How did you get hooked on reading?


“How did you get hooked on reading?” I asked a few friends and this is what they had to say.

M said:

Perhaps because I’m an only child books were ever-present friends and I immersed myself in them from an early age. My father was an avid reader and he introduced me to his library when I was young, encouraging me to read what he felt were age-appropriate selections from his collection. I now have his library integrated with my own. He favoured Canadian and British authors and anticipated new publications from favourite writers. He particularly enjoyed historical novels such as those penned by Thomas Costain and Pierre Berton, authors I could read when young and revisit later on and appreciate differently. I was always given books at Christmas and on my birthday, this still being my fervent request. The women in the book club to which I belong have eclectic tastes. Some of these women either are British or married to Brits. Because of this my horizons have been expanded to include authors I might not have readily found or gravitated to. And so my passion continues to be fueled.

And what, Darlene, sparked your passion?

I was an only child on a farm in Saskatchewan—isolated and lonely—for many years before my sisters came along. Mom and Dad were poor so I had few toys and fewer books. Little Lulu comics were a huge treat and I poured over them endlessly. (I wish I had kept them.) Once in a while Dad had a little extra money and he’d buy the big fat edition. You can imagine my delight.

Then I started school in the one-room school house and discovered books. I read all that the little book room at the back had to offer and then read them again. Moving to the city brought the miracle of the bookmobile that came to our corner. But, there was a problem. I could only take out 3 books at a time. I’d pick 6 or 8 that interested me and then agonize over which 3 to take.

Now all these years later, I still prefer books to all other forms of entertainment.

One child with no books, another surrounded by them and both become avid readers. Perhaps the need to read is within the child more than the circumstances.

And those who come to reading as adults?

A said:

A friend came to visit my husband and me when we were young newlyweds. She brought along a woman from France. Over dinner, the discussion turned to books. I hadn’t read them, but I’d seen the movies. I realized during the conversation that I missed so much by not reading. I felt my understanding was inadequate. I wanted to read, to catch up. I asked the women what to read. There was a second hand book store a block away. We went over and the French woman began pulling books off the shelves. I went home with a brown paper bag full of books, pulled out Crime and Punishment and began to read. I haven’t stopped since.

P said:

I came to reading late in life. As a child, I hated books. My mother had died; my 14 year old sister was taking care of us. My father was away a lot, and when he was home, he hid behind books, rarely interacting with us. Books, his refuge, were my nemesis.

We were poor. I had no shoes to go to school in. My mother’s family had a business—a trading post type of store. We kids played in the sandbox with the family silverware. My schooling was limited to grade five so reading, for me, was not easy. Years later, when my husband was ill, I needed an escape from the care giving. My daughter-in-law found books that were easy to read and at the same time interesting. I read one, then another and another. Now, reading is a pleasure I wouldn’t want to be without.

And you? What’s your reading story?


19 comments on “How did you get hooked on reading?

  1. I was the last child of five and my parents were older by the time I arrived. I was never read to but had access to books. I remember one book – it may have been the only one I had – it was about a young girl who loved ballet but she developed a paralysis then she worked to dance again. I read that book over and over again. Then in junior high I discovered biographies and began reading about Annie Oakley, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and many more. Those were my inspirations and made me a life-long reader. I’m often amazed when people say they don’t read anything. I always feel sorry for them. Thanks for post and the walk back down that old and worn memory land.

  2. Sounds like the move was a lucky one for you. I’m not a fan of horror at all and don’t like fantasy either, but do read the occasional crime novel – if it’s good and my books are “soft” sci-fi – not technical sci-fi.

    • Oh, I like hard sci fi.

      I’m quite a math and physics whiz(I have a brain the size of a small universe, but I don’t like to brag about it :P), so I enjoy reading the explanations to stuff and trying to figure out if it’s actually possible.

