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August 14, 2013

Teen Board: My Mother's Bookshelf

My mother has always been avid about reading, sometimes more so than myself. During my youngest days, she would read me to bed each night, and as I grew older, I was reading to her. When I discovered the Goosebumps series in the second grade, I would relay the latest twists and turns of each chapter to her with childish fervor. As far as I was aware, she paid close attention to my ramblings. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I had gravitated toward the lumbering shelf of books that was in our living room. It was comprised mostly of Mary Higgins Clark, a mystery and suspense writer. Intrigued, I went to my mother and asked her about them. She went on to tell me about her lifelong love of Mary Higgins Clark, and how Clark had been responsible for her interest in reading.

I took this as a cue to get started myself. My first Mary Higgins Clark novel was TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE, a suspense story about the kidnapping of telepathic twins. I was enthralled from page one. I read the book several times before lending it to a friend and then continued to devour the rest of the Clark books on my mom’s bookshelf. It wasn’t too long afterward that I realized my mother’s great taste in books. I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia because of my mom; I picked up books that I had purchased and forgotten because of her; I started reading the Harry Potter series due to her encouragement.

A few months after becoming a high school freshman, I discovered the Hunger Games series. THE HUNGER GAMES turned my world upside down, and I naturally assumed it would do the same to my mom. I suggested it to her, and after some reluctance, she finally decided to read it. A new era of reading habits were born. We gobbled up the Hunger Games series and craved more. We tackled new fantasy and sci-fi fiction --- both YA and adult alike --- with enthusiasm. UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King, ANGELOLOGY by Daniel Trussoni, and the Mortal Instruments series were a few of the great books that became topics of our nightly discussions and long hours spent reading beside each other.

Our bonding-over-books came to an abrupt end after I moved in with my dad my sophomore year, but they still keep us connected. Whenever I call, we always talk about the books that we’re reading, and whenever I go back to Virginia for a visit, we usually exchange a few. Despite the distance, reading is still a big part of our lives and helps us stay connected, as it always has. Ever since my days as a wee tyke, books have been a common denominator for my mother and me, and have helped our relationship flourish ever since.