In the October 2022 newsletter, I asked the readers what got them into reading.

Here are the responses:

Ann: I too can’t think of a time when I didn’t read. My parents always said that I didn’t want them to read to me – I wanted to read my books by myself. I think that’s why I still (to this day) sometimes pronounce words incorrectly – because I ‘taught’ myself to say them. My earliest memories are of reading Enid Blyton. Then I migrated to authors such as Agatha Christie (courtesy of my dad) and Jean Plaidy. Even now (in my 60’s) I still love the whole murder/mystery/thriller genres and historical sagas.

Tracey: My mom is an avid reader, and I take after her. Her grandmother got her into reading, and I still have my great grandmother’s collection of Reader’s Digest condensed books.

Katty: I’m delighted to have found your site! To answer your question about how did I get started reading, I’m sure my parents, both avid readers, read to me and my siblings. However, I remember about 71 years ago, at age 4, being enthralled with a Hopalong Cassidy book recorded on records. You turned the page when his horse neighed. I really don’t remember not reading.

Claire: It’s so nice to learn that you and your family are into reading. Growing up, I wasn’t much of a reader even though my Mom and my Dad were. Don’t quite understand that. in any event, my lack of interest in reading continued into adulthood when life starts getting in the way of everything.

Everything changed as soon as I retired early (quit my job.) It started with reading and catching up on the Pendergast series. Then, I became interested in the Goodreads Reading Challenges and Group Reading Challenges. Then it progressed into an obsession to read galleys so I became of member of NetGalley. And of course, NetGalley has badges for reading achievements, so I had to get those…

So now, here I am. An active reader/reviewer and I am also a reader/influencer for St. Martin’s Press, Celadon Books, Oceanview Publishing, Forever (GCP,) and Books Forward. Can you believe it? From a non reader to book blogger. And it took leaving my job to start enjoying books.

Regina: In regard to your question of the month, what got us reading?

My parents read to me a lot when I was young. That seemed to be all it took. I read Mary Poppins when I was about 8 and kept going from there.

However, I read to my son when he was little but he’s not a reader. He especially never reads fiction. If he’s going to read it will be about something he’s interested in already or wants to learn about.

I guess nothing is full proof.

Christine: For me, my love of reading and getting into books was basically from my parents. There were always books in the house and we got our library cards at a very early age. My Dad loves, loves, loves Book Stores and is an avid reader — of course he reads much more intellectual type books than what I am into, but the love of reading definitely got passed down.

John: You wanted to know what got me started in reading. My father used to read the Sunday comics to my brother and I using accents and facial interpretations of the character to enhance the experience. My favorite memory of my father’s reading to us was his reading a chapter of Twain’s TOM SAWYER entitled “Peter and the Pain Killer”. To this day, every time I think of this I see him sitting in the red leather chair in our living room with the book in his lap, reading to us. I think he got as much fun out of reading to us as we did hearing him read. I am 77 years old now, and that memory is as fresh as if I were back in our living room 70 years ago.

Linda: I have been reading ever since I was a small child. However in 4th grade my teacher read about 30 minutes of an adventure series and really enhanced my reading appetite. I would walk to our mobile library About 5 blocks from our house in rain snow or shine to come home with a bundle of 6 books (6 was only amount we could check out at a time.) They were always read by the time the library came around again. I mostly stick to thrillers and mysteries, but have dabbled in other genres at times. So my motto is “Give me , life, liberty and a closet full of books. ” I read about 100 a year or more. Never audible. I want to see what I am reading.
Thanks for another newsletter full of promise. I read the “No Tomorrow” and loved it. Victory showed another softer side to him.. I loved the interaction for him and the girl who he was trying to keep safe. Now I am on to the next Victor book. I also read the latest Rapp book and loved it, too. Keep on writing them, Kyle. Reading is the substance of what you need in your present and future. I got another few books from the newsletter that I will read. Happy Fall.

