I am a book lover. I don’t read anything high brow you understand, but I love books and love reading as a form of escapism. I have been like this for as long as I can remember, other than during a few years following A Level English Lit, where reading for pleasure had become an impossibility. I looked forward to sharing books with my kids when they got old enough and was even optimistic enough to imagine that we might have some mutual favourites. Favourites from my day (yes I know that makes me sound about 75) included Malory Towers, Judy Blume, the Ramona books, get the idea. In a nutshell being transported to a fantasy world that I could relate to or at least quite liked the idea of being part of. As you might have guessed by now, this is another aspect of Motherhood that hasn’t gone according to plan.
Whilst neither boy has any problem with their reading ability, to them reading is a chore not a pleasure. The first thing younger boy does before being asked to read anything is to check how many pages it is. He will then try to strike a bargain to read the fewest possible words. How I long for a book-worm, who will sit quietly for hours and get lost in a book.
A while back I accepted that this wasn’t going to happen, we’re all different, right. However, I still believe that it is one of my many duties to try to instil a liking of books. I sometimes take them to the library; in the Summer I even persuaded them to sign up for a reading challenge, unfortunately they refused to return after they had signed up. My mission however is not over. Whilst I recognise that I cannot force my boys to become avid readers, I cannot give up hope of fostering some sort of vague liking.
On Sunday I actually had a small triumph. I found a book token that younger boy had won at school for a project (yes it was a fluke, projects are another weak point in our world). I came up with the idea that I could take him to Waterstones to choose a book. I swung between negativity and the belief that he would somehow find a game or toy that he wanted instead, and the hope that he might actually find something, on the basis that he has inherited the shopping gene from me. We looked at several books and after much deliberation, he decided to buy a book called The Bolds by Julian Clary. We had a result and indeed whilst it has not been unputdownable to him, he has read three times this week which in my book counts as progress.