I Missed the Reading Boat by Mandy Robek

Miss the boat is an idiom with two meanings.  It means to miss out and to have made an error.  I’ve done both in my reading life.  I did not read the Harry Potter series!  I don’t like to read fantasy.  I had three girls under the age of seven when the series started. Life was busy.  I also worked full time.  My reading life was minimal and often based on nonfiction text either for teaching or about parenting.  Each book in  the series got longer and longer in length and I felt intimidated.   I remember thinking at one point, I’ll give it a try and then I can catch up.  I never did.  The girls started watching the movies and I watched along with them.  I’ve watched the movies several times and enjoyed them but I couldn’t join conversations comparing the text with the movie.  There were times I didn’t understand parts of the movie.

My two oldest are avid Harry Potter readers.  I would wonder and ponder how many times could they reread Harry Potter!  Each summer my oldest has reread the entire series.  My middle daughter would finish a book and reread it again.  She doesn’t have the yearly summer voyage with Harry Potter but revisits them often.  I remember pleading with her fifth grade teacher, a friend of mine to help her find other books to read.  Of course, my smart friend is a fan of The Book Whisperer and could quote multiple reasons rereading is valued with older readers.  Even watching them be avid Harry Potter readers, I was content with the movies.  Until the seventh and final Harry Potter was coming out.  This was the first time I found myself wishing I was part of the Harry Potter reading club.  I felt left out.  I had nothing to predict. I couldn’t join conversations with my daughter or my friends who were all excited.  I didn’t understand some of the things written in the media about the upcoming book and then felt the same when the seventh movie was coming out.

I was on the verge of having a similar situation with the Hunger Games series.  Another fantasy collection of stories that would not be my first choice for reading.  I ignored the phenomena.  Then my husband read the Hunger Games series and I hadn’t seen him read books in a very long time.  Now, I had three family members in a reading club anticipating the upcoming movie and I couldn’t join in.   I realized I still had time to join.  So I did and before the first movie came out, I read The Hunger Games.  I understood and appreciated the movie so much more having the book to compare it to.  I enjoyed the conversations we had as a family after viewing the movie together.  The first book ended with a happy ending and I was content as a reader.  My family was amazed I didn’t have to read Catching Fire right away.  What they didn’t know was I had a reading plan.  I would read the book right before viewing the movie so I could be part of the reading club with fresh eyes, ears, and thinking.  I wasn’t quite finished with Catching Fire when it came out so they went and saw it together and a couple of weeks later I went with my middle daughter to see the movie.  We then had conversations together and I was thankful again for joining the reading club.

I’ve learned a few reading life lessons through both of these experiences.

  1. Sometimes it’s worth reading something out of your genre comfort level to be part of a reading club.
  2. Reading books with other family members fosters conversations.
  3. Talking about books and movies with teenagers is a safe topic and easy for them.
  4. Reading the book before seeing the movie is always better.  ( I knew this but needed a reminder.)
  5. Life remains busy but I can navigate reading time to be part of a reading club and it’s okay to do it a bit different than others as long as it happens.

Thank you Nerdy Book Club community for fostering my reading life reflections and for providing a platform for members to share our thinking to promote reading as something to enjoy.

 

Mandy Robek wrote Reading Artifacts for The Nerdy Book Club.  She blogs at enjoy-embracelearning.blogspot.com, is on twitter @mandyrobek and writes for Choice Literacy.  She teaches kindergarten in Central Ohio and is finding more time for reading after having dinner with Colby Sharp.  She wants to be part of the reading club on a regular basis.