Joyce: Thank you for another great newsletter. I look forward to them.
I have been reading books since I learned to read. My parents both read a lot and they always read to me. Since I am now 92 yrs old, that’s a lot of books.
I grew up in Washington DC and in those days there were no branch libraries so we had to go downtown to get our books. Once a week my mother and I would take the streetcar downtown to the big library. She would pick out her 3 books and then we would go to the room with the children’s books. I remember going into that room with the huge doors. I would get to pick 3 books and my favorites were The Little Engine that Could and the story of Ping the little duck on the Yangsty river. I realize now that the doors were not that huge but to a 5 year old they sure seemed like it. Another favorite was Millions of Cats.
We finally got a branch library in our neighborhood that we could walk to. In those days (1935-1945) we could not afford to buy the books so the library was a life saver. I still love to browse in a library.
I still spend a lot of time reading and I love your recommendations.

Vonna: In the first grade near the end of the year Mrs. Binkley took us on a field trip to the library. We were all issued a library card and allowed to pick out one book. Being from a small Idaho town our library was only open on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons. I became a bookworm and was there for a new book every Tuesday and Saturday. And as my mother was fond of saying “and so a reading monster was born”.I am now 76 and get my library books on a tablet but have slowed down. I now only read about 4 books per week. It used to be 6 or 7

Tom: Hello. October 1st? Sure is a whole lot cooler than a month ago. I guess I started reading back in the early 1960’s because there was only one TV in the house, 3-4 channels, no cell phones, no Internet, and we played outside almost every day. Being in a Catholic school (grades1-8), the nuns were eager to teach English and reading. Often we had to use the library to get materials to read or for other projects. These techno-naughts will never replace a real library with any virtual reading experience. But it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that I started reading regularly. It’s a good habit to have

Sue: I started reading when I was young, by the time I was 10 read pretty much all the Nancy Drew series.
A favourite memory I have of my dad was this story he told me, “you were always like when can I learn to read, and he told me when I go to school. So first day of school I come home from school, and I am mad and upset. He asked, What wrong? I told him they didn’t teach me to read. The first day, and I was mad they didn’t teach me to read yet.”
None of my kids are big readers and I read to them all the time. They have busy lives and maybe just haven’t found the books they like.
My step mom and I never got along growing up, now our love of reading and sharing books has opened a door to at least a friendship between us.

I grew up in a reading household where my Mom read romance, historical fiction and Christian fiction. My Dad read sci-fi, fantasy and westerns. I read all of their books.
The first adult style books I remember reading are the Gor books by John Norman. Probably not suitable reading for an 8 year old, but I was hooked!
I never minded being grounded to my room as it meant uninterrupted reading time.
I still enjoy all of those genres, except maybe westerns.
I use your website constantly and can’t wait to see and use the new one.

Sandra: What got me into reading? I do not remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. I grew up without television so that was never an option. I still spend very little time watching tv. My dad subscribed to Readers Digest and I always read that. My neighbor had the Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books and I read all of them. I’m not sure where I got all the books I read in my younger years but it was and still is my favorite pastime. I am never without a book and have often neglected my chores to finish a book instead. Today I find a lot of new authors thru your column so THANKS for that.

Priscilla: In 1955, my grade five teacher read to the class after lunch for thirty minutes – the novel was Anne of Green Gables. I was hooked. From there I dov into Nancy Drew and the hardy Boys and haven’t looked back.
I switch between audio books and ebooks and would like to recommend Robert Pobi’s 3 book series with Dr. Lucas Page starting with City of Windows, then Under Pressure, and finishing with Do No Harm. Can’t decide which is best – the prose style, the plot or the characters.. The three novels were audio format for me but would recommend them in print (ebook) form for this reason: his cultural and metaphorical references are so interesting and brilliant, I wished I could have researched them. Anyway, just a suggestion.

