Ours was a household of books, and this has been the greatest gift my parents ever gave me. I never saw my parents sitting down without a book in their hands. They passed along their reverence for reading and their respect for the written word to my brother and me, and it has been my mainstay for my entire life. To feed my reading appetite, my mother took me to the library, and when that wasn’t enough, Mom and Dad bought me books, though we weren’t rich. Now, in turn, I buy my mother audiobooks. She’s no longer sighted, but hearing the written word is still her favorite pastime.

I believe the books I loved best as a child were The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink and Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield. I also read the Nancy Drew books, the Judy Bolton books, and the Bomba the Jungle Boy series. Why these particular books? I’m guessing that they assured me that someday I’d have adventures too, that fabulous and incredible things were possible in this world, that adversities could be overcome.

When I was expecting our first child, I read to the baby while he was in the womb; at that time, that was a new idea, meant to introduce your child to learning as soon as possible. It was easier with the next two, because I figured they heard me reading to their older siblings. We started out with Pat the Bunny and moved on to Dr. Seuss. When they became a little older, I read a lot of Richard Scarry books to my children. Since our first son loved fire engines, I learned a lot about them, too. I discovered a book with a picture of every single vehicle that could possibly be used by a firefighting company; and I learned how to do a passable siren imitation.

I read the Beatrix Potter books to my children, too, and we certainly picked up some vocabulary words from those. One of my sons loved Curious George. The Berenstein Bears were favorites, though my daughter liked the bears of Susanna Gretz and Allison Sage better. Teddybears Moving Day was a hit.

I’m afraid I wasn’t the kind of mother who loves to work at arts and crafts with my children, because I’m very un-handy; but I would always read to them when they wanted. As they grew, we’d read a Bible story together every night, and I believe it was from some version of Kelly Pulley’s The Beginners Bible.

It was a little sad when my children insisted on reading for themselves, but it was also interesting to see what they picked. For many years I gave each of them books for Christmas, no matter what else they might be getting, and now I give them gift certificates.

I’ve done my best to pass along my parents’ legacy. I hope it proves as huge a benefit to our three children as it did to me.

Editor’s Note: Charlaine Harris is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse books which have been recently adapted into the hit HBO show, True Blood.
by 3992 on ‎08-18-2009 10:14 AM

Mrs. Harris:  I was like you, always reading growing up.  Maybe not the same caliber of books you mention but if it had words on it I'd read it.  I got this from my Mother also.  The thought of going to bed and going to sleep without reading somehting was as an alien idea to us and to sleep standing up.


Then I got married to a wonderful woman who didn't feel this way.  She was stuck in the "school" mindset of you only read what you are made to read.  She could never understand how I could read until 1 or 2 in the morning or read 2 or 3 books at thesame time and, God forbid, read a book twice!  This went on for 33 years until last summer whenTrue Blood came out on HBO. I bought the first book and read it.  She picked it up and started reading it, NOW I HAVE A MONSTER ON MY HANDS!!  She has read all the Sookie stories, all the Aurora Teagarden stories and now has started on Harper Connley.


One day last fall we sitting there about half watching the TV, the kids were gone somewhere and she looked over at me and said, "You want to go to the bedroom.........and read?"  I had been waiting 33 years to hear her say that.


So thank-you and give my kindest regards to Sookie and Roe (I hope everything works out well with her baby.)  You have made one of this old man's dreams come true.


Mike Travis


by mystlover on ‎08-18-2009 11:12 AM

Dear Charlaine;

I love ALL your books - esp. the Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard ones! Most mysteries are my favs, but I will read almost anything.

I too was raised by readers. We had bookcases in every room of our house until I persuaded my mom to remove the one from the bathroom [ only one tub for seven people ]. We would have read the toilet tissue if there had been words on it.

My younger son refused to learn to read until he found out Mom could still read to him.

My husband reads non-fiction [ eek! ]; but my kids finally learned to read for pleasure when the camper we were traveling in kept breaking down

It just happened to have a few Harry Potter books. My husband is a great mechanic and fix it guy; now my kids are readers!

I too loved Follow My Leader; and read that book to pieces. I found my first 'Agatha' at age ten in the public library [ The Mirror Crack'd ] and have been a mystery fan ever since.

I havr recommended your books [ and the show ] to several new fans.

Susan  M. Davison

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎08-20-2009 09:16 PM

Oh my gosh, I LOVED The Pink Motel!! I've never heard of anyone else who read that.


I've been a fan since you first started writing the Shakespeare series -- I love those, even though some of your other series are more famous now.


There were some books in my house when I grew up -- a bookcase or two at our house, at my grandparents' house, at my aunt's house. I read most of my books at the library.


I was married a long time before I had kids, and in that time, I built up a decent collection of my childhood favorites. My kids each loved books, but very different books, so our collection grew by leaps and bounds. I rarely go to the branch library anymore because, as my husband says (and it may well be true), we have more books than they do. 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎08-20-2009 09:17 PM
Susan - I also love Agatha Christie's books, and The Mirror Crack'd is a personal favorite. I love it when Miss Marple solves the mystery by focusing on the "Lady of Shalott" look on a woman's face!


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