Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Multifarious readers

My children are typically drawn to books for older age groups, and ever since a certain incident happened when I was in first or second grade, I'm loathe to prevent them from reading (or listening to) books meant for older kids:

Me to the elementary school librarian: "I'd like to check out Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

School librarian nazi: "Oh no--Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is for much older students. You are too young to read that."

Me: "I've already checked it out and read it before!"

Librarian-who-wants-to-be-cop: "Sorry--you can't check that one out. Let me show you the books for younger kids."

Me: "No thank you!"

And so started my tradition of storming out of places instead of staying to argue to the death. I just don't have that gene--I wish I did. Alas, I'm a Murphy Brown wannabe.

At any rate, I shocked a coworker today when I told him that Kieran had read (or listened to, actually) all of the Harry Potter books by the age of 6. (He has two sons aged 3 and 5.)

Kieran's made wonderful progress in his reading this year, but his tastes are way beyond his reading level. And he is literally HUNGRY for literature, so right now I'm in the middle of about six books with him:
  • Some kid private eye novel we started ages ago and haven't touched for awhile
  • Harriet the Spy (haven't touched this for some time--I think I was enjoying this more than Kieran--it was one of my childhood faves)
  • Alice in Wonderland (had to be returned to the school library)
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Marvelous Land of Oz
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (which we just started this evening)
Each night that he asks me to start another book, I have to stifle my "But we haven't finished the last one we started" thoughts filling my brain and my mouth. I have never been one of those people who can read several books at once. The only exceptions are reference books or perhaps nonfiction books, with a novel going on at the same time. NEVER would I read more than one novel. It would completely screw up my sense of order.

Another reading quirk I have is that I like to read books in chronological order. Chris was trying to convince me tonight that we could read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw next, but that's not the next book in the series. If Kieran decides he wants to do that, I will have to cave to his wishes--after all, I'm just the reader. He's the readee. (I know that's not a word, but oh well....you know what I mean.)

Chris, too, reads multiple books at once. He's probably got about 20 going on at the moment, at least. Whenever we leave the house, he packs at least three books to take along. The take-a-book-everywhere-you-go part reminds me of myself, both now and as a kid. The reading-20-books-at-once part is definitely not me. I just can't understand how they can tolerate it. 


  1. I'm definitely a multiple-books-at-a-time reader. I'll be in the middle of something with the kids (currently Percy Jackson series), and two or three for me. I was given a Kindle as a 50th birthday present, and while I still value the heft of a "real" book, it's nice to be able to easily cart along a hundred titles at once!

  2. I figure, if they're reading, they're reading. And as long as I'm there for them to ask questions, it's all good. I can't read multiple books unless I'm in the middle of a really hefty one (like "Team of Rivals") and I need a break.