The Sneakiness of Book Sharing

One of the happiest things in my life is having a son who is a big reader. If you’d asked me for a list of dream goals for my child, when I was pregnant, this would have been right up there at the top–along with a sense of humor (check) and enough height to get down the dishes on the next shelf, that one that I just can’t reach (check, check). Partially, I’m  happy for him, but honestly–there’s an element of selfishness in this, too. Finally, I have someone around all the time to talk about kids and YA books with! My husband reads, too, and we’re bringing him along on the you’re-not-too-old-for-this ride with authors like Eoin Colfer and JK Rowling, but he also spends a lot of time sharing gory, lost-on-the-mountaintop books with me, as well as those science articles about what my brain’s doing right now, thank you very much.  He also does read a lot of sci-fi and dystopian, which is probably my son’s favorite genre right now.

Anyway, my son is a big reader, but he doesn’t always jump right onto a new bandwagon–he does a lot of rereading, and he looks first for authors he knows and loves (Thank you, Sir Terry Pratchett, for being brilliant and prolific). He definitely responds to covers and to jacket blurbs. Or he doesn’t respond.

The bottom line is that, when I want him to try something new (one of those books that I’ve fallen in love with and want someone else to join me in fandom), I have to be a bit sneaky. I can’t just paraphrase the story as I see it, because we don’t latch onto the same things in that kind of a description. So I just share a few passages out loud, here and there, as I read the book–pieces I know he won’t be able to resist.

Here’s the one that caught him in Frances O’Roark Dowell’s Falling In:

     So, should you stop reading this book? I mean, you thought you were getting a witch, and so far all you’ve gotten is two girls and an old woman herb doctor. I don’t blame you for wanting your money back. Let’s march right back to the bookstore and demand–
    
Wait a minute.
    
I thought I saw something.
    
Yes, I’m pretty sure I saw something over–over–over–
    
There.
    
It’s a piece of paper falling out of a book.
    
I wonder what it says.

That’s it. Chapter end. Seriously, who could resist?

Not my son. He’s about halfway through the book and loving it–loving the language, loving Isabelle Bean, loving the way she spirals thoughts into imagery.

Personally, I think publishers should hire me to pick that line–that paragraph–the one that shows the story’s absolute irresistability, and they can print it right on the back cover. Okay, they can keep their paraphrase, too, but we know what will grab those readers. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “The Sneakiness of Book Sharing

  1. My kids aren’t into books. It takes alot of prodding for them to agree to read a favorite of mine. I probably push too hard but I just can’t figure out what’s not to love about books!
    At least their friends feel free to visit my “library” and borrow my books (complete with my review and recommendations) but it’s not the same.
    Of course, they read when they have to or if they’re really bored like when we go to our cottage and there is no TV. I guess it’s not a given that if you fill a house with books, they will read. But you did it. You raised a reader! I’m only a bit jealous.

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    • beckylevine says:

      Patty, maybe they’ll get there sometime! My son doesn’t often read my favorites, not anymore, but I’m happy to see him just with books. 🙂

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  2. You should have been a librarian! That’s the neat part. Sneaking books to kids so that they don’t realize what hit them. Then talking books with them! Such fun.
    I have daughters who read= once a reader, always a reader.
    (love the passage from Falling In)

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    • beckylevine says:

      It is fun! I still do this with some of my son’s friends-some like it; others kind of run the other way when they see me coming. 🙂

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  3. Then perhaps you are also good at writing queries? 🙂

    My book recommendation cred is based on my track record. My nephews (14 and 15) will try any book I recommend because I was the one who turned them on to The Hunger Games. And my daughter (19) is gobbling up a number of my favorites this summer after having risked reading one of my top recommendations, The House of the Scorpion.

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    • beckylevine says:

      I think I’m OKAY at queries–but those are summaries, too–I’d love to be able to just read a few lines & see if I catch anyone’s interest. Problem is, that doesn’t show STORY.

      Son liked The House of the Scorpion, too. And THG.

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