Fairytale News | Growing up as a reader.


'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.

I got awesome responds on my discussion post, where I talked about being embarrassed because of the books you read – and why you shouldn’t be! The comments made me think of a new topic and today I want to talk about support from your surroundings.


Family/relationship.
I was born a reader. I grew up with a book in my hands and despite the fact that my parents aren’t readers, they always made sure I had enough to read. My mother took me and my sister every Friday to the library and I was always so excited!  I brought stacks of books with me and I went with a high pace through most of the books in my category. I'm very grateful for them, because they never stopped me from picking my own books. My mother always read bed time stories and when I was older, she even read books like Fear street to me, because I loved those, haha.

This is the reason I got to discover my likes and dislikes at an early age. I was pretty young when my mother took me to the adult section. Some books were graphic and shocking, but I didn't mind. I could always talk about it. I’ve always felt supported and that is how reading is not only a hobby, but also a passion. It’s the reason I became the reader and person I am today. My grandparents are also great, especially my grandmother, who always shows interest in the books I'm reading or buying.

The same for my boyfriend. He always listens when I’m overwhelmed by feelings. He doesn’t get it, but at least he pays attention to me and that’s a great feeling. My sister is a special kind of reader: she collects cookbooks and is always with her nose buried in them to find new ideas (I don't mind, I get to try everything, haha.)

School/Friends.
I think school does a great job in trying to demotivate to read. First, they always pick books many people dislike and that doesn't help. I wish they picked more books from now to show that reading can be fun. (I did read a lot of books I liked though. I discovered my love for Shakespeare) And I also hate how teachers just assume that every student hates reading.. It always frustrated me! It's not a FACT.

When I grew up I didn't have many friends. I got bullied, so I hardly talked about it - I just wanted to blend in. Secondary school was much better though, but we just had fun and shared other things. My friends now a days are cool. We all have our own things we like and we talk about it. So when it comes to friend, I've never had readers - until now. All my blogging friends! :)

How about you? Were you a reader when you were little? Is your family supportive and are there other reading family members? Did your parents every forbade you to read certain books? What about your friends while growing up and your friends now?


64 comments

  1. I've wondered too why schools pick books that many people will dislike. Do they honestly think that high schoolers will like classic adult books? I wish that they would mix in some awesome YA required reading in English courses. Someone might discover they love the genre cause it's awesome =D

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    1. I think it's important to keep the classics there, but spicing it up with YA would appeal to more students!

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  2. I wasn't a reader as a little child, but I got into reading in middle school and have never stop. Thank you Harry potter! Yes, that series truly got me into books. I started reading them in 8th grade. My mom is a big reader like me and over the last few years I've gotten her to read some of my YA books and she has liked a few! My friends aren't really into books like I am, but one of them will read one every once in a while on my recommendation. Like you, blogging is where I can really discuss books with people who love them as much as I do! Everyone else around me besides my mom doesn't really understand my love for books. They tend to get a true look of confusion when they ask me "Why do you read?"

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    1. Harry Potter, the best of all :D It's great that your mother is a reader and that she even reads YA! I hate that question..

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  3. This is such an interesting post. My reading journey really took off in 2nd grade. My teacher had tons of books in her classroom and I just couldn't wait to have free time so I could read. We also had library time so I was able to pick up several books to take home. I don't think my mom has ever made much of an effort to take us to the library because it has always been there in the school. My parents are supportive of me and my sister reading, but I don't think they really understand why we do it. They don't pay much attention to the books we are reading and when we start a new book. That is why I'm so glad to have my sister to talk about all the books I read with her. As for my friends at school I have always been friends with several readers and a couple not readers. The nonreaders don't really understand and my reader friends read such different books that we could rarily talk about the books we were reading. They understood my reason's for reading. We constantly recommended books back and forth and had fun relating in that aspect.

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    1. It's great that your school promoted reading that way and I'm happy that you have your sister to talk with! :D And even some reading friends, lucky you!

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  4. I feel like I'm the only person who actually LIKED required reading in school, haha. Maybe I'm just a really big dork, haha. My parents were definitely very supportive of my reading when I was younger. And I was mostly allowed to read anything I wanted, which I think is a great way for kids to discover and learn about the world. I sure learned a lot of things from books growing up...especially because of reading adult books before I was probably "supposed" to.

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    1. I didn't hated the books, but I think most people do.. Making it more tempting by switching up genres would be a good idea! Yes, me too :)

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  5. I only recently became a heavy reader, I never loved to read that much. In elementary school, I HATED reading. Lots of people read around me but I always scoffed and said that it was stupid (past shelly is a monster, I know) but I really enjoy it now! My parents/siblings are still mostly unsupportive of my blogging/reading but at the end of the day. they don't mind as long as I'm happy. I was never really banned from reading anything and now, my family can be seen with ereaders in hand but it's been a battle haha. My friends are mostly supportive but I'm pretty sure they get annoyed of me sometimes because I love discussing books with them even when they're less than enthusiastic. Thanks for sharing & great discussion!

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  6. I have always been a reader... I have to blame one of my former friends (our relationship didn't work out, so we aren't close now) for inspiring me to become an even better one. In the first grade, she was always reading these chapter books, and I got interested in those chapter books. What happened next was a huge shelf full of Junie B. and years of begging my parents to buy "one last book" for me.

    Your parents are a lot like mine. They don't really monitor what I read, not because they are irresponsible but because they know that if I read anything that makes me feel unsure/shocked, I will come talk to them about it. While my parents do have beliefs that I don't personally agree with, I love them for allowing me to form my own opinions and beliefs (even if it might have been unintentional...), instead of keeping me from things that go against their way of thinking.

    Haha, my friends are pretty easygoing about the whole me being a bookworm thing. We all have our own little quirks and we respect that. There is a fair amount of poking fun at each other, but it never becomes offensive. So yeah, being bookish has never been a big problem for me, unless you count the random people who are sort of obnoxious.

    Great post, Mel!

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    1. It's great how you started out as reader. I'm sorry to hear you aren't close any more, but it's worth something that she touched your life in such a a way :) I'm happy that your parents let you read every thing to! I love poking fun at each other :D

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  7. I've never been a reader when I was a kid. I had a very short attention span so I always prefer playing, watching movies, and just goofing around. Though my parents were never readers, they always encourage me to read and read because they believe that said hobby would be helpful in school. But I never understand why could anyone sit down for hours just reading books. I thought it's a hobby for genius people only.

    But everything changed when I got to high school. I have a friend who's a book nerd through and through and she introduced me to HP. She literally forced me to buy books 1 and 2 and I bought them just so she could stop nagging me.

    And then I read the two because she just wouldn't stop pestering me until I gave the books a try. After reading the Chamber of Secrets, that was the turning point of my life. I suddenly got addicted. Well, at first, I wouldn't read any book if it's not Harry Potter. But as the months go by, I gradually branched out to different books. Aaand that was how I became an obsessed reader.

    As for the school selection books, I just hate them. All of my English teachers are hellbent on making us read classics including Shakespeare. Good for you for getting fond of his works. I've never been because I don't like the writing style and that I have to spend minutes or hours just to get the meaning of one sentence alone. Hahahahaha.

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    1. I like how your parents still tried to get you into reading :) And a lot of people changed because of Harry Potter, makes me so happy to see that! Shakespeare certainly isn't the type of stuff you read before bed time :p

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  8. The friends I had in high school didn't read. None of them. I wasn't comfortable admitting I read until college. All through high school I never really read any books for pleasure. Such a bummer. As I got older and became my own person and not so much a teen that wanted to fit in I started talking about books left and right. I see some teen book bloggers and I am so happy for them. I am glad they read and are enjoying it and I wish I had.

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  9. I was always a reader. My parents would have to come by my room multiple times at night to tell me to stop reading and go to sleep. In elementary school, my school librarian would even give me new books to try before putting them on the shelf. My parents were really supportive with buying me books when I wanted them.

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    1. It's great that you were asked for your opinion by the school librarian :D

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  10. Great topic Mel:)
    Anyway,I am blessed with a family which encourages my reading habit.Neither of my parents read much,but still they are really supportive.My whole family,my cousins,grandparents,uncles and aunts make sure that I get the books I want on my birthday.
    My friends don't understand my passion,but they are supportive too.They always listen to me when I rant about my books and blog.

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  11. There's always at least one classmate that states that I really like to read every year. As if I haven't been proving that for the past five years.

