Monday, April 12, 2010

Who Was Your Biggest Reading Influence?

Who were your biggest reading influenes? What did they do that helped you to discover a love of reading?

I actually have to thank five people in my life who were the biggest influences in my reading and for many different reasons.  I'm not sure how much of the nature versus nurture theory I believe, but as a teacher, over the years, I've definitely seen how much of an influence parents have over their children when it comes to reading and the development of a love in reading.  I have had students who were born and bred on books from the moment they were conceived, and students who admitted they didn't open a book until they entered elementary school. 

My own childhood was surrounded by books.  My mother is an avid reader and pretty much had a book in every room of the house.  I am pretty sure that is where I developed my habit of reading several books at once, and having a book on the go in pretty much every room of the house.  It took my husband quite a while to even get used to that idea.  I don't even remember a time when reading was not encouraged, and trips to the library were a weekly event, with hours spent there.  My mother was known to read until the wee hours of the morning, and she always watched television while reading a book.  And my husband wonders where I picked up that habit?!  She also encouraged me to read whatever I wanted; the concept of censoring books did not exist in my house.  I was a strong reader and probably read things I shouldn't have at a young age, but I outgrew Nancy Drew at a young age and needed something to challenge me.  I was reading adult lit at ten years old.

My grandmother also encouraged me to read, but all she had in her house was the old gothic romances, and I have to credit her with my love of that genre.  I still enjoy reading it today and look for it whenever I am in the library.  It's not as easy to find as it seems.  She preferred that I read, hoping that I would be a good influence on some of my cousins (didn't happen), rather than watch television so she could watch her soaps.  I look back and find that hilarious today!!

I credit my ninth grade English teacher with introducing me to historical literature (I read a fiction story on the young life of Will Shakespeare) as well as science fiction.  I read The Chrysalids in her class and was immediately hooked, reading through the gamit of whatever I could find on Sci-Fi at that time.  It was not as developed as it is today, but there are some incredible dystopian novels from that time.  The House of Stairs still sits on my bookshelf and when my husband suggested I sell it, I almost had a fit.  He backed off quite quickly and hasn't mentioned it since.  Smart man!!!

Grade 12 was the next grade that had a great influence as I was introduced to some great Canadian Literature.  It was the year of Can Lit and although I was apprehensive as I had heard the class was boring, I was intrigued as well.  Well, it was NOT boring and I found some great Canadian writers.  I was introduced to Stephen Leacock, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood to name a few, and thus began my search to read as many Canadian authors as possible.   I actually credit this teacher with broadening my reading repertoire in general as he introduced me to some other great literature outside of the classroom, to some novels he thought I'd be interested in and voila!, a whole new world opened up before me.  I read Rebecca that year as well and it has since become one of my favourite classics, along with Pride and Prejudice.   I went back one year and thanked this teacher for being such an influence on my reading and on my life.  He was amazed at that, as sometimes as teachers we don't always know how much of an influence we have on our students.

Then, along came The Fionavar Tapestry.  I was introduced to Fantasy in grade 12  by a good friend.  Guy Gavriel Kay was one of the first Science Fantasy writers I read, then Raymond E. Feist, and another world opened up to me.  More money, more time, and hours of reading enjoyment.  Pug remains to this one my favourite heroes and magicians, despite the hundreds of books I've read since then.

Reading is such an important part of my life and I would love to gift my children with it as well.  So, when I find books in the bathroom, the living room, and the kitchen, and they aren't mine,  who am I to complain?
My children are reading!

A big thanks to Reading With Tequila for this idea. 


  1. My mom was the greatest influence. She wanted to be an English teacher, and to this day, she has an excellent vocabulary and knowledge of grammar. She read mysteries every evening. My father read in the evenings, too, but he enjoyed science fiction, history, and politics. We were not very well off, so we rarely did anything such as go to the movies or eat out. Instead, we went to the library for books, and reading was our entertainment.


  2. Reading was such an important part of my life and I too, spent a lot of it at the library. I am amazed at how many children today have never stepped foot in a library or even a bookstore. It's a pity!!

  3. I am one of five children, so you can imagine how EXHAUSTED my parents were each evening! They sent all of us to bed at 8:00 each night.

    They said we didn't need to go to sleep, but we had to be in our rooms (they REALLY needed the peace!). Mom suggested we read, and a new passion was born in me!

  4. My parents were the greatest influences on me. Our house was filled with books of all genres. There was always at least one book sitting dog-eared on the coffee table and another on the end table, flipped open.

    Like you, Nancy drew really sparked an interest! Lol

    then, in high school, a teacher told me I was a talented writer. And that was the beginning of an exciting journey. My mind is always full of stories; new ones are sparked by seeing or hearing something--or by dreams.

    I'm still an avid reader. I can't imagine not picking up a book or reading an e-book. Reading is so engrained in my life. It's relaxing, relieves stress, and always exciting.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
    bestselling Canadian author

    PS: I hope you'll check out my novels (paperback & e-book). You'll find a dash of sci-fi in Divine Intervention and The River. :-)

  5. Naked Man, I do that to my children too and I only have two of them. I don't know how your parents did it, I am in awe.

    Cheryl, Thanks so much for visiting my blog and I will definitely be checking out your books. I am a staunch supporter of Canadian fiction and non-fiction, something ingrained by my 12th grade teacher.

  6. My parents were my biggest reading influences. We may not have a had a lot of money for toys, but I can't ever remember asking for a book and not getting it. My mother reads four books at once, and has an MP3 player just for audio books!