports. My mother used to take us to our small town library once a week, and it was a treat. Although she’s still around, my mother gave me her collection of Emilie Loring books, novels that were categorized as romance but always included a mystery of some kind. I read them over and over and learned a great deal about plotting and characterization. Now this is my job. Thanks, Mom!

    1. I almost mentioned Emilie Loring in this post! We had a shelf full of them but were given away over the years. I looked Emilie up yesterday. She died in 1951 and the books we had were most likely written by Elinore Denniston according to Wikipedia. I’d never heard that!

  4. My mom was also the one who made me a reader. We did not have many books at home but visited the library several times each month.

  5. My father was the reader in our family. When I was growing up I never saw my mother read anything but magazines. Daddy was the one who read to me at bedtime and the one who got me hooked on big historical novels. The only mystery novels I remember him reading featured Perry Mason.That said, I think I read every girls’ mystery series available in the 1950s . . . and there were a lot of them, both at the library and at Woolworth’s.

  6. My mom always read to my sister and me and took us to the library when we were young. She was never as voracious a reader as my dad, though. As I got older and my love of mysteries developed, he would read the books I bought or brought home from the library. He was always disappointed if I brought home a “love story”!

  7. Mom and Dad and my Aunt Eleanor were all readers. I would ask them what the letters were and then the words when they were reading to me. I had read all the books in the children’s part of the library before I went to school. Luckily the librarian – love them – let me try other books. I haven’t stopped reading since.

  8. Both my parents were huge readers. Mysteries and historical novels, mostly. We had a houseful of books, including three encyclopedias, and went to the library a lot. Sometimes in the summer my mother had to kick me out of the house to play – so I took my book outside!

  9. Great photos of your mother, Sherry! She looks like an amazing woman. It was my mother as well who instilled a love of reading in me. My most cherished memory with her is our bi-weekly excursion to the bookstore, where she would tell me my book budget (1-2), how often I should check in with her (I grew up in the 60’s), and then send me off to peruse. She would review my selections but rarely censored and then we would go out to dinner. Joyfully reading while we ate. Happy sigh!!!!

  10. I learned to read at a very early age, thanks to my mother. She used to tell me that when we drove anywhere together, I would read the road signs and highway markers to her (I think I was no more than four years old). She always had books around, but she was partial to historical novels, which never clicked with me. But I could pull various books off the shelves and dip into them–nothing was off limits. BTW, my mother and grandmother would swap the historicals between them because they shared that preference.

  11. My father was responsible for my love of reading. I’m pretty sure Mom read to me and she always supported my “habit,” but it was Dad who introduced me to classics, mysteries, new authors, and really pushed me to expand my reading boundaries.

  12. I’m not really sure. My mother wasn’t much of a reader, and daddy mostly read the newspapers and magazines. In fact, my mother thought reading was a waste of time because if one is reading, one isn’t “doing” something. She was a bustler. I think I turned to books to tune out my mother 🙄. Now I would rather read than do just about anything else even tho’ I’m a very active, adventurous person. Whatever, I’m so grateful for groups like this that keep the stimulation going! Thanks for being here and taking the necessary time to make it happen.

  13. My parents already read to me as a kid. That continued long after the toddler years. Mom used to read aloud to us after dinner as the rest of us cleared the table. And she’d read aloud in the car on family vacations, too. Every week, we went to the big library downtown (there was another library in town, but this one was closer). So my love of books definitely came from my family.

  14. My whole family were readers, parents and grandparents. I have lots of pictures of the extended family at the beach, multiple generations all with books on their laps.

    Hi to your mom and thanks for being such a fan of the Wickeds!

  15. I’m really not sure. My mom enjoys reading but when I was a kid, she was busy with my 2 brothers so maybe I read to escape the noisy little brothers? Who knows LOL! I just can’t remember not liking to read. I’d leave the library with as many kid books as we were allowed and have them finished the next day if it was summer time. The older I got, the longer it took me to finish 😉

  16. My parents say that I was reading when I was two years old and I haven’t stopped since. Neither was a fiction reader – they read on antiques and local history and the newspaper – but they just accepted that “Shari always has her nose in a book” and never tried to change me! We always had stacks of old books around and I was allowed to read anything.
    I love the pics of your mom – easy to see where you get your smile!

