We are a family of book lovers.
After 10 years abroad, when my family returned to India in the late 80's we brought back nothing but a PC and several boxes of books, much to the amusement of our extended family.
The little flat I grew up in had books everywhere, and I would read anything I could lay my hands on - age appropriate or not. So along with Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse, I would read Tennessee Williams and George Orwell.
Novels, short stories, plays. Humour, crime, biographies, social commentaries. Old classics and modern tales. I wasn't picky, I read them all.
I read with an obsessive intensity that normal teenagers applied to the pursuit of their latest crush. My mom often used to say that I wouldn't hear a bomb going off near me if I was reading. And while there has never been occasion to test that statement (thank goodness!), I think she might have been right.
Moppet's Papa and I are polar opposites in practically every way. We would've been the poster couple for the phrase 'opposites attract' but for the one thing we have in common - our love of books. As a young DINK couple with a modest lifestyle, we were always puzzled at the sorry state of our bank accounts at the end of the month until we realised how much we were spending on books. Of course, the realisation merely put an end to the mystery of the vanishing money, not the spending itself!
So it is our fond hope that Moppet will grow up to love reading too. She showed some promise of being an early reader at around 4 months, as you can see in this picture here. And then of course, she decided it was something to eat, and the moment was lost :-)
Since then, she hasn't been particularly interested in books other than to chew on, tear, bang on the floor, or sit on.
But we have persevered. For the last 3 months now she has been taking some interest and will sit with me for 10-15 minutes while I read to her.
And then last week, I discovered that she actually has a favourite book. It is...(drum roll, please)...The Gingerbread Man! She can identify this book from among the stack of about 10 odd books that sit on a little table within her reach. If I ask her to bring me a book to read, she will methodically go through the stack, dragging each book onto the floor, until she finds the one she wants - and it is ALWAYS The Gingerbread Man. And that's not all. We always have to read it twice, sometimes more.
To say I am delighted is to flirt recklessly with understatement. I only hope that this is not a passing phase, and that she will continue to explore and enjoy the wonderful world of books.
Because, to quote Emily Dickinson,
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away.