Maggie chose this week’s prompts on the subject Reading Culture And Books.
Who were the readers in your family? To an extent, all of us were. Dad read a lot, mostly mysteries like the Nero Wolfe books and the Inspector Maigret ones. Grandma Holton, Dad’s mother, read quite a bit. She an her sister Florence walked to the Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library, which was kind of a hike, I think at least a half mile. She liked to read mystery novels and also historical biographies. I’ve talked a lot about Mom and how she believed that, if you could read, you could do just about anything. She wasn’t that much of a fiction reader, though. She read the newspaper and Time magazine (in the days when it was actually worth reading) and magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Good Housekeeping, and would read popular novels like The Thorn Birds and Airport, mostly when she was on vacation. My stepather liked thrillers like the Ken Follett and John LeCarré novels. My brothers and I did a lot of reading for school. I can only speak for myself: in high school, I read MAD magazine and a few music magazines like Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, and Circus, and Sports Illustrated, an annual gift from my Aunt Florence. I was also the kind of music fan who would put an album on and read the album jacketgetting as much information as I could from it, things like the composers of the songs. the name of the publishing company, personnel on each track, name of the producer, recording engineer, remix engineer, cover designer etc. Why? I dunno…
Were there some people who did not like to read or could not read? I didn’t know any.
Did your family subscribe to the newspaper? We subscribed to the Chicago Daily News when I was in high school, then to the Chicago Tribune when the Daily News folded. Mary and I subscribed to the Chicago Sun-Times for a while, and to the Atlanta Constitution and Marietta Daily Journal when we moved to Atlanta.
If you did get the paper, was your Sunday newspaper considered special? What part did you enjoy? We would buy the Sunday papers (Tribune, Sun-Times, and Chicago Today) on Saturday night and read then for the rest of the weekend. I enjoyed the "funny papers," the Sports section, the Entertainment section, the magazine, and the TV books. By Sunday night, usually out of sheer boredom, I’d read the rest of it.
Did you frequent the library at school? Only when I had to.
How about the local community library? Did you have a library card? We didn’t go to the neighborhood library much in Chicago, and Northfield really didn’t have a library. Winnetka did, but I didn’t know where it was.
What was the first book you remember reading? A Golden Book starring Howdy Doody.
Did you have a collection of books (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, etc?) The Hardy Boys (the pre-politically coorect ones) and a lot of books by Leo Edwards that had belonged to Dad and his brothers in the 1940’s (Jerry Todd, Poppy Ott, Tuffy Beans etc.).
Did you read comic books? If so, what titles? Yes: Superman, Batman, Dennis the Menace, Archie, and a few others. (When we were sick, Mom would get some comic books, usually a Superman or Batman and a couple of Archie comics.) And MAD, if you consider that a comic book.
Did you end up a bookworm, a casual reader, or someone who read only when required? A little of all three…
Is there a book from your childhood you would like to read again? If so, what book? There was a book called Alvin’s Secret Code by Clifford B. Hicks that I took out of the St. Ignatius School library every year. I have a Kindle copy of it and read it from time to time.
What book or books have been extremely meaningful or influential in your life? The Golden Age Of Chicago Children’s Television, by Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen. I grew up in Chicago during the Golden Age, and reading through it puts me back in touch with myself.