Phoenix: It’s a nice, cool morning here, and I’m looking forward to Fall reading weather. Your question this month was about what got me into reading. I had to think about that because it seems as though I was born knowing how to read. Whenever we went anywhere, like to the grocery store, my mother would point out words and spell them for me. We read the backs of cereal boxes at breakfast. I think my brother read “Gone With The Wind” when he was about seven or eight. I once had a neighbor who would give me a nickel every time I spelled “eucalyptus” correctly. As you can see, I’ve never forgotten how! We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and for some reason, I was never given the task of wrapping dishes in newspapers for transport. I’d spend my time reading the newspaper and not packing! My father was a great reader, and a writer, too. I spent many happy hours curled up wherever he was, listening as he taped his stories into an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. Some years ago an old friend put those stories on a cassette tape, and then on a CD, so I could still listen to his voice, even though he passed away when I was nine years old. (Many moons ago, that.) My mother told me I wrote my first poem when I was seven. I’ve been reading and writing ever since. I’m usually very much into historical fiction, but the cooler weather makes me want to read something a little more gentle, so I’m about to settle in to read Jan Karon’s Mitford series all over again.

Phil: To answer your Q, what got me into reading was my Mother. She was an elementary school teacher and we always had books around the house.

Norman: Early books for me would be from an age of NO TV and certainly a phone in a house was a rarity for our street in Liverpool. Living now in Scotland close to the Border at Gretna which you must have passed on your recent holiday, books tend to overwhelm my house, probably 1000 would be a reasonable amount along with a big collection of magazines.

My Irish parents in the early 50’s could not afford very much to read so I began venturing to the Library. In those days stepping quietly around as the many old men read the large quantity of daily newspapers, being careful not to drop any books, I found Outer Space books and the occasional comic so enjoyable. Then moving to the comics of the day, Beano Dandy Topper Lion Tiger…enthralled by Roy of the Rovers & Bash Street Kids and my Father started working on the Atlantic Ocean Liners for Canadian Pacific, and began bringing back the Superman glossy comics from his journeys. Swaps of comics became the big appeal, me with my specials could get more than just one replacement for my glossy Superman comics. Oh, WoW…. their value nowadays if I only still had them

And then I got a job when I left school and I became an avid reader of Ian Fleming and JAMES BOND, my first book purchases. Going into big city Liverpool I would visit 4 bookshops on a circular walk on a Saturday and stand quietly and as unobtrusive as I could be.just reading then coming home with as many as I could afford to buy and read them on the Sunday, remaining in bed until 3 .00pm before getting dressed and having my evening meal…..long ago memories of my first purchases

Melinda: Nancy Drew when I was age 7. I read the entire series — 99 titles? — then started on Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Masons. I read all I could find at the library. By ninth grade I was enthralled by John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee, reading Agatha Christie in between new releases. In high school I started reading my father’s cast-off books — he had great taste in thrillers. And now, at age 75, I’m my book club’s go-to expert on all books mystery. –

Maureen: I can’t remember how I got into reading but I do remember being presented a couple of books at the end of a school year when I was young. Mum and Dad bought me Misty of Chincoteague which I loved. My aunt encouraged me to read but I was the only one in my immediate family who read. I got hooked on the Biggles books and went from there. I do read predominantly UK crime books, but I do mix it up with other genres. I find it hard to read most psychological thrillers as I find myself talking out loud to the characters telling them not to do what they are going to do which will get them killed or hurt or whatever. Funnily enough my Mum and my sisters now read although Mum is 96 and has macular generation but she listens to audiobooks. Our 2 boys don’t read now unfortunately. I read to them every night when they were young and had plenty of books around as I read and hubby also. The boys read for a while but it fizzled.

Martin: When I was (very) young, my father sometimes read to me at the table. One book, about a train and railroad engineer, was read over and over, because I liked it. I learned to recognize some words. Then I started school. I checked out age-appropriate library books (non-memorable) and read books in class (Dick & Jane-type – Boring!). When I was about in third grade (maybe, roughly) I picked up a paperback at a cousin’s house. It was The Last Planet (aka Star Soldiers, possibly?) by Andre Norton. That was it for the rest of my life. I was hooked! Mainly SF (by a large margin), some fantasy, some military, even history, Western, etc. I still try to read whenever I can, but “working” on (multiple) computers almost all day, seven days a week, for the last few years makes it difficult. I feel cheated (by myself).

