Sunday, June 20

My kids don’t even pick up a book, and it’s definitely my fault | Zoe williams


TTwo weeks ago, something cheered me up so much that I still think about it most days. I was talking to two extremely literary people, people who write genuine books and articles, and it turns out that their children read no more than mine. Until then I thought it was my fault, and it is a genuine source of self-recrimination and sadness. As much as I’m happy to talk about the mood-enhancing effects of fresh air and exercise, I really don’t believe any of it. Read for pleasure, yes I think. There have been times in my life when other people’s stories were the only good thing about it, and I didn’t hate them. I actively enjoyed the disappearance. However, I have totally failed to instill any of this in my children. The furthest they will find me is to read a manga from time to time and suffer my homily on if that counts, if it is mainly images.

Other people’s children read, otherwise who is it? buying all those books? Something went wrong, between 2007 and today, and I don’t know what, but I must have.

From birth to eight, everything went well – I tried some of the things I loved as a kid, and they found it too boring, but it didn’t matter, because listen, new books are constantly being written, and the source of the Wimpy Kid is, like the scripture, always flowing, its waters in perpetual motion (plus, did you see the last movie? It’s genuinely, a stone-cold classic good). Both children entered the Maze Runner books around the same time that they decided it was beneath their dignity to be read together, and if there is an act of greater devotion from parents than reading the entire turgid trilogy, then come back to it. start and read it again; I don’t know what that would look like.

Already exhausted, I guess it’s 2018 and the oldest is 11 years old, I opened my favorite genre, the apocalyptic dystopias of the 50s, and forced TJ to listen to The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, which gave a possibly lifetime terror to a nuclear war. He agreed with that, since he had suffered exactly the same fear, and I felt as if I had transmitted something peculiar to him and I rejoined, like teaching him to use a loom. Unfortunately, she was now considered too old for children’s books, all of them, in one fell swoop.

“Have you tried them at Philip Pullman?” friends asked, kindly, as if we were in normal trouble, and everything would be fine once we discover spirit animals. No dice, I’m afraid. Only adult books would do, but almost all adult books were too wordy. I stayed with Wyndham for a while, but I realized how long ago it was the 50s when TJ was amazed that the main characters in Day of the Triffids fell in love. “I thought I was a lesbian.” Hey? Strange. What could that idea have given you, when literally all they’ve done for 150 pages is run from giant, malicious plants? Right. The exit party.

I went looking for books that were modern and incredibly eventful, and came across The Secret Story of Donna Tartt, which is how I found myself having to explain stoicism, psychoactive drugs, and incest in one night. It took a long time and neither of us fell asleep until a long time after that. But that wasn’t the problem, what really blew everything up was that, in the middle, he began to contest the moral choices of the five main characters. “They must not kill Bunny. They just have to find another way. “

“Bunny is already dead,” I pointed out. Bunny died on the front line. There is no way to undo Bunny’s death. “

“There must be.”

I had a flashback of my mother reading The Trial to me and my sister Franz Kafka, when we were nine and eleven years old. I remember that his voice sounded terribly sad, and not knowing if he was putting it to create an atmosphere or had just chosen the book. because she was already sad. Otherwise, he could not understand it. But I must have learned something, because when he suddenly stopped reading it, saying it was too early and depressing, I clearly remember thinking, “You had to do it. skip ahead to realize that this was not going to end well? “

I really didn’t want to force a murder that was definitely unavoidable for my precious firstborn, so I stopped The Secret Story midway. He, being a completist, would not start anything else without finishing. My daughter H, after a while, realized the fact that TJ was watching an episode of Young Sheldon while I was reading a chapter of Murder Most Unladylike to her, and she also agreed with the whole reading thing. Neither took the baton of the reading in silence, using their own eyes. I squashed it, which I think is a modern phrase to indicate success, but I mean, I squashed the spirit of fictitious research that has been the source of maybe 18% of the joy of my life. It is the most terrible accusation.

And yet on the other hand, I have these friends, right? Really studious, and their children don’t read either.


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