Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TSS: Can you "convert" a non-reader?

I have something to confess. It bothers me every single day. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this in my blog, but here it goes:  none of my brothers reads.

I've mentioned before how I come from a family of readers. And that part is true, my mom read a lot (or so I am told), my grandma reads everyday and so do my aunts. My uncles are more reticent, but the numbers were on my favor. But then in this new generation I'm the only one that reads.

I'm the oldest sibling as well as the oldest of the new generation. We are 7: my 2 brothers and 4 cousins, plus me obviously. None of this 6 actually reads. Well, one of my cousins says she does...and then it takes her a year to read The Night Circus!
Anyway, during my brothers recent visit (did I mention how in love I am with my new banner? He did it all :)) I tried to change this; I suggested books and tried to explain why I like reading so much. He would open his eyes like saucers if he saw me taking my book out in the metro and wouldn't understand why was I still reading if I said I was tired.

I gave him The know-it-all. I figured, light humor, non-fiction, easy to read...he didn't make it beyond the first 5 pages. Then, while reading Paul à la pêche they mentioned how the main character got hooked with The catcher in the rye in spite of being a non-reader before.. Now, I haven't read this one yet, but I knew it was a classic, so I thought why not? I thought it was going well, my brother actually said he was liking it...and then he got stuck at page 30. He left this last Saturday and I didn't ask if he wanted to bring the book with him, since I knew he wouldn't.

Why do I want him to read? Well, I'm sure I don't have to explain that to most of you, but just in case: is because I feel he is missing a lot. I don't even want him to like the same books I do. This is not the point. The point is that I get so much out of reading! I would love for him to have that too.
He is not addicted to video games, nor to TV. The only source of "frustration" he had while being here was the fact that he couldn't ride his bike, his only real "addiction". So I'm nt worried that he is sedentary at all. He is smart and he does well at school. I don't want to replace or take away anything, I just would like to add something that in my opinion is wonderful.

Thing is, I'm fighting against bad experiences. I was lucky, my mom taught me how to read and passed her love for books to me before dying, I was almost 8 at the time of her dead. That means that my brothers were 4 and 3 respectively, so they weren't reading yet. They started reading at school, with books as homework, not a leisure activity. So they didn't learn to love books. And when their grades went a little under the curve and teachers suggested they should read more, my father decided it would be very smart to FORCE them to read. So they learn to hate reading associating them with a punishment.

I won't go into the details of how much I disagree with my father methods of raising us. That's between me and my therapist. But I've spent almost my whole adulthood trying to move on from similar things and, when possible, I try to do the same for my brothers.

We have a long road to go, and I'm sure there will always be things that I won't be able to "fix". But reading is one of the things I would like them to have, just as I want my kids to have it...you see, my brothers are the first kids I was in charge off, and I feel responsible for them, no matter how many times I was told that wasn't my role.

I saw a brief ray of light with The catcher in the Rye. Is the first time my brother says he is liking a book. I just hope he will find the book that changes him forever. If I can help him I will be a happy camper.

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