Frank Bruni at The New York Times wrote an outstanding op-ed last week about kids who read—and why our society needs them.
He quotes a recent report by Common Sense Media showing some sad trends: Read more
My mom has a room in her house that is full of books.
I’m not exaggerating when I say an entire wall in that room has shelves that are filled with novels, memoirs, and volumes and volumes of books.
She loves westerns. I swear there must be 80 Louis L’amour westerns on those shelves. I’m not sure if Louis wrote that many books, but I’d wager that she has most, if not all, his novels.
If books were edible, my mom’s house would be a great place to go to during the zombie apocalypse. If you’re like me, and might prefer books to food, her house might be a great place to go during a zombie apocalypse anyway.
If it feels like I’ve posted a lot about A Death In The Family, it’s because I have. But if you’re ready to move on, this is my final post about the novel before the review on Tuesday.
James Agee lost his father when he was a child. That experience inspired A Death In The Family. It’s a sad story, in ways I’ve already explained.
Early in the novel, there’s a strange dream sequence. Everything is written in italics, and Agee’s style makes a poetic transition.
The following passage from that sequence blew me away.
While posting about A Death In The Family, I’ve briefly mentioned a few times how this novel really hits home.
Here’s why. I’m 37. I’m married. I have a three-year-old son and my wife is due in September with another little boy.
In the story, Jay Follet, the young father who dies, is 36. He has a six-year-old son, Rufus, and a younger daughter, Catherine.
He leaves behind his wife, Mary, and their two young children.
I think you can understand why this book gets to me. I’ll explain more after this passage.
Here’s the setup.
Aunt Hannah is talking to Jay’s two children, attempting to explain that their father won’t be coming home.
Despite Robert Penn Warren’s—how shall I put it?—verbose style of writing, I’m really enjoying All The King’s Men.
The novel focuses on the dirtiness of politics, but it really has a little bit of everything—and so much insight into the human mind, as might be expected from a novelist who is also a famous poet.
Last week, I shared a great piece of dialogue about political speeches between “The Boss” and his right-hand man, Jack Burden, who is the narrator of the novel.
Today, let’s take a look at a passage about a totally different topic. This one, which comes from Jack Burden’s perspective, reflects on the nature of parents and their relationships with adult children.
My son is two now. Perhaps you remember his reading tips from way back when he was one. Now that he’s two, the real parenting is about to begin.
Before I had kids, it was the practical stuff in the first years that worried me—changing diapers, losing sleep, hurried dinners, etc.
But as my wife and I have adjusted to all of that—a lot of which I realized wasn’t a big deal after all, okay, except for the sleep part—I’ve begun see how the real fun is just getting started.
It’s all the emotional, psychological, hard-core parenting stuff now—knowing when to discipline and when to be patient, not letting my fears become my son’s fears or get in the way of his growth, knowing when to say no and when to say one more time, determining the types of discipline that he responds to best, and stuff like that.
As I’ve been told by more experienced parents, all of this will only get more difficult as he grows older. Now my parental sensors go off when he wanders in the next room without supervision, so what am I going to do when he’s wandering through town in his own car? Oh crap.
That brings me to my question for the day. As a parent, how do you monitor–or do you monitor–what your child reads?
Here’s an onslaught of questions:
It’s rerun week at 101 Books! Today’s post originally appeared on February 3, 2012. 101 Books will return live on Monday July 9.
One-year-old kids are an observant lot.
How do I know? I have one of those little beings, and he’s like a sponge.
See daddy reading? I want to read! See mommy doing yoga? I want to make my head appear as if it’s coming out of my knee! Watch this!
Toddlers are basically a miniature, peanut-buttered face version of you. Don’t let them fool you into thinking they are anything less. My little guy doesn’t realize it, but I’m on to him, too. I watch him like he watches me.
And I’ve realized that he’s a treasure trove of reading tips. You might not know it, but a one-year-old can teach you a lot about reading. Can he really read, you ask? Oh, stop it with the silly questions.
Of course he can(not) read. But that doesn’t mean he’s not an excellent teacher. Here’s just a light sampling of the tips I’ve picked up from my little guy: