Friday, February 10, 2012
When Did You First Fall in Love, with Books?
I feel a little silly sharing this video and writing this post after all the great, deeply researched, and courageously shared posts by my fellow Mayhemers lately, but this has been on my mind, and the video is fun! So I'm writing it anyway.
First things first, I love this parody, because this guy, whoever he is, is so fearless in his love of Harry Potter, and is not the least bit uncomfortable rocking his nerd card - hard. That's inspiring to me, because when I was young, and especially in middle school and as a teen, I was often ashamed of my passion for things like books, dungeons and dragons, and imagination in general. It just wasn't considered cool to be into those things, and I often got called nerd - or worse.
This guys has no such fear, and I really love it, because now that I'm old, I feel the same way. Books are cool. Imagination is cool. Expressing yourself is cool. I'm so glad that culture has changed enough (many thanks to Jo Rowling for being a huge part of that) that my kids are very popular, and yet also very bookish.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about falling in love with books, and poll our readers to hear their stories too. Before I get to mine, I just want to talk about the part of this video that really inspired this post. The nerdy singer guy is cool, but it was something else that made me write this post.
The wand battles are very cool, and look like so much fun, but there is this scene at the end, after 3:30, where the little kids leave some books on the porch of an even littler kid, and it's like he's discovering this amazing new world of fantasy and adventure, and you just know his life is going to change forever - for the better. I'm not ashamed to admit watching that kid pick up that book and fall into it's pages makes me cry, just a little bit, every single time.
I think Jo Rowling gave the world a beautiful gift when she gave Harry Potter to our children, but it became even greater than the sum of its parts when our children gave it to us. I have a very cool, and slightly embarrassing story about how I came to love Harry Potter, but it's not for this post.
Today I want to share with you about how I first fell in love with books. I was the middle of three children, with two sisters. My dad was the stage manager for the Seattle Opera, so he was rarely home, but when he was, he often shared his love of books. He and my mom had this huge California king-sized bed, and it was so big our whole family could fit on it. My sisters and I would snuggle between mom and dad, and dad would read to us - from The Lord of the Rings. I remember like it was yesterday the first time I met Frodo and attended Bilbo's birthday party, and to tell you the truth, my heart has never really left Hobbiton. Like George R.R. Martin, I'd forsake heaven, as long as I could end up in Middle Earth.
The first book I read by myself (that I can recall after picture books and early readers) was the Hobbit, a natural progression after falling so in love with Tolkien's work. I was absolutely engrossed. I got the read along illustrated books, the Rankin-Bass production on betamax, everything I could get my hands on that would allow me to continue the dream. Technically, I was a bit below middle grade reading level at the time, probably about 7 or 8, but the point is, once I fell in love with books, I never turned back. Making that connection between a book and a young person is what it's all about. It's why we write for children, I believe.
When did you first fall in love with books?