As a thirty-something mom, sharing my reading preferences can be…well…embarrassing. Don’t get me wrong. I read my share of intelligent books ranging from parenting to spiritual growth, self-help to biography to business.
But at the end of the day, when I crawl into bed with my cup of tea, all I really want to read is mindless fiction.
Or, to be more specific, anything good that was written for kids between the ages of 11 and 17.
Can you see why I’m hiding behind my fingers as I tell you this?
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I’ve always been a reader.
From kindergarten on, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book. If my parents didn’t hear me pounding away on the piano, they knew where to find me—either curled up on my bed or in one of my favorite hiding places, novel in hand.
Once, for a punishment, my parents took me to the bookstore and let me select a pile of books. When we got back home, they locked these books up and grounded me from reading for a week or so. I can’t remember the details (although yes, I do remember the crime and no, I’m not sharing that here). What I do remember is the agony.
This nine-year old girl was welcome to go to the park with her friends or ride her bike around the neighborhood. She just wasn’t allowed to read.
I’ve always loved children’s literature.
My favorite class in college was children’s lit. Although kids weren’t in my life plan at that time, collecting children’s books was. (I still don’t understand my logic, but the books on my shelf made me happy.)
While working at Borders during college (may she rest in peace), I happily hung out in the children’s corner of the store, even though it meant constant clean up and covering story time. Half the time I ended up purchasing the books I read to those kids. My Friend Rabbit, anyone? Is Your Mama a Llama?
I was still working there in 2007—the year the final Harry Potter book released, so I caught up by reading the series for the first time. And I discovered why books like these captivated me: they had absolutely nothing to do with my life.
It’s also why I’ve re-read this charming series two or more times. But who’s counting?
I’m an intelligent mom who reads novels written for teens.
You’d think that—with days filled with the sounds of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or anything involving superheroes—I’d prefer more grown up reading material. But no. Not at all.
A month or so back I grabbed a tote bag and headed to the library to grab some new novels. Although most of my selections fell into the category of paranormal teen fiction, I convinced myself to select at least one novel written about busy moms.
I think I made it through two-and-a-half chapters. It looked like my life: work, juggling two kids and their schedules, and keeping a house. I ask you, how is reading that any sort of an escape?
So instead, I choose to follow bold teen girls through alternate universes as they fight to prevent our own world from exploding, all while finding the perfect prom dress and finishing high school.
Do you see any similarities beyond our gender? Me neither. That’s my point.
I’ve decided to acknowledge my reading choices with pride.
Everyone has their own vices. One of mine happens to be this odd choice of genre. And I’m not afraid to admit it.
Maybe, down the road, when the sounds from my living room evolve from Superhero Squad to the actual Avengers, I’ll be ready to move from Young Adult back to classic literature.
Or maybe not. Either way, Dickens will be there when I need him. I’ll see Austen each fall when Pride and Prejudice calls my name. And I’ll revisit the rest of the “greats” when my kids are in high school.
For today? I’ll stick with my current selection.