Little Readers

I was a Reader as a kid, and I always hoped my kids would be as well. And they do like reading, although it’s not the kind of obsession it was for me, the kind that makes you sneak a book onto your lap at the table or stay up late with a flashlight under the covers after bedtime. It’s more like something they are WILLING to do, eyeroll, when I force them to put their screens away. But at least there is some reading going on around here pretty much every day, which is good.

I guess I needn’t have worried about it so much because in addition to my history as A Reader, I also have a sordid history as A Book Buyer. It’s my absolute weakness. I will wear shirts with stains and holes in them, I will wear shoes until they crack and fall apart, I will deny myself all manner of treats and bling, but put me in a bookstore, and I am WEAK.

Observe my house:

The horror that is my bedside table backlog. Not shown: overflow pile on the floor.
The horror that is my bedside table backlog. Not shown: overflow pile on the floor.
My husband's bedside table. These were all gifts from me.
My husband’s bedside table. These were all gifts from me.
There's a bookshelf in my room...
There’s a bookshelf in my room…
And one in each kid's room...
And one in each kid’s room…
And each kid's floor kind of looks like this...
And each kid’s floor kind of looks like this…
And we have some overflow hidden in some cabinets here and there...
And we have some overflow hidden in some cabinets here and there…
Plus my basement looks like this.
Plus my basement looks like this.

It’s a Situation, is what I’m saying, but possibly a good one. If there’s ever a Zombie Apocalypse, we’ll be able rebuild society based on my personal library of Every Classic Children’s Book Ever.

The only other shopping weakness I have is this:

crayons (Small)


Here’s what’s being read around here these days:

Captain Jelly Belly, age 13 – The Alchemyst series by Michael Scott; also, although it is a bit below his reading level now, he’s only just discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and finding it HILARIOUS – I think the dark, dark humour in those books is maybe best for this age level.

Gal Smiley, age 11 1/2 – Gal Smiley is the closest we have to a real Reader in that a) she can get so lost in a book that we have trouble getting her to come to dinner or go to bed, and b) she re-reads favourites over, and over, and over, and over. Also, this is totally beyond my comprehension, but she often has about five books on the go at any given time and picks them up randomly, which would drive me NUTS. Right now she is re-reading the Kane series by Rick Riordan (having just re-read the entire Percy Jackson series for the THIRD TIME), plus she’s working her way through Frank Cottrell Boyce’s entire works (including Millions and Sputnik’s Guide to Life), plus she just got Scrap City by D.S. Thornton from the Chapters because it was the thickest book she could find in the 9-12 section. Also, she has several graphic novels on the go at any given time – right now it’s the Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis.

Little Miss Sunshine, age I-turned-9-years-old-yesterday! – Together we are reading the Nancy Drew series at bedtime, and on her own she’s working her way through the Mermaid Tales series by Debbie Dadey, the Stink books by Megan McDonald, and the Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel series by Dana Simpson.

What are you reading this summer? And what are your shopping weaknesses?

10 thoughts on “Little Readers

  1. smothermother

    The jellybean does enjoy reading a lot. Mostly graphic novels, and he will reread them over and over and over… He never got into Geronimo unfortunately. Is just finished the first of the Percy Jackson books and is well into the second. And there is a series of French graphic novels calls “Monstre Allergy” that he has really enjoyed. And the Amulet series too. And MegaMan manga. I’m presently reading Stardust, on a small hiatus from the YA fiction that I seem to obsess over. There’s my weakness. YA fiction.

  2. I must admit I rarely buy physical copies of books anymore, mostly because I was tired of lugging hard covers around and because books are ridiculously expensive. I do “collect” ebooks though and I read a lot!

    But I had many many books in France and so did my parents. I guess I didn’t want to start all over again here in Canada, the traveler mentality, books are heavy and take a lot of room, and I was living out of a bag…

    Recently, I read The Expatriates (by Janice Y. K. Lee) which I absolutely loved. I also read The Assistants (by Camille Perri), an enjoyable ride, and before that… (as in three weeks ago…)… mmmm…. oh yes, a French thriller. I’m looking forward for the last novel by, she is awesome.

  3. Books! I, too, have had SO many bookshelves but I’m getting rid of them, one by one. I’m less and less attached to physical books (and I like having space more and more).

    I’m re-reading some books I had kept because I thought they were THE BOMB and finding I now feel meh about them (the dangers of having my own books edited to death – I now see all the places these books should have been edited more).

