Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reluctant Reader

My daughter married a wonderful man. He's good, kind, loving, hard-working, a sincere Christian and a blessing to our family. However (and there is ALWAYS a forever), as with any character I have created, he has one fatal flaw that I can mention - he doesn't like reading.

This is fatal, because when we get together as a family it is not unusual to see bodies draped on chairs, couches, laying on floors, all ..... reading. He wanders around, trying to con someone, anyone, into playing a game, watching a movie, anything. The first time he came over and witnessed this very ordinary event, he looked around the living room and said with a faint note of desperation in his voice, "Does everyone in this family read?" We can't understand this lack. Our family loves reading and we indulge often.

Every Christmas I give the kids the same gifts - something to read and something to wear. The latter part of the equation hasn't been difficult for me and my son-in-law; it's the reading part that has had me stymied. Last year, I got him a subscription to a magazine, but I felt as if I was patronizing him.

Then my daughter had an inspiration. A year ago I had bought them the book, Marley and Me, because the dog in the book reminded me so much of their own fun-loving, but rambunctious yellow lab. She gave our son-in-law the book, and he read and enjoyed it because he could connect with this story. He understood these people and their dog. He read it to the end and he started asking if I had other books he might enjoy. so we found him a couple.

Sunday afternoon was a joyous moment in our home. We were ALL sitting in the living room, draped on furniture, reading. The room was blissfully quiet, only broken by an occasional question from him about the story he was reading and the sound of pages turning. We were at one with our reading and with each other.

What I am trying to glean from this is how to make that connection, as a writer, with my own readers. How can I make them not only want to pick up a book, but to read it to the end? These are the things that editors also wish they knew, and do publishers and distributors - so I'm not alone. As for my son-in-law, well, we have volumes and volumes of potential books for him to dive into and enjoy. I'm looking forward to the journey.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

My sister-in-law used nicknamed my birth family "The Reads" for exactly what you describe above.

Could we be related?

Maybe we should organize a "Read" family reunion.

My sister-in-law also described our family's version of a card game as five people playing solitaire.

Reads do share juicy or laughter-inducing paragraphs and some great discussions and debates.

Deborah

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