It’s never too late to become a reader! by Angie Moore
My husband has never been a reader. It’s not a secret, he will even tell you that himself. He is an incredibly intelligent man, and was, and still is (MBA this year!!) an excellent student, but he never read outside of a classroom. The only thing he remembers about reading as a child was that it was a negative experience…the dreaded ‘round robin’ and ‘popcorn’ classroom reading that so many of us remember. He realized early that teachers were just looking for the correct answers and he was easily able to figure things out without ever reading a book. His experience with books and reading was the complete opposite of mine. I have vivid memories of books always being a part of my life: reading and being read to by my parents and teachers, visiting the public and school libraries, visiting book fairs, book stores, and even my mom’s monthly book subscriptions…I still own many of those precious books from my childhood. Reading truly defines me and who I am. And has for as far back as my memory goes. Him not reading ‘for fun’ was something that always bothered me because it was something that I just could not understand, and part of me wanted him to like it as much as I did.
From the beginning of our life together, way back when we were just teenagers, he knew that I was a reader, and he loved, accepted and understood that about me. He frequently bought me books instead of flowers just because. (What a keeper!) He never even batted an eye when I started our children’s library before we had children. Then, once the boys came along, he would willingly read their favorite books to them over and over, but still never read for fun, for himself, despite my suggesting or, ahem, nagging.
His career, until recently, kept him at work in the evenings, so he was rarely part of the bedtime routine as I began to read longer and longer books to our boys. But in the last few years, he has finally been able to listen, make comments, sniff away tears, or suggest another chapter from the other room as we read Matilda, The One and Only Ivan, and others. As we took summer road trips over the last few years, he would begrudgingly listen to the boys’ and my favorite audiobooks like Bud, Not Buddy, The Land of Stories, and Harry Potter, but then he would continue driving until the books ended to see what happened. Not a reader? Not in the standard sense, but he was definitely a listener.
Mike has quite a sense of humor, so every time I would read a great picture book I’d try to get him to read it. Two years ago we discovered Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins and Mike was hooked! If you have read the book (or if you haven’t, you need to!) you know what a great character Bruce is. He is a big, grouchy, sarcastic, and loveable bear…so very much like my husband, who only LOOKS grouchy and scary…Just like Bruce. Every time a new Bruce book comes out we have read it. These hilarious books got my husband willingly reading. Yes, they were picture books, but that was something. This summer, after attending nErDcampMI for the 1st time, with the sole intention of meeting Ryan T. Higgins, my “nonreader” husband did something truly and wonderfully unexpected…he got his very first library card! I had been throwing books and suggestions his way for over 20 years, but it took the experience of being in the fantastic nerdy community to help him discover that on his own.
He heard about a book that the entire nerdy community, myself and our 11-year-old son included, were raving about and he wanted in. Despite having both physical and digital ARCs of the book, and his wanting to read it, traditional reading still wasn’t for him. Enter the audiobook for the win. Refugee by Alan Gratz was the book that changed my husband’s reading life, and I think honestly his life as well. He posted on Facebook: “I, however, don’t read- but I did listen to this book free on Hoopla. It will change your life and how you view “refugees” and their struggles. Buy it, borrow it- whatever. Just do it.” Since that post in September he has read so many books, some I had never read! He read all of Alan’s books, many of Jason Reynolds’ (Miles Morales was one of his favorites…we are a Marvel loving family after all) plus nonfiction “grown-up” books for work, as well as some humorous autobiographies he picked out on his own. He said that the narrator definitely make a difference, and will even look for other books based on who reads it. He now uses the library app to request books that he finds on his own to share with me! I never in my wildest dreams would have thought this would ever happen. My husband, a reader!
Many people say that if you don’t like reading, you haven’t found the right book, but I also think that if you think you don’t like to read, maybe you haven’t found the right medium. For my husband, it is definitely audiobooks, and picture books. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s never, ever, too late to become a reader.
Angie Moore is married to her best friend Mike, a mom to Tristan & Noah, Ferris State University Student, and librarian to over 700 reading Warriors. In her spare time she can be found drinking excessive amounts of coffee, while curled up on the couch, reading piles of picture books, or on Twitter at @almemoore.