    My mom doesn't really approve of my reading, because books are expensive. But she didn't complain as much when I was younger, but that was mostly because I was still happy with our school library.

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    1. I always see books as an investment :) I'm sorry she doesn't really approve of it!

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  12. I swear I didn't realise you had written a blog post on this before I wrote mine - I wasn't stealing your idea! lol I've definitely been a reader from a young age and I used to love my trips to the library as well! Always a highlight. I was very lucky in that I had a great English teachers who encouraged my reading and introduced me to books and authors I never would've found otherwise.

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  13. This is a great post Melanie, I used to always like visiting the library when I was younger too, my sister in comparison didn't like going. I was quite lucky that we moved houses when I was a little older, so I got to visit a different library (I seemed to tire of the same books that my other library kept). I've also been lucky that I made a great friend whilst at uni who introduced me to some great new books and she definitely got me back to reading when things were stressful with studying. :)

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    1. Haha, that is a fun way to look at moving houses!

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  14. Oh wow, that long already? I wasn't into reading when I was younger, & honestly? I loathed it. It looked like I missed out the fun, glad I tried reading again. I'm so happy that I'm in love with it. Shocks, I'm so sad to hear about that, but I'm happy that you have real friends this time. :)

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    1. Funny how many book bloggers used to hate reading when they were younger! Yes, I'm happy about that too :)!

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  15. My family is full of readers..mostly because my mom is a librarian and pushed reading good books all the time!

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  16. Families encouraging you to read is great. My mom said too much reading was bad for my eyes. For a time there I had to use my lunch money to buy the books I wanted that the library didn't have because I wasn't supported in my reading. My father though loved to read but he was always reading Tom Clancy and those types of books I had no desire to read (they were divorced tho).

    As for school I agree with you that a lot of the books chosen in middle school and high school especially do NOT appeal to most young kids and teens. They choose things like The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, The Lord of the Flies, Black Boy, and so many other books that I think while yes they are good do not really appeal to the young readers. I too wish that they would make the reading curriculum focus on some hot new releases to really grab the interest of the teens. Unfortunately, I think those books being in the curriculum are around to stay. I have heard of some teachers being able to bring in newer books but the process of getting them approved is so hard on those teachers from what I hear.

    LUckily at the High School I was at there was a Science Fiction and Fantasy Book club that encouraged us to read and helped us pick books and was fabulous but that was an after school club. Schools just don't have the money and resources to indulge the creative side of kids these days.

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    1. I'm sorry that your mother wasn't really supportive. At least you can make up for it now right? And I know and I understand that it's hard to bring new books into the system. I think it's great to keep the classics, but it would be fun if they let more creativity in.

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  17. Great topic! I've been reading for as long as I can remember, haha. I remember how my parents used to read me a bedtime story every single day of the year. (Als ik het me goed herinner heten die boeken '365 ...verhaaltjes voor het slapengaan'. Geen idee of je ze kent, haha. En ineens naar Nederlands switchen voelt best raar O.o)
    I think schools could definitely try to put some more modern books on the list. We're really supposed to just read the classics/'literature' (although I think YA can definitely be literature) and I think it's really demotivating. I mean, so far this year I've read more than 120 books, but none of the books I read 'willingly' are on the list. I just wish that they would encourage reading more, because this way it seems like books are all boring and dusty and old and that reading 'isn't cool'. I call bullshit on that. Reading is fantastic and I wish more people knew that.

    As for friends, I don't have really many friends but the ones I have are pretty amazing. They all read, although not nearly as much as I do and all different genres. I am definitely the person who reads the most, but they respect this hobby and were happy for me when I freaked out over certain ARCs and auto-approvals and all that jazz, even though they had no idea what an 'ARC' even is, haha. And I've found so many great bookish people through the internet. It's amazing to know that there are SO MANY people out there who love reading as much as I do and I'm glad I found this online community <3

    Great post, Mel!

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    1. YEEES! I remember those books. I loved them. My mother used to read those to me all the time :D

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  18. When it comes to my family nobody really cares for reading. I had quite a lot of freedom when it came to books, I read what I wanted, whenever I wanted. The only time my mother got concerned with it was when I showed her a book full of short stories and the first one was about a teenage prostitute that tried to quit the job. And that story was in my English textbook. She restricted me from reading it but forgot about it after 3 days and I went back to my schedule.

