Sunday, June 20, 2010

For Our Fathers



When I was young my dad was the one to really teach me to read. I remember sitting with me and encouraging me to sound out each word. The book that sticks in my head is called The Silence of the North. I had asked my Dad what it was about and, after he told me, I wanted to read it but was still a little young to be able to handle the writing style as well as the content. At his encouraging, I went ahead and picked it up. To this day the plot and characters are vivid in my head. With that little bit of "if you want to try it, try it," he gave me permission to read all sorts of things. Whether or not the material was advanced or remedial it was ok just to read what you like. I had to jump over this hoop again when I broke myself down enough to read the Twilight series. And just like that...Boom! A whole new genre opened up once I told myself it was ok to like YA fiction as a almost thirty year old mother of two. Happy Fathers Day Dad, you opened up the door that led me to an incredible world.


Books and reading were such common elements in our home growing up that I took for granted my parent's influence on my own reading habits. As a parent myself now I have come to realize the impact a parent has on their child's reading skills, and also have a grander appreciation for the time involved in this task.

I am now aware of the difficulty of reading books at bedtime on nights when I am so eager for those children to be asleep and can relate to the weariness that stems from of reading the same book each day for weeks on end. I am that parent toting arms full of children's books home from the library and I am the one to crawl under beds, look in dark closets and dig through the toy box in search of those nearly over due books. I have come to appreciate the influence my own reading habits have on my children and therefore allow for ample opportunities to get "caught" reading my own book.

Thanks dad for doing all this and more for me. I want you to know that I appreciated the nightly stories, especially the repeats, and have fond memories of library trips. And I am glad I frequently caught you with those Stephen King books. I love you. Happy Father's Day!


My Dad doesn't read a lot of secular literature. He reads his scriptures diligently and I'm sure he reads a ton of environmental papers for work, but I have little hope of ever catching him with his nose buried in any other type of book. That's just how he is, and I love him regardless of his apparent insanity.

So, imagine my surprise when my Dad visited our house not too long ago and actually asked to borrow one of my books. What is that ROCKING? I think the world might have shifted a little on it's axis! That book, the one so extraordinary as to catch his eye, was Lists to Live By: For Everything that Really Matters. If you know my Dad, you are chuckling right now. He is the listing type, especially those lists that contain little nuggets of wisdom which he can diligently memorize and then impart to the rest of us when we are sitting around the dinner table or trapped in a car on long road trips. It naturally follows that because of my father, I am a list maker and, secretly, adore those wisdom recitations.

Dad, I love you, and what few books you read me (Added Upon by Nephi Anderson and Watership Down by Richard Adams) I will always remember. Not just because they were interesting, but because you read them to me. Happy Father's Day!



Both of my parents were integral to my becoming a reader. My mother had more of an impact on the younger years of my life and my father when I became a more independent reader. One memory I have is of a large, hardback fairy tale book that my father would read to us kids before bedtime (that, for the life of me, I can't find anywhere on the internet). We have pictures of us piled onto his lap in our pajamas enjoying this book. As I got older and became a more independent reader this did change. What didn't change, and I could always count on, was receiving two books on Christmas and my birthday. This was equal across the board for all my siblings. It was a special treat to be allowed to go with my dad to the OSU bookstore and pick out my two books. He even indulged my need for reading at night by purchasing a small clip on lamp for my bed. I know there were many nights he ignored my light, although there were plenty of him coming in angry because I, again, was up reading WAY too late for a school night. I love my dad and all his sacrifices for me and my siblings, and particularly in the area of enriching our lives with good books. Happy Father's Day, Dad!



Growing up in a family of readers, my tastes over the years were necessarily influenced by the books I found around the house or saw my parents reading. During my teenage years, my reading material was especially influenced by my dad's books, or ones he told me about. From Kurt Vonnegut to Hofstadter, I picked up whatever my dad was reading (OK, so I didn't get to the Hofstadter until a few years ago, but still…). One book I found on my dad's nightstand, in particular, made an impression on me: Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.

As a teenager still feeling out the literary world, I believed that "good books" fell into two major categories: (1) anything written more than a hundred years ago, and therefore "classic," and (2) science fiction. Reading The Name of the Rose broke down the walls of that narrow world. Here was a book that had the imagination and daring of Asimov or Zelazny, and the depth and richness of Hawthorne or Dostoevsky--and it was published in my lifetime!

Since The Name of the Rose, I have bought each of Eco's novels as it appeared on the shelves, and one of his books, Foucault's Pendulum, is the book I name if forced to pick a favorite. Eco is only one of many favorites to whom my dad introduced me. But more than introducing me to good authors and books, though, I thank my dad for showing me by example that there were always "more things in heaven and in earth" than I dreamed of, and teaching me that beauty and wonder could be found running in rich veins through every part of life.


Happy Father's Day to all the RFS Dad's out there
--including our own Daniel Nighting,
father of two adorable children
who are, no doubt, plotting his downfall
at this very moment.

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