A summer of reading

Over this summer, I fully wanted and intended to read for my own “fun” – and did so to a certain extent. Somewhere in looking for fun reads, there was the personal discovery that I really enjoy non-fiction history. And so I found myself reading this book about George Washington and his rather unknown deftly political side. It was a really informative book, but I’ll say that the author jumped around a *lot* timeline-wise, and I found it a challenge to keep track of that as well as virtual armies of people who didn’t always warrant the importance in the narrative that was given them.

After that, I read this book, minus 70 pages that were mysteriously not put in the book at time of printing…nevertheless, I loved this book – even with lots of stocks and trading minutiae, it’s a fascinating piece – and both books should be read right now by anyone who thinks that our current economic woes are anything new.

But in the midst of this, I was continuing to read to my pre-teen, who is on the autism spectrum. I got this notion of reading to him from another parent who blogs here, and who has had plenty of conversations with adults on the spectrum about so many things that have opened my brain.

We had a challenging summer. I won’t get into much of it, but one of the saving moments was our daily read. Often, it would be us sitting outside under the cover of our deck, and he can deal with about a half hour most of the time. Some days, like yesterday, or when we finished Homer Figg’s adventures, I find that I can read on and on, and he will just lie down and listen.

I just told the author of our latest book that I find it very difficult not to read “en voice”, as it were. Accents are just fun to play around with, but I realized after trying to do Maine and Belfast that I was most likely incomprehensible to my child. Plus, my younger son was getting irritated with my performing. I’m just not appreciated in my time….

As we go along, though, this is a dream realized for me. From the day he was born, I anticipated the moment when we would sit and read together. My mother had done that with us, even to the point of recording herself reading so we could listen in the car – one summer had us listening to the Hobbit all the way to Montana.

I had read to my brother (theatrically – he appreciated my talents at least), to my cousin, to the kids I babysat and nannied for…I couldn’t wait with my own child…but then the day did not come. He would not sit still. There was always something in the way of the quiet and peace that comes with those moments. And I gave up on the dream.

After our second child came along, I was more cautious about what I wished for. I did not push him to learn to read, and I read to him when he sat still, which was rare. Now, he is a proficient reader, but nothing like I was as a kid. He prefers math and science, art and music…and I promise to myself that he will grow into it if he’s not pressured.

That’s what makes reading with the older one so much more than I ever thought I’d get…it’s just the two of us, and I read as clearly and emotionally as I can. He sits and listens. Once in a while, I have to gently ask him to take his fingers out of his ears – I think it’s become a reflexive comforting method for him, and he often doesn’t know he’s doing it.

I’ll put up a review of those two books when we finish the Titanic one,  but after that, I think we’ll do Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, and she’s got others that look equally good. Let me know what you read with your kids….

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