Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm SO Proud of my Young Readers

My daughter Madison is 9 years old. She is just about the most adorable, well behaved, and loving little girl in the world.

I wake up at 5AM every day and leave for work by 5:30 (I'm really not a morning person, so I usually shower the night before). It's a bit depressing sometimes, especially during the winter, how little sunlight I actually bear witness to.

Anyway the other day Madison asked me if I would please wake her up when I leave for work. Needless to say I was pretty surprised. When I asked her why she said that she wanted to get up early, before she had to start getting ready for school, because she wanted to have a little more time to read. Of course I quickly swallowed the lump in my throat and blinked away the tears that were threatening to well up behind my eyelids, but I told her of course I would.

She explained that her recent increase in her passion for reading was because she wants to finish the Harry Potter series before the final film is released. She said she wants to be able to compare the movies to the books the way her older sister, Kylie, and I do.

I can certainly relate to that.

Harry Potter was introduced to our family by my oldest daughter, Kylie. I mean I originally bought the books for her, but I assumed they were "kid's books" at the time and so I dismissed them as beneath me. Kylie showed me the error of my ways a few years later.

I'm not sure why it took so long to get Madison interested. Kylie had read all 7 books at least 3 times by the time she was Madison's age, but I think Madison having seen all the movies first reduced her curiosity about the books. That's a little sad, but no big deal now that she's getting into them. She was more of a Rick Riordan/Percy Jackson gal for years, and has read just about every book that man has ever written.

Kylie is even more out of control with her reading. She reads 2 or 3 books a week, can never get enough, and even gets a lot of free ARCs from her friends, The Bookanistas, because they love to hear what an actual young adult thinks about YA lit.

Point is I'm one damn proud father.

Personally I'm reading a lot more lately too. I'm actually currently reading 5 books. I'm reading Matched, by Allie Condie, during my lunch breaks at work. I'm reading a novel by a friend that has not been named yet but will be released this year (don't ask, because it's a seekrit) while I sit on hold on the phone at work (which is often). I'm listening to the audio book of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones, book one, by George R.R. Martin while in the car and while I do the mundane part of my job. I'm technically reading The Shard, by my critique partner, Ted Cross, but we're actually taking a break right now because he is on vacation. Then finally, when I lie in bed at night, I'm reading No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy.

I've always loved to read, but I've never been the fastest reader (unlike my kids). I usually only read around 30 books a year, on a good year, so this is actually a lot of reading for me, but I'm enjoying it immensely nonetheless. And the best part? So far this year I have worked on my the re-write of my novel every single week day. With the NFL playoffs looming there won't be much weekend writing for a few weeks, but so far it's looking like 2011 is going to be a great year in our house.

What are you all reading right now?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd heard No Country For Old Men is just a quirky as the movie. I'm reading a writing book by Orson Scott Card. Yeah, better late than never I guess! Glad your daughters are both into reading now.

Jessica Bell said...

That's awesome, Matt! I'm like you - a very slow reader. The maximum I've read in a year is 30 books too. I got all teary you talking about your daughter like that. How sweet. You are such a good bloke.

PK HREZO said...

THat is so fantastic your daughter is reading such big books. HP did wonders for kids discovering literature.
I just brought home a stack of older YA books from my parents home from when I was a teen. I've been perusing them all at different times and finding that even tho they may be outdated, the voice is clear and rich and just as engaging as when I was a kid. That's what makes a good story.

Heather Kelly said...

I'm in a slump right now--I'm rereading Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. It means I need to get to the library. I wish that there was something like netflix for books. I could keep a book as long as I liked, or send it back and poof. Another book on my doorstep. Hmm. Sounds a lot like a Kindle. I know what I'm asking Santa for--for next year.

But, sometimes I like rereading stuff and rediscovering what I liked about it in the first place, especially when I'm heavy into writing. I don't want to clog the writing/reading section of my brain with someone else's new stuff. Reading that back it sounds a little crazy. Oh, well. Happy Thursday!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That is so cool about your daughter. I love when my daughter really gets into reading.

I already read Matched and loved it. My daughter saw it and read it first. She loved it so much she'd be reading when she was supposed to be doing chores and my husband would start yelling at her to stop reading. I was saying Yea!

I just started Anna and the French Kiss and just re-read Need by Carrie Jones which I really like and want to read the rest of her series.

JE said...

That is so neat about your daughters! Emily never used to like to read until about two years ago. Then she got sucked in, and she's all the time telling me about the books she's read in the library and everything. It makes me happy.

I'm not reading anything write now. I do love to read, but when I'm in full-blown writer/editing mode, reading is the last thing on my mind. I'm a fast reader, and can slam a book in a day if I really get into it. But finding the time lately is the problem. Maybe during my next haitus, I just read. ;-)


Emily White said...

Aww! How sweet! I hope my boys grow up to be such avid readers. :)

Currently, I'm reading Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher. I usually read about three books a week (as long as I can get to the library). I'm a REALLY fast reader.

Tracy said...

I firmly believe the best way to keep reading alive is to make sure kids get how fun it is. Way to go, Matt, for being a breeder of book readers! ;o)

My goal this year is to read at least one book a week. I'm on my second book this year (ahead of schedule, yay) -- Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead. It's Sci-fi which is a little out of my norm for reading.

Kelly Polark said...

Your girls sound awesome, Matthew. My 8 yr old is an avid reader. She stays up til ten reading and I want her to go to bed but I also don't want to nag her for reading! My 11 yr old son was an avid reader (favorite was HP series) until last year which makes me sad, but he's picking books back up again thankfully and asking for them again for Christmas.
I just finished An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. My next is ON WRiting by Stephen King.

LTM said...

I'm a little like Madison. I saw all the movies, so I've only read the first book... and I really liked it!

I'm currently reading Shiver, and at 50 percent (I'll never get used to e-readers... NO idea what page that is...) I'm with you. Something better happen soon...

I've been reading like crazy, though. I've got to stop b/c I've got to do another crit~

You're making great progress! Keep it up~ :o) <3

Lola Sharp said...

My daughter (15 and a freshmen in HS) is and always has been an avid reader...and she's very popular, pretty and hip, not nerdy or bookwormish. And most of her pretty friends also read a lot. They all loan each other books and make recommendations to each other...even in front of their boyfriends. Which tells me that reading is actually cool among the teens, though, sadly, none of the boys seem to read for pleasure. They like their xboxes. (so do the girls)
Anyway, nothing makes me happier than hearing about our kids reading passionately. My hope is for more boys to read more...and for it to be 'cool' for them to do so. (seems like they don't get there until college)

I just finished Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and liked it very much. I'm about to read The Passage and a novel by one of my CPs.

Happy 2011, Matt. :)

Old Kitty said...

Yay for your young readers!! Of course you're one proud dad!!

If you think you're slow, I'm comatosed. I read UP TO *whispers* 10 books a year IF IT'S A GOOD YEAR for me - as in no outside hassles! LOL!!!

I am currently reading Cassastar and Katherine Webb's Legacy. Like a page a week each - not the books' fault - they're FAB - but that's just how slow I am.

Take care

Unknown said...

That's so awesome that your girls love to read! My 6-yo son finally started getting into the Geronimo Stilton books, so it's a start.

MATCHED was an amazing book, and right now, I'm reading NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer (it's amazing so far).

I'll also be watching NFL all weekend, but I'm already cringing at how badly my team will be beaten. :)

Christina Lee said...

AWWWW this made my heart SWELL!!!! I just finished MATCHED and now I'm reading ROOM!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

A passion for reading is one of the best gifts you can give your kids, but it's hard to do because really, you can also do by example. So clearly, you've done well, even if you don't read a massive number of books a year (although 30 is still pretty great!) I often read several books at a time, too. It's interesting moving back and forth between them.

Southpaw said...

That is so wonderful to hear.

Sarah Ahiers said...

that is awesome! Also, i guess i didn't know you had 2 daughters. dur on me.
How are you enjoying Game of Thrones?
Also, i want to thank you for introducing the Ranger's apprentice books to me. Because they are awe-some.

Colene Murphy said...

Simultaneously-reading-Matched-high-five! I thought I was the last one in the world to get to it!

That is so awesome to hear about your girls!! I wonder about the younger generations with all the technology vs books but it's really great to hear that it isn't lost to them!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm proud of your kids too! They have a great role model in Dad, obviously. And I WISH I read 30 books a year. Sadly, that is something I really need to get better at.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm reading the Hunger Games, The Lightning Thief, and Dead after Dark. I can't wait for my boys to grow up so I can share my love of reading with them.

Melissa Gill said...

That's great that your girls are so into reading. My 9 year old neice finally agreed to join Harry Potter world with me, and now she's seen all of the movies except the most recent one. I'm hoping this will encourage her to read the books.

Sarah said...

I teach dance and sometimes it is a struggle getting my students to put down their books and come in for class. Can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Just one minute! I'm almost done this chapter!" It almost makes me feel guilty for pulling them away. ;)

Right now I'm almost done with Wings of the Dove by Henry James. I like me some Henry James, but I've been reading this one for a while and am pretty excited to be done with it so I can move on to something fun and easy.

Bryan Russell said...

I'm reading Pops, a biography of Louis Armstrong, and listening to the audiobook of Old Yeller with my kids (again).

Hannah said...