Jenny: I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. That led me to early on having read all the books in the elementary school library and moving on to the public library. At summer camp there was a girl reading The Three Musketeers so I read that. The next summer she was reading Atlas Shrugged so I followed again. Soon I was exclusively reading adult books. This was late elementary and early middle school. The amount of books I read grew enormously when my older brother and sister left home and I became an only child. I would ride my bike to some comfortable nature spot and spend the day reading. The only time I didn’t read much was in college because I felt guilty that I should have been reading text books. As an adult I read on my lunch hour and anytime I was off work, cutting seriously into my sleep time. Now I am retired and my children grown and I can just read, read and read.

Madeleine: Our father got my sister and me into reading. He read to us all during our childhood and then took us to the library every week to get more books. He did this despite being the district manager of four theatres where he worked 7 days a week. and he was the Battalion Commander of the local National Guard after serving in WWII. Yet with all of that, he made sure that he instilled his love of books and music into our lives. He introduced me to the Travis McGee series and James Bond among others. I think of him every time I pick up a book and thank him. Funny though, I married a man that does not read books though he loves audiobooks when we travel but only 6-hour ones.

Louis: I had Dr. Anna R.R. Jennings, head of the English Dept. at my college many years ago motivate me through my English Literature course. She was a wonderful and insightful woman using subtle and encouraging skills through lectures, hands on direction and the written word. Beowulf was a starter and for me, the catalyst moving me forward into Shakespeare and so on. Today and for many years, the Mystery/thriller/suspense genre works big time. Grisham, Parker, McBain, Pelecanos, Lescroart, Sandford, McCafferty, Krueger, Perry, Nesbo, Child, Hemmingway and Leonard fill my time nicely just to mention a few. I am greatly indebted to Dr. Jennings as well as to my home town librarian from back in the day.

Kenicia: My dad was a magazine reader rather than a book reader. When he was in elementary school, one of his teachers had each student in the class sign up for our state’s conservation department’s free monthly magazine. He was a subscriber and dedicated reader until he passed away several years ago. Mom and I still subscribe.

My mom was into biographies when I was young, but once I started working at our local library, we discovered lots of novels that she likes as well.

I have always enjoyed books. Mom took me to story times at the library, and we have pictures of her reading to me as a baby. I’m certain those actions sculpted me into an avid reader. I still remember my favorite picture books that we would look for each time we visited the library–the “Flicka Ricka Dicka” and “Snipp Snapp Snurr” series by Maj Lindman, Russell Hoban’s Frances books, and a beautifully illustrated version of Over the River and through the Wood.

Judy: Regarding question of month: The SEED for reading for me was that both my parents read books and read to me as a child so. Started reading early. This was in the late 40’s to early 50’s in a small town. The library was just up the street and my aunt was librarian so I got to be a “helper” after school and just fell in love with the smell and touch of books. Lights out for me at bedtime meant turning on my flashlight under the covers and reading far into the night! To this day, I still read myself to sleep and consider myself one of the local library’s best customers. I also read digital books and listen to audio books as I drive, walk and garden! Books = joy!

Joy: My parents read to me often but when I got to school and found out I could earn points by reading books, that’s when I really started reading a lot. I always picked the books with the most pages since they earned the most points. I recall reading Burma Road in the 9th grade. It had over 800 pages and I got the full 100 points for reading it.

John F: Forty four years ago I was married and had two small children and a nice job and was very happy until….I got sick and couldn’t explain how I felt and none of the doctors I saw could tell me what was wrong or how to fix it. After many test and a long, long while, I was diagnosed with limes disease. At that time no one ever really heard of it or knew how to treat it. I was told I was the third person in my state, New Jersey, to contact this disease! I was scared to death and struggled to keep my mind from crazy thoughts and dreams.

At that time I wasn’t any kind of a reader, aside from newspapers or Sports magazines. I knew I needed something to do except struggle with my desperate thoughts and many, many unsolicited theories to heal my ailment.

