Saturday, January 2, 2010

Becoming a reader...

I wasn't a big reader as a child. No, that was my older sister, not me. I was too busy climbing trees, making forts in the woods, playing pick-up baseball games at the field down the road. I couldn't sit still long enough to read a book. I hate admitting that, but it's true. My sister, Robin, read enough books for both of us. She could be found curled up in the corner of the couch reading at any given moment. I didn't really understand her love for books or maybe I envied her or perhaps I wanted to be her opposite. Who really understands the dynamics of siblings? From my experience with my own three children, it seems they seek the attention of their parents and are willing to do just about anything to their brothers and sisters to get it.

My love for books came much later, when my first child was born. I bundled up Justin and strolled him to the small town library in Whitinsville, MA, for our weekly book fix. I had discovered the children's book room and, with Justin in tow, devoured most of them. Quickly it was apparent that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to write for children. Starting with some very bad made-up stories, I began to write off and on as my kids were growing up. It wasn't until I met my mentor, Anita Riggio, at a writer's retreat and took her workshop, that I began to write the story I was meant to write. More about that in a later blog.

Now, I read mostly young adult books with a sprinkling of adult books mixed in. At the moment, I'm reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie. It's an honestly brutal, yet hilariously funny, coming-of-age story of a Native American teen trying to rise above his sad circumstances on an Indian reservation. Arnold Spirit Jr. is an intelligent misfit born with physical problems, who wants more out of life than what the reservation can offer him. Clearly, Sherman Alexie is painting a picture of the struggles American Indians face in this country, and does it with a very poignant and original story. If you are looking for a book that is hard to put down and will keep you giggling, then this one is not to miss.

On my bedside table, I have about four books waiting to be read. Have you read any good books lately?


  1. I loved to read as a child, but also loved being outdoors running through the woods. I guess I was somewhere in between my two sisters. ;)

    Love the pic!

  2. I read when I was a kid, but I was such a slow reader that I usually just held and thumbed through the books. I was probably reading too advanced for my age.

    I just finished Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O'Nan. About the night before a mid-Connecticut Red Lobster closes. It takes place 4 days before Christmas, so it was a good time to read it. It's short, but very engrossing. I'm also slogging through Roberto Bolano's epic 2666. Maybe I'll finish that this year, maybe next, we'll see.

    Great blog Laurie. Rock on!

  3. Did I like to read when I was a child? You bet I did! I can still picture the Morristown, NJ public library where I spent hours of my young life picking out books to read and devouring them as fast as I could. My favorites I read over and over. Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, The Little Lame Prince, Marjorie's Busy Days. I could go on and on. Laurie, thanks for bringing up the subject of books we read as children. I'm having fun remembering all those books I loved.