The Secret Club of Readers

“I don’t read,” said the woman seated beside me on the airplane, her tone decidedly dismissive.  “Just don’t have the time.” 

I made some small murmur of acknowledgment, and clutched my paperback protectively, worrying a bit lest it overhear the words of someone who was obviously so misogynistic toward all things bookish. 

“But that one,” she continued, inclining her head toward the young girl curled into the window seat, her long blonde hair falling over the open pages of her book, “she’s always got her nose in a book.  Don’t know where she gets that from!”

So how does that happen, I wonder.  Despite all the studies regarding the importance of reading to children, that a child could be a bookworm in a home where there is “no time for reading”?

The girl glances up and meets my eye.  We smile sympathetically, sharing the secret that is the power of reading, knowing we’re part of a special fraternity of readers the world over.

16 thoughts on “The Secret Club of Readers

  1. People are different. It isn’t true that the apple never falls far from the tree. It does quite often, or turn out to be a plum. And then it’s a good thing if the tree appreciates the fineness of the different variety.

  2. That is so precious! But I get it – as much as I love reading, some people just don’t get it. To them it’s time consuming and not worthwhile. I’ve never felt that way though. What makes up the difference? Who knows. I just wish I could share the gift of reading with everyone – it’s absolutely magical.

  3. Haha, this one hits home in such a funny way. I am a devout reader. Obviously. I have a book blog. Heehee.

    My mom on the other hand absolutely detests reading. Really. Hates. It. She rolls her eyes when she hears me talk about reading and always chides me and her best friend (also a huge reader) when we run into one and another at her house and discuss books. “Why are you talking about books in my house?” she’ll say emphatically!

    But. Here’s the thing. My mom also worked at a school and although she has never liked to read, she knew the merits of reading and education. Thus, she would encourage me to read when I was younger: we would read together ,I would participate in the reading challenges at my elementary school, we frequented the library, and for rewards I always got books.

    I don’t know if I would love books as much as I do if Mom didn’t lay down the foundation. It’s pretty interesting how things end up, huh? :))

  4. Oh that’s so sweet. I can definitely relate (like with Christina above). My mom isn’t a reader at all, but my aunts (dad’s sisters) are, and they’re the ones who influenced me and my sisters. My dad also bought me books when I was little a lot. When I was in college, my mom would go around garage sales and hoard boxes of books, whatever she could get her hands on, and give them to me. I discovered many wonderful writers that way. She never reads still, but it makes me tear up how much she came to appreciate how much I do. 🙂

  5. Hopefully, she had a teacher somewhere along the line who didn’t just pay lip service to reading. I used to take children in my classes along to the local library because I knew there was no chance of their parents doing so. Once you’ve got them hooked…. Among the most satisfying events in my teaching career were those occasions when children came and recommended books to me instead of the other way round. You really knew you’d got a confident reader then.

  6. I have it the other way round. No one could possibly model more reading to their child, but my son isn’t keen at all. Until he was 12, I read to him every night, usually for about an hour. I did it just because I loved doing it. Ah well, I can only hope the urge will come to him one day!

  7. Don’t you love when you meet someone for only a tiny particle of time. It’s more a crossing of paths than a meeting. You know you’ll never see them again, but something passes between you. You described it perfectly.

  8. I like the idea of a reading gene and there is something in it: some people enjoy reading more than others and being ‘addicted’ to reading is something you don’t ‘learn’, as litlove says. One of my son is addicted to reading is never seen without a book, the other one is an occasional reader and reads mainly non-fiction if he does read at all. They were both read to and encouraged in equal meausre, I’d like to think….

  9. I love this little story! And good for the girl with her nose stuck in a book. I think we were all her, once. I know I was! And I still am. Maybe we should form an online book club: Women With Their Noses in a Book. 😀 Thank you for sharing this tiny conversation with us!

  10. My mom didn’t like reading very much, but she encouraged me to read. Kids made her nervous; if we were reading, then we were quiet and out of her hair. As a bonus, she knew where we were. Great parenting tool Luckily, I happily went along…and I’m still going strong.

  11. Like litlove, the reading gene skipped my kids. I read to them from the time they came home from the hospital until they were quite old – my daughter was 12 when I stopped reading to her. And now, they laugh when I say “come to the library with me!” Oh well. Maybe when they grow up…..
    I can only hope. I think love of reading is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life.
    And what better place to read than on an airplane!? Time…. flies!!! 🙂

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