I went to the local library, and looked for a book that was thick with pages. I had no idea of authors or titles to look for, Finally, I found a book that had the thickness I thought I needed, didn’t care who wrote it or what it was about. I went home and started reading. The book was “Lonesome Dove”. I enjoyed it from page one and could hardly put it down, day and night. It took my mind far off my health troubles, which with time past. Larry McMurtry’s book got me through a very tough time and is a book that is still my very favorite! Since that time I am never without a book to read, book after book, author after author. I now go to the library and Libby like Norm went to cheers. Now, my wife and my granddaughter are voracious readers, makes my heart glad.

John: My parents were avid readers. I vividly remember sitting on my Dad’s knee as he would read the Sunday Comics in the newspaper to me. I was mesmerized at how the words would so accurately explain to me what the characters in the drawings were doing. By the time I got to the second-grade level in elementary school I was reading at a fourth-grade level, and known at our tiny local library on sight. I regard my absolute love of books as one of the Greatest Gifts my parents gave me.

Jessica: I got into reading when I was about 5 years old, I love reading little books made by Methuen Story Readers back then. My favorite was about blueberries and bears. My grandmother loved to read and we would walk to the library. I started reading Nancy Drew and other mystery books. Then when I was a preteen I started reading Sweet Valley High and a college book series. I did read some adult books when I was a teenager. My mother also loved to read.

Gail: I can’t even begin to say where my love of reading comes from. I can clearly remember waiting for the Scholastic book fair to come around. Every penny I had was used to buy books. I am really the only reader in my immediate family, but my nieces are all readers. There is nothing that can replace reading for me

Freda: I got into reading with Edith Blyton books, the adventure series really thrilled me. Then I discovered Dennis Wheatley books……”Strange conflict” was on my parents’ bookshelves and I read all his books. Then discovered Lord of the rings in my library when I was 14 and after that, there was no stopping me. I read lots of fantasy and Sci Fi books then moved on to crime, where I am still.

Faye: I am so excited to read that your son liked Project Hail Mary. I listen to a lot of audible books. I had previously listened to The Martian which I liked a lot, but I thought Wil Wheaton’s narration was a bit over the top. Project Hail Mary, on the other hand, I thought was perfect. I listen in my car as I’m driving and I was on my way home from work the first time Rocky spoke. Had I not been on the freeway I would have pulled over immediately. I was blown away. I have a friend who, between her and her partner, read just about every sci-fi book that comes along and I wanted to contact her to find out how Rocky’s words were depicted on the printed page. We are choral singers and Rocky’s people speaking with music was great. I’m sure I drove my friends crazy with my raving about Project Hail Mary. I loved Rocky so much and I thought the ending of that book was perfect. God bless good teachers everywhere!

(FWIW, I’m also a fan of the Bobiverse.)

How did I start reading? I honestly don’t remember not reading. My mother and my sister used to read to me. Apparently, I was a big fan of Little Red Riding Hood. I’ve been told that my sister, who was 12 years older than me, figured out that she could get in her daily newspaper reading and entertain me at the same time by reading an article aloud, throwing in an occasional “…and THEN Little Red Riding Hood said…”.

My best friend growing up was also a reader and we egged each other on. One of our favorites was The Red Planet by Robert Heinlein. Imagine my surprise when, years later, Stranger In A Strange Land became an anthem of the 60s generation and reading it took me right back to my childhood and the Heinlein children’s book.

Deb: What got me into reading was the summer I turned 12 and my friends all left on family trips. I re-discovered the library I had frequented as a child. It was COOL on hot summer days, always quiet and I could get myself there and back independently (I walked!). I was amazed at how many books I really wanted to read and no one said I couldn’t read adult fiction! I have worn out many library cards since then. Happy Fall.

Deana: You asked how we first started to read. My Grandparents were very big readers. Grandad loved war themed books, which wasn’t my thing at about 12 years old but Nanny onthe other hand loved murder mysteries. She gave me my first Agatha Christie and I have never looked back.
Before she passed away we were enjoying the JD Robb In Death series. I continue to read them for her.