  17. My Mom was the reader in the family and loved history, art, architecture, biographies and especially mysteries. She escaped from us four kids in her books sometimes–we would be yelling, “mom? mom?” and would have to run and find her–oftentimes sitting and reading 🙂 We had a lot of books in the home, but we also went to the library often, and joined the summer reading programs. My older sister was more of a voracious reader than me, as is one of my daughters.

  18. I come from a family of readers…not just my parents, but grandparents, too. Even my aunts and uncles were readers although some of them mostly read magazines. There were great magazines at the time…Life, Look, Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest to name a few. My mother would take me to the public library at least once a week and I still remember the smell and the light that came in from the high windows shining on the stacks and stacks of books. My school libraries were also wonder-filled and I had an elementary librarian who actually turned me on to Madeleine L’Engle books and I thank her so much. I think she is the reason I wanted to become a librarian to help others find books that interest them. Also, my parents subscribed to the Highlights magazine for me…that was great fun!

    1. I just read A Wrinkle in Time a couple of months ago. It is amazing. I can still remember how the old library in my hometown smelled — of books and wood from the shelving and card catalog. And Highlights magazine was the only good thing about going to the dentist!

      1. Sherry, it was at the dentist office that I first read Highlights and liked it so much that my mom subscribed to it for me. I forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed “meeting” your mother in the photos here. She is a lovely lady with a beautiful smile!

  19. What a great post! Both of my parents were great readers. Someone always had a book open and all the bedrooms had at least one wall of books. I learned to read at age 2. Only because my father who read me the Sunday funny papers, refused to read Prince Valiant. I think it was a plot though because I remember him helping me sound out the words. Mom read us children’s books, but Dad read us something from the Book of Knowledge every night. He expected us to be curious and learn.

  20. How wonderful. My mother gave me my love of reading and my dad paid for it, lol. We had Golden Books, Dr Seuss, National Geographic, Encyclopedias, you name it here when I was growing up. I got my library card when I was 4 and feel in love with Beatrix Potter. From there I moved to whatever covers caught my eye. Cozies came at a time I thought I was done reading due to cognitive issues. It helps that their covers are delightful since I still have that horrible habit of judging books by their covers. Mom used to read from a German fairy tale book that had amazing illustrations. That is what pulled me in.

  21. Definitely my mother who instilled the whole reading thing in me. I stopped playing with dolls in second grade and wanted books. Nancy Drew, mostly. My other set the example by reading-a lot! As a matter of fact, when we wanted to do something we thought she’d say no to, we’d wait until her nose was buried in a book. She usually just said yes without looking up!

  22. My parents. I’m old enough ( born 1946) that there was no TV in our home until I was 5 or 6. A luxury beyond the reach of a couple only married 2 years with a little child. (Grandparents had TV what a treat!) Both my parents read every evening — although I don’t remember what they read. If a “family story” is true, visitors found Mother holding day old me and reading all the “welcome to the world” cards out loud. She always read to me before I figured out/ memorized the words so that I could read myself. But honestly,I can’t remember learning to read or time before I could read. Thank you, Wickeds, for providing me more stories.

  23. What a lovely, lovely tribute! I owe my love of reading to my parents, too. You’ve reminded me to thank my mom for that. xoxoxo

  24. My mother always read to us until she was hoarse, but it wasn’t until my sister started reading a Trixie Belden book to me and then got busy that I was got hooked on reading for myself. Shortly before my granddad passed, my parents moved in with my grandparents. It took a few years but all those books became too much for my grandmother to resist, so it was mother her got her mother to discover the joy of reading, even if it was late in life.

  25. I had an undiagnosed hearing problem in Kindergarten that made me fall behind. Thankfully I had an awesome 1st grade teacher who caught it. After I got tubes in my ears she worked with me one on one until I caught up. If course I did not stop there and instead surpassed the other kids. My love for reading just never stopped after that until now I work at my local library and I still read constantly. 😄

  26. This post warmed my heart and made me think of my granddad. I can’t remember not reading! He had a wall of books in his den with shelves and shelves of what I thought contained information about everything you could ever want to know. I could have any book I wanted, and we belonged to so many Book of the Month Clubs! We spent hours and hours reading books. Like others who posted, my mom would let me check out as many books as I could carry at the library every week. I still have my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books from my childhood, and they have withstood 17 years in the hands of my fifth grade students. They think it’s cool to read a book that had been read back in the Stone Ages! 🙂
    God bless,

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