I'm reading PopCo by Scarlett Thomas. In a word: Brilliant. I just finished The Marriage of Sticks by Jonathan Carroll last night. I'm still pondering that one...I loved the writing of course but I have to decide how I feel about the ending. I've been an avid reader ever since I could read but my parents never understood. I'm glad you show your girls how proud you are. It's a great passion.

DEZMOND said...

ah, precious little angel! ^_^

Susan R. Mills said...

Your daughters are girls after my own heart! I can't believe you are reading all those things at the same time. I can only read one book at a time (well, except when I'm critting). Right now, I am finally reading Mockingjay.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Pat yourself on the back, Matt! My boys are headed toward the "I have to read for school, don't get me anymore books" phase! Any clues on how to avoid that?

I just finished a memoir called Nothing Left to Burn, but Matched is next on my list along with Forty Rules of Love.

Shannon said...


I am so impressed that you can read so many different books at once. Seriously. I'm kind of a one trick pony - one book at a time.

Oh and I love love love that your girls learn to read. That's awesome that you're able to share that with them! =)

Right now I'm still reading Bird by Bird. Not enough hours in the day.

Nate Wilson said...

As it so happens, I, too, am in the middle of five books--a new personal record. Then again, I haven't touched one of them in two months, so maybe it's technically only four.

Life, The Universe, and Everything, Douglas Adams
Packing For Mars, Mary Roach
The Sigma Protocol, Robert Ludlow
Hail, Hail, Euphoria!, Roy Blount Jr. one novel I'm beta-reading-slash-line-editing for a friend.

And you should be a damn proud father. Keep up the great work!

Steve MC said...

When Madison told you why she wanted to get up early, I got a lump in my throat, too.

And hope you're enjoying Game of Thrones.

mshatch said...

I'm reading matched, too, and liking it.

Donna K. Weaver said...

That's an awesome post, Matt. I've always been such a lover of reading, it was gratifying when my children became lovers, too. Even my son who reads very slowly is a wonderful listener. He's put us on to several great series. As a result, our family has had some wonderful discussions and we've theorized about things.

Anonymous said...

My 5yo is just learning to read now. I can't wait to introduce him to The Chronicles of Narnia, which was what I cut my teeth on, way back when i was a young lad. :)

Congratulations on raising readers, good sir. Great job!

Oh, and I'm reading I, Robot. Dracula's up next. :D

Hilary Wagner said...

That is so awesome! My 3 year old is a bookavore too! We are already learning our letters and she loves it!

BTW: I'm a slow reader too! I want to digest every page of the book I'm reading and frankly, I'm just not a fast reader--never have been! What that says about me, I have no idea! ;)

Here's to reading kids!


Anonymous said...

It's awesome to hear that your daughters are such voracious readers! So many kids today would rather play video games (nothing against them, just like a healthy balance) that it makes me so happy to see them reading.

I'm going to start A Song of Fire and Ice any day now, and will probably also begin either The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms or The Name of the Wind.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Matthew your girls are going to do great in school! Kids who love reading excell in school. WTG!!!

I'm a slow reader too. I read right before I go to bed, so I often have to reread the last page from the night before. I'm reading LIAR right now. It's really good!

ali cross said...

Aw! That is so cute! And especially wonderful that you were willing to let Madison get up that early so that she could read instead of squelching her desire. WTG Dad!

I'd say, all told, you have every reason to be a proud dad!

vic caswell said...

wow! that's excellent!! my 8 year old is working on the order of the phoenix right now, but it was the percy jackson series that made him fall in love with reading this summer! it's so cute to see those little ones with their big books!!! my 6 year old is just starting to be able to read, and i love seeing his excitement when he finishes his way through a little story!
i understand the pride! what an awesome passion for your kiddos to have!
i just started the book of lost things by john connelly. :) and it's funny because it's about a kid who loves to read too! :)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Aww, so sweet about your daughter's reading goals. I can't imagine a nine-year-old asking to be woken that early for anything. What a special family you have!

I'm reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and on Tuesday, I'll finally get to read Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Not that I'm overly-excited about that or anything. :)

Ishta Mercurio said...

That's fantastic that your kids are such avid readers. Keep giving them books, and keep talking to them about what they read. It's such a treat to share books with your kids.

I'm reading MATCHED, too! I'm also reading THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING, by M T Anderson, which is fabulous - so well crafted. I'm also working through some non-fiction books about angel lore (research for my YA WiP), and I'm Beta reading a manuscript, which is a secret.

Happy 2011!

Abby Minard said...

That is so awesome about your daughters! Mine is 5 and loves us to read to her, and is starting to read. She has caught on fast, and loves it. I hope her love will continue like your girls' have. Right now I'm reading Across the Universe. Just finished Graceling which was fantastic.