    I remember in primary school I had a friend with whom I went to the library every single Monday. I would give back and take out 5 books every week, he would do the same with 2. After primary school I never saw him again though. In secondary school I did absolutely no reading. For three years I've been in a "slump" and I didn't have time to read or the energy. In the first year I just couldn't be bothered. In the second year I started training handball and 5-6 trainings per week did the job of consuming all of my time. Do I regret that I spent so much time on that sport and non on reading? Nope. I think is should have been reading during the weekens though.

    A year ago I moved to Scotland and if I'm to be honest, I think the people at school make fun of my reading habits behind my back. They ask me what book I'm reading but you just see on their faces it's because they're ready to report back and discuss what a nerd I am (and I'm not. God, I wish I were. Keeping up with homework would be so much easier.). But I don't really care about that. There's still my lovely school librarian and my blog, which helps me develop the passion for books. And I intend to keep at it in university as well as I applied for English Literature. Should be fun ;)

    Anyway wow, that's kind of an essay. Have fun reading it lol

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    1. First of, thanks for sharing your story! I love reading all the comments :D

      It's great that you could always read what you wanted :) How fun that you had a library mate! There is indeed no reason to regret that, you've been other things you loved. Making fun of other people is something that will never change *sigh* Good thing you have your school librarian, blog (and us :D)

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  19. My parents were never big readers, so I never got to experience books and stories properly until I started school. After that, I used to manage to convince my mum to take me to the library every now and again, but it wasn't until I was a few years older, when I used to go there myself or with my sister, that I really fell hard into the world of books. I was never forbidden from reading certain types of stories though - I always just assumed my parents didn't realise that there could be things that were inappropriate for me (and I never made a habit of telling them either), so I was pretty free to read anything that I could get my hands on. And I do agree with you about school. I can't think of very many of the compulsory novels that I was made to read in English that I actually enjoyed. I much preferred everything else that I could find in the library. None of my friends are readers (at least not to the extent that I am), which is why I appreciate the online community so much. I wish I knew you all in real life. :)

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    1. It's good that you were free to read whatever you wanted - even when your parents weren't informed about possible 'inappropriate' things. Yes, I wish we could be one big book club so we could meet in real life!

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  20. This is so cute! My mom was actually a big reader, but she's only read books in arabic so we never actually read the books she does. I think my sister made me get into reading, because she would read, and then I wanted to read with her too as a kid. As i grew up to the age of 10 i think, and my sister was 16, she gave me all of her old books, and I was really happy. I started reading more and more, and then got into young adult later on (MEG CABOT BABY)!! My mom loves that we read, and I'm glad I have my sister to talk books with. I have a few real life friends who like reading as well. Don't worry Mel, we're here though if you ever want to talk books!! *hugs*
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. Awhhh, how cute that your sister was a role model when it comes to reading :D *hugs* I know you are! That's what makes this whole blogging thing so awesome.

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  21. I've loved reading ever since I was a kid, which probably isn't a huge surprise to my parents since they've been reading to me since I was born. I still remember my mum and my aunt reading picture books with me when I was three to help me learn English!

    My dad is also a big reader and we've always shared that. However, he tends to prefer non-fictions (like my nana) and is always trying to get me to read more. I do, once in a while, but frankly, I'm more interested in my stack of fantasies.

    Both my nana and my aunt are readers too. My nana likes to read non-fiction as well but when she does venture into fiction, it's always a mystery. And my aunt, she reads practically anything. She's always telling me about how learning is endless so she reads books on absolutely everything to gain knowledge. It's always interesting for me to hear what she's learned from her latest book.

    So yeah, I definitely grew up surrounded by readers and I like that! My parents always encouraged me to read and supported my reading. The only thing about having people who are passionate about books too is that they're constantly trying to get you to read books that they like. And often, our tastes clash so it's a bit of a battle at the bookstore when I'm wanting to pick up the latest Sarah Dessen or whatever and my dad wants me to get a book on World War II.

    And after hearing stories from many bloggers about how their friends don't appreciate reading as much as they do, I have to consider myself lucky for having friends who do like reading too. They're not as passionate about it as I am so they probably won't get my enthusiasm when it comes to ships but they understand my love for the written word and that's awesome! It's great to have people to talk to whenever I read something that blows me away.

