Carnival of Genealogy 118th edition: Reading


How could I possibly ignore this month’s Carnival of Genealogy topic of reading. Jasia has posed the following questions:

Do you come from a family of readers? What kinds of reading material was typically found around your house when you were growing up… fiction books, comic books, poetry, the Bible, magazines, cookbooks, prayer books??? What do you like to read now? Do you give books as gifts? Are you a fan of eBooks? The lazy, hazy days of summer are right around the corner and many of us will be reaching for a good book to read on the hammock or on the beach. What do you recommend?”

Reading with my grandmother while Granddad watches on.

When you walk into someone’s house for the first time, do you have to contain your curiosity about what’s on their book shelves? Do you think twice, mentally reviewing the trust-worthiness of the person in front of you, before you lend a treasured book? Do you look at pictures of houses and living rooms without a book in sight and wonder what’s wrong with the people who live there? If so I suspect that, like me, you have an incurable illness called readeritis.

Actually I don’t come from a family of readers – my reading gene comes from my father. Mum was always too active to sit and read other than her evening prayer books. My own children learnt early that reading was as important to me as food and drink. Luckily I married a man who understands that once my nose is in a book and I have the reading bit between my teeth, there’ll be little point in trying to get my attention until I finish the final page. Many’s the night I’ve gone to bed because I’m tired, only to be still awake hours later finishing my book.

Al fresco reading -I’m surprised I looked up given how close how little of the book was left to read.

As a child I envied a neighbouring family who had one small glass-fronted bookcase. I loved being taken by them in their car to the local library which was inaccessible by public transport. Heaven was going to high school with its diverse smorgasbord of books and I was a virtual glutton as I gobbled them up. Being at high school in the city I was also able to join the School of Arts where I had a wide array of fiction to choose from and developed a teenage devotion to Seventeen magazine which opened my eyes to life as a teenager in America.  Books were compulsory items on my birthday and Christmas wish lists and I was never happier than when I got a new book I’d been hoping for, or indeed any new book. With Christmas and birthday both falling in the midst of the long summer school holidays, there was every opportunity to find a shady, cooler spot to sit and read. This habit of books as gifts is an engrained part of our family’s tradition and our grandchildren already have a severe dose of the reading virus. Even the three year old takes his book to his bed for the afternoon quiet time/nap.

Reading a pop-up book with our daughter one Xmas.

It is a case of “be careful what you wish for” as we try to contain my book collection to the available bookcases in the house. Like coat-hangers they seem to multiply so that no matter how many you give away, the bookshelves are still overflowing.  This is one of the reasons that I’ve turned to e-books for some of my reading. I’ve been surprised to discover that I can get just as engrossed turning the virtual pages as I did with the real thing. I was amused recently when I rang my hairdressing salon. The person who answered turned to my own hairdresser and said “it’s Pauleen, who reads the little book (iPad)”. They seem to find it a tad strange that I sit there, colour on my greying hair, reading blogs or books on my iPad.  What else would I do, I ask?

My obsession with family history has affected my obsession with books so that now I read more and more reference books or historical books. My reading-for-relaxation has changed from fiction to blog-reading with occasional bouts of midnight mania when I get into a good book.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been revisiting some Australian books from my Insights into Australia post.   So far I’ve read A Town Like Alice, The True Story of the Kelly Gang, Harland’s Half Acre and They’re a Weird Mob and I’ve started on Foreign Correspondence.

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. A C Grayling, Financial Times” (in a review of A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel) [i]
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14 thoughts on “Carnival of Genealogy 118th edition: Reading

  1. Hi Pauleen
    A Town Like Alice is one of my favourite books!! I used to read a lot more books but as I delve deeper and deeper into genealogy I’m reading more blogs, local histories, websites, magazines and pamphlets. My Mum passed on her love of reading to me and my brother and sister and I’ve passed it on to my children. Grandchild number one is due in October and I’m looking forward to reading to him too!!

    • Kylie I really believe that we can pass our love of reading onto our children and grandchildren. I’m so pleased that Dad gave me this gift. It’s been very interesting to re-read these books at a distance and see different things about them.

  2. Kelly gang is one of my faves. When we decided to sell our home, the first thing we were told was to clear the bookcases! Unbelievable, isn’t it? We put them in storage after culling a few unwanted paperbacks.

    • I’ll certainly need to store some of our books before it goes on the market, but enough already, if a future buyer wants no books they don’t deserve my house ;-) Ditto my garden! Funnily enough I didn’t want to read the Kelly gang (very anti Ned Kelly) but I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

  3. I love the picture of you and your grandmother reading together. When a friend of ours was selling his house he overheard a potential buyer whispering to their wife “Do you think they’ve read all those books?” I’ve had to get rid of many of mine as we downsized our house. I’m finding the Kindle very handy.

    • I find it so incredible when I hear of people who’ve only read one or two books in their lifetime. Downsizing has to happen here too but unfortunately my bookshelves include more and more reference books that I’m unlikely ever to part with. I use the Kindle ebooks to spare my shelves from the light reading novels.

  4. Readeritis, eh? I suffer from the same malady, lol! I can definitely relate to your love for books, Pauline. And that picture of you with your grandmother… so very charming! How I wish I’d thought to take a picture of myself or my husband reading to our kids when they were little. Or better yet, a picture of our kids with one of their grandmothers reading to them. Why didn’t I think of that… Thanks so much for sharing and contributing to the COG!

    • Thanks Jasia. I’m glad you liked the photo…I had hoped to find some of the ones I have of our kids reading with their Dad but of course couldn’t put my hands on them. I enjoyed writing on this topic, thanks for making it the COG topic this month.

  5. Soo that is what it is called readeritis! Now I have a name for my condition, but do I want to cure it? Nah~I have to think about down sizing here, because some day I will have a book case full of my Mom’s genealogy references…….shew and mine! It was a great post and wonderful pictures!

    • Hi Julie. It’s nice to know we’ve got company in our “illness”. No, I’d hate them to find a cure ;-) Downsizing can bring on the tremors I reckon! Thanks for visiting.

  6. Pauleen, Loved the reading pics — you and your grandmother , you, and then you and your daughter. Very nice. I am also enjoying your book lists. And a giggled about “Pauleen, the one who reads the little book.” Good post!

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