Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Book-Loving Family

When Chris first started kindergarten and his wonderful teacher (now Kieran's teacher) encouraged all of the parents to read to their children at least 1/2 hour a day, Mike and I chuckled to ourselves. It was a very unusual day when we didn't read to Chris for well over an hour or more. Even though Nicholas doesn't get as much book reading in as he would like to, with two brothers to compete with for attention, he regularly appears, books in hand, and say "Read a book!"

A child who doesn't love books would not fit in very well in this family created by two English majors and bookaholics. I realize that not all boys are book lovers...in fact, I remember when I was 16 and my family took a wonderful 6-week cross-country adventure. My sister and I were ensconced in the back seat with a huge stack of books, reading all the way across country and back. My brother sat in the front seat between my parents, staring out the window. He was never much of a reader. (I remember hearing that he tried to convince his high school English teacher, who had been a favorite of Nadine and mine, that he didn't need to read the books to pass the class. I'm sure she couldn't believe he was our brother.) In those days, I recall my dad reading mostly nonfiction and the newspaper. (Now he has become a fiction reader and my parents have been very active in a lively book group for many years.)

We truly have a book problem in our family--books overflow out of every room, it seems, and in our storage nooks in the attic. We habitually have 50 to 100 items out of libraries of two counties--Multnomah and Washington. I realize that we could have far worse addictions than book reading and collecting. But it's really gotten out of hand!

Chris and Mike have discovered a young adult book author called Rick Riordan. He writes fantasies based on Greek mythology. As Mike was a big Greek mythology fan as a kid, it's the perfect combination. He recently surprised Chris by getting tickets to a book reading in Portland by Riordan. (He had to go to the bookstore a few days before to get them.) Riordan has become quite the craze among the grade school and middle school set, so the reading was very popular! Chris was ecstatic when Mike told him about it.

Here's a photo of dinner the night before, when Mike presented Chris with Riordan's new book (39 Clues) and told him about the book reading:

Mike recently discovered a photo of the reading on Rick Riordan's blog:

Those two must have some lucky book karma, because they won the raffle for a t-shirt! (Last year when they went to the final Harry Potter release party at Annie Bloom's, they also won a t-shirt!)


Chris wearing the t-shirt and showing off Riordan's autograph

BC (before children), Mike and I were constantly going to Powell's to listen to all kinds of authors read...Anne Lamott, TC Boyle, and Kazuo Ishiguro are a few of the names I remember. A few years ago, I took Mike to see John Irving at a Wordstock appearance (it was a Christmas present). The last three authors I remember seeing were at Annie Bloom's, Mem Fox [children's author], Ruth Ozeki and Chris Bohjalian. (They were all great, but Chris Bohjalian was, hands-down, the best author appearance I've ever attended. He really seemed like a genuinely nice guy, in addition to being a great writer. The other day Kieran and I read a Curious George book that Bohjalian very nicely autographed for him when he was 2--because he was waiting in line with me to get my books signed!)

One day, I will return to those regular author readings! And with any luck, I'll accompany my very-famous husband as he gives those readings! :)

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