Chris: Wow–this newsletter broke the record for giving me so many great ideas on what to read next! It was really touching to learn about how you developed an early love of reading and, it appears, you’ve imparted that passion for books to your children, whether in audio format, electronic or paper. No one in my family really was into reading except for my father, who died when I was very young. He left a lot of books around the house and I used to wonder which ones he’d gotten a chance to read and what he thought of them. I tried to read them all over the years, as a way to feel closer to my father. I read to my children as they grew and now, I read to my grandchildren, continuing this legacy of reading for pleasure and enrichment.

Carol: I’ve always been a reader. My father was an avid reader, mostly of science fiction and westerns, with mysteries thrown in for good measure. He’d buy a dozen paperbacks at a time (back when they were known as pulp novels), so there were always books in the house. By the time I was about 11 years old, I had transitioned into the adult section of the local library. Just couldn’t get enough of Thomas B. Costain’s historical novels. I remember walking close to a mile in 110 degree heat to get to the library for more books, because I couldn’t wait for Dad to get home from work to drive me. I completely bypassed the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys phase that my friends were reading. Now, at nearly 80, every day I listen to audio books while doing my various crafts, and in the evenings read from my Kindle, or an occasional “real book” just because I like the feel of that medium.

Ann: What got me into reading.
My MOTHER. She was not a high school graduate but loved to read when she had time from being a farm wife and mother of 4. She instilled that love in me by taking us to the small town library each week. I came home with as many books as allowed. Dr. Seuss was a first favorite and then Little House on Prairie. The library itself was a treasure and was eventually listed on historic register once a modern library was built. I enjoyed finding books through the card catalog system. To this day I still drive by that row of buildings when in town. As my mother aged into dementia, one of my pleasures to do for her was go to the library and bring her a stack of books each week. I know she did not read them but the joy on her face when I spread them out in front of her is a precious memory for me.
Not sure I would ever be able to exactly put into words how important has been and will be in my life ♥️

Barbara: My Mom was a huge reader. Always had a book and I got it from her. When growing up, my 15 year older sister lived in hospitals or nursing homes. In the 60s you weren’t allowed upstairs so I spent a lot of time in the downstairs public rooms.

I am still a massive reader and, like Mom, always have a book. Different types. Right now I’m enjoying Brad Thor or Vince Flynn

Becky: I started reading in the 1st grade and have not stopped since and I’m now 65 years old! I was very bored with the Dick and Jane books so my teachers encouraged my love of reading by getting me 6th grade level books. By the time I was in Jr. High, I had read all the older classics and moved on to autobiographies, historical fiction, or anything I could get my hands on. I worked in the library in high school and the librarian let take home all the new novels to read them and to determine if they should be put out on a shelf or kept in the back room. I read Rabbit Run and loved it.

Nowadays, I am into spy thrillers, black ops, and political intrigue, all fiction. I even have a very small collection of signed books from Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills, Brad Thor and Brad Taylor. My pride and joy is the 1st Edition Vince Flynn American Assassin , the very first book in the Mitch Rapp series. Oh, I also have Sum of All Fears signed by Tom Clancy.

Order of Books » Newsletter » What Got You Into Reading?

2 Responses to “What Got You Into Reading?”

  1. Chris J: 2 years ago

    I got started reading through my mother reading to me at bedtime. I don’t actually remember this, but she later told me that one morning she woke up and heard from my bedroom “mumble-mumble-mumble…pause…mumble-mumble-mumble.” She looked in, and I had a book in my lap that she had read to me at bedtime. I had memorized the entire text and was reading it to myself, turning the page at the right place.

    I was four, or maybe four and a half.

    So when I got to first grade I could already read. The teacher didn’t believe it, but I showed that it was true, and the result was that I got skipped into second after half the year, and graduated from high school a week before my 17th birthday.

    I read constantly as a kid, and wrote too; as soon as I understood that books didn’t “just happen,” I knew I wanted to write them. After about fourth grade I pretty much went on strike as far as school was concerned–hated it more every year and went only because I had to. But I became a self-taught polymath with a concentration on the social history of the American West!


    • Graeme: 2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Chris. That was great to read 🙂 Love that story about memorizing the entire text 🙂


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