    But even so, it's so comforting to have this entire community of people who love books as much as I do. That's one of the best part about the blogosphere: never running out of people to talk to about books. And that's really why I'm so happy that I started blogging. I wouldn't have met all these wonderful people otherwise!

    And I know I'm writing a lot (sorry!) but I just have to say one more thing about school. I do agree with you that school has generally demtoivated people to read. I think it's good that they're assigning books to read but honestly, the books are all so stuffy. And definitely not something that would appeal to a non-reader. I think teachers should provide some more space for students to pick their own books or ones that may relate better to the students.

    Anyway, great post Mel! You brought up some great points that had me thinking (if you couldn't tell...)

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    1. Yeay, thanks for leaving such a long comment! I love reading all the responses <3

      I've always loved it when people read books to me. It's great that they used it to teach you English! I like how your aunt sees books as way of learning, because they do contain much wisdom. Haha, funny to see the other side of growing up in a family with many readers. I can see how it could 'clash' sometimes, but at least they are supportive :D It's great that you are also surrounded by reading friends!

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  22. This post is all kinds of wonderful! I loved reading about your growing reading experiences. Library trips were always so much fun for me too and I read quite a few adult books (although Christian) growing up. Really, I don't remember that many kid books. And I smiled when you mentioned your boyfriend, because even though he doesn't understand all the feeeeels, he tries.

    And I'm so, so happy you joined the blogger community <3 It's a great place to be!

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    1. Thanks Sunny, I loved sharing it! Haha, yes, he tries, but often he looks at me with questioning eyes. "It's.. a book, Mel." Haha.

      I'm also happy I did <3

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  23. Fun topic, Melanie! I am always curious as to where all of us bookish people picked up their love to read, or how! For me, it was the same-my parents. My dad loves to read and my mom hates it but she also took me to the library almost every week :) I feel like schools can still pick "educational" books while picking entertaining ones, you know? Classics are great, but there are some awesome jems from this century too.

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    1. YES! It's not like the only good books were written years ago. There are so many good books out there that would appeal to many more students.

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  24. I love your story Mel. It reminds me a bit of mine. My father was a huge reader. I remember every Sunday my dad would take my brother and me to a used bookshop in town. He would let us get as may books as we wanted, but by the next week, we could only get the exact number we read from the previous trip. Lol. This was a great motivator for me bc I would be determined to read my entire stack (no matter how huge!) asap. But then, my trickster of a brother (who didn't care for reading, couldn't sit still) would cheat and say he read them when he didn't. So my dad started asking us to explains the books in detail. That's how I got to read super fast while still comprehending the subject matter. I've loved reading ever since. I was never discouraged to read certain things either. I think that's super important. It's how I figured out what I really liked. I spent so much time at the library. Especially during my middle school and HS years, I remember finding so many weird random books I would just go with it and ..wow, what adventures.
    I wish school would pick more interesting books too. And oy, you like Shakespeare too! What's your favorite? We gotta chat sometime ;)

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    1. Oh, that is an awesome way to motivate your children to read :D I really like that idea! And haha, your brother is a clever one isn't he ;) I think my favorite is Macbeth, with all the creepiness, but I also like the Merchant of Venice because of Portia :D

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  25. My family was a great influence on me being a big reader! My mom, my aunt and my grandmother were both really big readers and they always used to buy me books and take me to the library. When my aunt passed away last year (which was really really sad and heartbreaking of course) she left me and her mom her big stack of books. It's a great feeling to have inherited her personal library, that way she is still a little with us when we read her favorite books. The only person in my family who doesn't read is my dad and it frustrates me haha. I'm always trying to get him to read but he just can't focus when reading so he never finishes. I wish I had reader friends in my life who I can discuss books with! For that I'm very thankful to have found the book blog community!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt :( It's great that she is with you through her books.

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  26. I really loved reading this post Mel! I adored how you described yourself as being 'born a reader' because I think the same is true for me :) Some of my earliest memories involve my mom reading from pop up books of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty! As I grew older my mom would regularly treat me to bookstore visits, always willing to buy me 3-4 books...she was and still is an avid reader too so I guess she could relate LOL My grand-mother always was reading something or another as well: cookbooks, almanacs or magazines! I think both of them really shaped who I am as a reader today :) As far as friends go, I have a few who read, but they've always been much more leisure about it than I am haha. Back when I was in school I remember the same thing too. I didn't talk about reading much to other kids either though.

