Getting Them To Read

I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a book whore. Yes, a book whore! It started when I was much  younger. The first book I remember reading for myself was called Socks and it was about a cat. From there, the need to read was born. I went through the Nancy Drew stage, the Babysitter’s Club stage, then progressed to young adult romance. Then, one day, I received several boxes of Harlequin books from my aunt’s neighbor. I was thoroughly hooked.

I read all the time. In class, at home every night and all weekend long. It was so bad, I never left my room. At one point my mom threatened to burn my books because she hadn’t seen me for months. Yes, it was that bad, but I never ever shook the urge to devour the written word. Now I’m more discerning, sticking to genres I love and finding new authors who make me remember how great it is to pick up a book.

As a result of this voracious reading, I became the person to go to in the family when the younger generation need a hand with reading comprehension. My youngest nephew took his ACT’s a few times over the last couple of years. He made a decent showing, but his scores weren’t as high as they could’ve been. Why? Because he isn’t a big reader. He believes reading yahoo! news is enough reading for him. While it’s a good start, it isn’t going to get him where he needs to be in order to hang with the college English crowds. Sure, sure, he’s going into engineering, but he still has to take core curricular classes and that includes two English classes.

My task? To find him books he’ll enjoy reading. Let me repeat that: He needs to read books he’ll enjoy reading. That’s the real kicker, isn’t it? When we’re force-fed books, we hate them with a passion. At least, I know I did. How many times did I have to read Frankenstein? Hell, I can almost quote the damn book (well, before I became absent-minded). He’ll have to read books he would never touch with a thirty foot pole. If you’ve been to college, or even some more advanced high schools, you’ve had to read books you hated.

It’s almost enough to make any person not want to read, but read you must in academia. It’s part of the torture they put every student through, except for me, that was the best part. Put me in front of an algebra problem, and you’ll see true panic. That’s how a lot of people feel about reading, which is a complete shame. There are so many genres out there that are just waiting to be enjoyed, if only you know where to look.

So, that’s where I am right now. My nephew is getting ready to go to college in the fall and his mother, my sister, has tasked me with finding him books he’ll enjoy. The only problem with that is…well, I’m so not an 18-year-old boy. What I think is great, he’d probably hate.

My current thoughts are to introduce him to Adam Douglas’s Hitchhiker books. I loved them; they were funny and smart and blessedly short (which I think my nephew would appreciate). I’ve recommended Lord of the Flies which is another personal favorite. I know he’d hate To Kill A Mockingbird, so that’s out too. Other than that, I’m clueless. I could give him The Hobbit and pray he likes it, but I can’t see him reading fantasy. Horror? He’s already rebuffed Dean Koontz and Stephen King, although he might give it another go if his nanny introduces them to him. After that, I’m kind of floundering.

That’s why I’m asking you, my lovely, bestest best friends, to help me compile a list of books he might be interested in. To help you a bit, here’s a brief rundown on my baby boy: He plays shoot-em-up video games like America’s Army (or something like that), he’s a rabid soccer player and fan, he has a silly, yet dry sense of humor, he’s 18-years-old (and beautiful but that doesn’t help you much), and he enjoys camping, fishing, crabbing, and golf. I hope that helps some.

So, do you have any recommendations?


Filed under Family

3 responses to “Getting Them To Read

  1. KAK

    If he likes shoot ’em up games, maybe he’d like a military thriller?

    Being a NOLA guy, he might like Julie Smith’s Skip Langdon mystery series (the first one, “New Orleans Mourning” won an Edgar).

    However, keeping in mind that he’s a college bound boy, I will tell you that the most determinedly lit-phobes from my dorm days managed to read Anne Rice’s “Beauty” series. And Tucker Max has a following among frat boys.

  2. I hate “The Great Gatsby” because I had to read it 4 times in high school and two different times in college!
    Having said that, what about Gary Paulsen? Or Carl Hiassen?
    I’d definitely recommend anything by Christopher Moore too!

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