      For example:
      Have you heard of a Mexican mathematician named Miguel Alcubierre?
      Famous for basically inventing the math behind warp drives, and paving the way for physicists the world over to start thinking about colonizing other worlds.
      I first heard about him in 2007 or 2008, despite the math being around since 1994.
      How I first learned about him was because I started taking high school physics, and was discussing with my teacher about a theoretical warp drive shaped like a ring around the starship, powering it forward at a slow 5C, though the true speed limit would’ve been the rate of universal inflation during the first second after the big bang(I called it the speed limit of space time).
      My “design” would’ve required a giant fuel tank like the space shuttle’s to move about 100 metric tonnes of ship to produce a one way “jump”(a single powering on of the drive) to the edge of the milky way(about 5000 light years), or about 4 of the said tanks to allow 50 metric tonnes of ship to make a two way trip from the same distance.
      then this little piece came along(, basically inflating my ego to lunar proportions.

      The NASA scientists came up with a similar ring shaped design, a 10C speed limit(though they theorized a 10^8C speed limit), and a fuel mass the size of jupiter to propel the thing(An improvment over alcubierre’s own designs, which would’ve required the entire mass of the universe be turned to energy to move the ship).
      Later, however, the equations showed that a net mass to energy conversion of one voyager 1 craft(around two metric tonnes) would be enough for a one way trip.

      • Trust me, you wouldn’t want me doing anything that high level.

        I have a tendency to procrastinate everything to the last possible second, and while I do know my math, I lack any interest in the actual calculation, so anything that requires even the lightest number crunching is basically off limits for me.

        I haven’t read Sawyer’s works, but that isn’t surprising, since I went down from roughly 8 books/month to about 4 books/year…

        And to think I once dreamed of reading every fantasy and sci fi book ever written.

        Oh how naive I was 🙂

  3. I lived on a farm, and although I had younger brothers, I felt lonely and out of touch. I stayed overnight at my Aunt and Uncle’s place in town.They had a bookshelf which fascinated me. They let me read one of the books on the shelf and I was hooked.

  4. The ever-present cry from my childhood – get your nose out of that book and go out and play. But I couldn’t – I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read. It all began to make sense when my daughter started reading – I found her reading the side of a cereal packet when she was 4, and she asked me the definition of riboflavin!

    • LOL our stories are parallel. I heard that cry too. My mother told me to dust. I did with one hand swiping around the ornaments and my book in the other hand. Of course she made me put the book down and do it all over again. Love the story about your daughter – sounds very much like my granddaughter. She’s a book lover too.

  5. My love for books (novels by James Hadley Chase and Nick Carter) started in senior secondary — a bit late, I guess. But before that time, I was interested in Marvel and DC comics. I remember saving up some money just to buy a few. I still have one on my bookshelf — just for the memories.

  6. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t fallen on my head at age 7. Hours later I had my first seizure, Small town Saskatchewan in 1955. So my parents drove me to the nearest hospital in the next town, 9 miles away, and they kept me in the hospital for two weeks for ‘observation’. (That wouldn’t happen nowadays.) I had another seizure in those two weeks, otherwise I might have been declared a healthy 7 year old. So they put me on phenobarbital pills (until I was 14) and told my parents not to let me run around too much or get too excited. Then every summer I until I was 14 and was declared ‘cured’, I spent 2-3 weeks in Saskatoon hospital for ‘observation’. From those experiences, several things happened. I never did learn to throw a ball properly. I could tell which nurse was coming down the hall by the sounds they made walking. I read most of the Reader’s Digest Condensed books as my parents had a subscription and one arrived every month.
    I became very good at being alone with my thoughts and my imagination. Still am. And I became a reader. Still am.

    • More similarities, Karen. When I was five my parents took me to the nearest town to see the doctor because my knee was swollen and I couldn’t straighten it. I had rheumatic fever, spent 2 weeks in the hospital several months in bed, (finished grade one with honors from my bed)> I then wasn’t allowed to run or jump or skip or ride a bike for another year. My mom said I was a normal kid until then, but after I became a non-athlete and a book worm. I too can be quite happy with my own thoughts and imagination, but I can’t imagine being without books.

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