This article hits a few nerves. I have a large variety of children in my life and about half of them are readers. Of those directly around me, the eldest, a woman of 23, is a reader, the next a young man of 20 is not. The 18-year-old fellow reads constantly, but mostly the same novels over an over, and the 13-year-old would-be skate punk does not go near anything that isn’t illustrated in Japan.
I can’t tell you why some will read and some won’t. They all got read to as babies and children, they all had scads of books available — but at some point, some of them stopped. I can only hope they’ll come back, and suspect they will in some ways, but the entire delivery method may have changed by then.
Listen, I throw my hands up. They’re not dead. They have enough pocketed pizza for snacks. Their shoes get replaced every six months as their toes come up against the leather. They’re one-by-one making it to adulthood with only minor traumas. Given the state of things these days, I feel like that’s the bar I’m shooting for.
From birth to about eight years old, it all went fine: I tried some of the stuff I had loved as a kid, and they found that too boring, but it didn’t matter, because hark, new books are written constantly, and the fountain of Wimpy Kid is, like the one in scriptures, ever flowing, its waters in perpetual motion (plus, did you see the latest film? It’s genuinely, stone-cold-classic good). Both kids got into the Maze Runner books at about the same time as they decided it was beneath their dignity to be read to together, and if there is an act of greater parental devotion than to read the entire, turgid trilogy, then go back to the beginning and read it again; I don’t know what that would look like.