    Oh and good point on the books that are often forced upon kids at school - man we have to read some really looong,crappy and boring books in school! Sure there were some good ones in there sometimes,but not as much as you'd need to encourage kids to read more! Wonderful post Mel ♥

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    1. Pop up books are the best :D I love seeing how many of you got started because of your family.

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  27. I started reading as a child as well! :) And I never looked back. My parents encouraged me a lot as a child but now they think I spend way too much time reading and should cut back a little :P :P :P
    My mom was actually one of the reasons I started reading, she used to be a reader herself, she doesn't have much time these days though.

    School is a weird situation because some people read books but really, I always feel like no one understands, they really all the best sellers or what is 'in'. Like around the time The Hunger Games movie was being released, everyone was reading it. I am pretty sure no one really appreciates the art of reading in the same way I do. Or maybe I am just being a snob. :P But seriously, I don't think ANYONE I know really understands what reading is like for me.

    Lovely post Mel! :)

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    1. Hahaha, you can't read enough :D! I think it's hard for some people to understand the passion we feel for books if they aren't in love with it like we are!

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  28. Love this follow up post! I've been a reader since I was little. The earliest books I can remember reading were The American Girl Doll stories. I read those like nobodies business :) I definitely got the reading bug from my mom. She was in fact the only other reader I knew growing up so we would read the same books - Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, Harry Potter. But I hit a huge lull in college until my final year when I read A Song of Ice and Fire and The Wheel of Time series. And it wasn't until I graduated that I started on this reading frenzy.

    In terms of friends, I obviously have Ashley, although we didn't discover our mutual love of YA until a couple years into our friendship (probably bc I didn't read in college). And I FINALLY converted my best friend. She was actually just telling me how she read about 74 books this year and that number would have been 0 just a year or two ago. But really my blogging friends are the most significant in terms of who I talk books with.

    And I think school reading is a big reason why so few people read. I HATED required reading. Most of the books we were forced to read were not enjoyable. They definitely need to update those reading lists, or at least mix it up a little bit so kids can realize that not all books put you to sleep.

    Great discussion!

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    1. Dan Brown and Harry Potter are awesome books to read together :D It's great that you have Ashley as reading partner and that you converted your best friend!

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  29. Love this post! I've always been a reader and I think the earliest book I've read was Goodnight, Moon. My parents encouraged it at the beginning, discouraged it somewhat as I was growing up because I read an insane amount, but now I think they're okay with it. It's been a habit of mine to read and I don't think I'll stop anytime soon.

    A lot of my friends read but I have some that don't. I respect their decisions but I think some of them might be picking up a few books here and there now, which is always good! :)

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    1. I don't think I will EVER stop. I respect everyone's decision if they don't want to read too, but I think reading is very benificial :)

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  30. I read as a child and my parents were very supportive. My parents forbade me from going to see R-rated movies, but books were okay. In fact, I remember very distinctly my mom giving me Catcher in the Rye to read years before we read it in school. Part of her childhood was spent in NYC and so the setting and characters resonated with her and she wanted me to experience that too.

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    1. I can understand that movies might be forbidden. Some can be so terrifying.

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  31. I've always been a reader and was lucky enough to get to go to the library with my parents every week (our day was Tuesday) where I could pick out whatever and as many books I wanted, as long as I could carry them all! Thanks for allowing me to reflect back on that time.

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    1. You are welcome. I love reading everyone's story.

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  32. I loved reading this, and especially reading about how supportive your family has been for your love of reading. That part was the same for me - while my mom doesn't like reading that much (my dad does), they both always took me to the library, where I took two library cards so I could get twenty books at a time, haha. Like you, I was born a reader, and have always been reading a lot. My friends in high school liked reading as well, but never as much as me. And that's fine. This is why I'm grateful for the blogging community. Nothing better than talking about books!

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    1. *High five born reader!* Haha, I sometimes got to bring books on my mothers card too. I'm happy you are also supported, but I'm definitely grateful for the blogging community :) Finally people to talk about books we have in common.*

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