    This year both my older son and I got Kindle Fires so we can access the library’s ebook collection on our Kindles. The Fire is $49.99 US if you have a nice friend in the US you can ship it to them and get them to ship it onto you (which I did). Or there’s Ogdensburg. For that you get an entire tablet – fully functional – which I haven’t TOUCHED, because I truly only bought it to access Overdrive. It means we need a lot less physical books in our lives, we can get new books anytime, anywhere, and our books are never overdue.

    Having said that, Scholastic catalogues are my weak point. My son brings them home and circles everything he wants and I pretend to recycle them, but I secretly place orders with his teacher and pick them up from the office and, for example, at the beginning of this summer I handed him an entire box of books he had chosen. He’s been head down, nose buried ever since.

    I’m OK with some physical book buying because we have a “Book Bonanza” cupboard in our books where books go once we’ve read them. They then go into school in May and are re-sold, and help to raise $14,000 for our school, so it’s all good!

    Right now, my big reader son is reading The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, by Kate Hattemer, my younger son is alternating between Archie comics, Pokeguides, and many, many Star Wars and Lego books, and I am mostly trying to finish my draft of my own novel, but squeezing in reading mostly by starting books and not finishing them when they disappoint me (a little sad, that).

  4. I love books.But when we moved into this bungalow I banned the purchase of more books because, seriously, we simply do not have the space. And the dust….omg. Unfortunately for me, I’m the only one who sees the dust, and whom it seems to irk (and I really, truly hate dusting).

    Lucky for us, the Toronto Public Library is walking distance (literally a block) away from us so the kids got their own cards the day after they were born, practically. They are off to the library as often as twice a week now and I’m totally on board with that.

    With the technology today, we don’t feel the pain as much anymore as we would have pre-internet to own physical books. I still love to browse in bookstores, but we simply don’t buy anymore.

    But we do read. A lot. My youngest in particular has a very advanced reading ability and her current interest is anything disgusting (bugs, places, paranormal…). The boy finished the Lord of the Rings, and is into Harry Potter now. And I love me a good mystery pretty much anytime. Robert B. Parker is one of my favorite authors, but I have many others. And don’t get my started on cookbooks…

    Happy reading!

  5. Oooh, I love this. I’m a huge reader and also a book-buyer. I do use the library, but I end up buying a LOT of books. Also my MIL gives me a stack of books that I’ve requested at Christmas. I just finished reading The Nest and am currently re-reading What We Keep. The biggest reason I buy books is that I am a real re-reader. I love coming back to favourites. My other shopping habit is yoga tops. Seriously I have so many that it is now bordering on insane. But I’m going to be a teacher soon so I need lots, right?

    I love that you have all those Nancy Drews. I was never a huge fan, I preferred Trixie Belden and the Bobbsey Twins. I regret getting rid of my huge Bobbsey Twin collection. REGRETS.

  6. Carly

    By far my favourite childhood memory is of sitting on my best friend’s porch, in the summer sun, while reading Nancy Drew novels all the live-long day. We read them over and over again – along with the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, the Little House books and more.

    J and I loved booked so much, we started a library in my bedroom for the neighbourhood kids, complete with pockets in the books for the borrowing cards – remember those?!?

    I kept my Nancy Drew collection (all the books were brand new) and have all but 3 books from the set that was published in the early 1980’s. My parents moderately rued the day I discovered second hand bookstores as I regularly came home with 20+ books at a time. I probably averaged about 1 novel per day as a kid/teen and now I probably read about 1 novel every 3 days.

    My eldest is almost 10 and while he rarely gets totally lost in a book, he is a great little reader. He loves the Diary of Wimpy Kid books and will reread those over and over again. He’s very suspicious of anything new though, so it takes a lot of convincing to get him to try new books, much to my dismay.

    The four year old desperately wants to be just like his big brother so even though he can’t read yet, he regularly begs us to read him his brother’s chapter books. He doesn’t seem to care if they have pictures or not!

  7. I’ve been on a big Ellen Raskin kick. Can you suggest any modern-day writers like her? She’s about mysterious puzzles and vivid characters – plus a whole lot of zany and wit.

    1. OMG, I adore Ellen Raskin. I read all her books when I was about 13 – highly formative years and she is my writing idol. I still have them all – they’re mostly out of print and although they are super tattered and worn they are treasures.

      I recently discovered an author called Kate Racculia who is also an Ellen Raskin fan, and her writing is lovely and moving and somewhat puzzle-esque as well. She wrote This Must Be The Place which I highly recommend, and more recently she wrote Bellweather Rhapsody (spelling intentional!) which is even more of a puzzle/mystery with an actual ode to Ellen Raskin at the end.

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