book-67049_640One thing Mom and I have always enjoyed is sharing books. I read much, much more extensively than she does, but when she really likes something, I almost always like it too, and I’ve usually been pretty good at recognizing things she’ll like.

She’s read everything written by Alexander McCall Smith, for instance, and Ann Tyler, and M. C. Beaton – at least all the Hamish MacBeth books. When I read “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry,” I knew it was right up her alley, so I got her a copy for her birthday, in June. She is reading it now and close to the end. I asked how she was liking it (very much), where she was in the story (about to read a story written by one of the characters) and how the relationship between the main character and Amy had progressed. She couldn’t remember who Amy was and had to look back some pages until she found her name and read aloud a paragraph. “So I guess they are boyfriend and girlfriend.” Then she talked about how, when a book has a lot of characters, she sometimes loses track of the less important ones (although the main character’s love interest is important!). This makes me so sad. Reading has always been important to both of us – how cruel if she loses that ability! And how even more cruel if she has to be aware of the loss.

When Mom was a child, she wasn’t a very good reader. She might have had an undiagnosed learning disability, but in the 1940s, I don’t think dyslexia existed yet. Her parents didn’t have a single book in the house, so between the the difficulty and lack of opportunity, she didn’t read for pleasure at all.

When she married my dad and moved in with him, she quit her job to be a housewife (this was in 1964). After spending an hour at most cleaning the little apartment, she didn’t have a lot to do with her time, so Dad encouraged her to read his books. He had many shelves of books that he loved, and he wanted to share those stories by Dickens, A. J. Cronin, Jane Austen, etc.  He wanted to know what she thought of them. So, she started reading and came to love it. She’s never been a fast reader, but always an enthusiastic one.

One of the stories she loves to repeat is how she started reading to me from Mother Goose when I was an infant, and how I would reach for the pictures. It’s one of the many good parenting skills I learned from her and put into practice with my own child.

5 thoughts on “Books

  1. Profile photo of DeniseDenise

    Hi LM–I’m sooo enjoying your blog. I love how much you know about your mom’s life–your knowledge of her life story is a wonderful gift.

    I see a visit to my library this weekend–you’ve given me some good suggestions. (Ann Tyler is one of my favorites.)

  2. Bootsie

    My Mom and I both are big readers. She moved to a very small town with no library 13 years ago. Now that she lives in a big town with me she reads even more. She got a wheelchair recently and I want to take her to the library to get out of the house and let her pick out her own books. She refuses to go. It hurts my feelings. I finally broke down and got her a couple of books myself. She read them and I returned them. Any ideas as to how to deal with her stubbornness. I hate being put in this role and having to beg. I feel like when I give in and she gets her way I am enabling her to control me. I do not want her to decline further. Home Care therapy is getting ready to discharge her because she is not trying. They have all told her that social interaction and getting out is important. Her only problem is walking is very hard due to cervical myelopathy.

  3. Profile photo of LilMagillLilMagill Post author

    I know this feeling of conflict. I am really disliking the feeling of being parental towards my mom – feeling like I am the one who knows what’s best for her and I’m responsible for making those things happen. In fact, I’m not her parent and she doesn’t see me as her authority, so it’s hopeless when she refuses. It’s been hard to let go of the mom she used to be – she used to like to go to the library and learn crafts and join church-related groups and do exercise, and now none of those things appeal to her. . .


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