For The Love Of Reading

Sheila Seabrook

I inherited my nose from my dad. I also inherited his calves, his easy going personality and his love of reading. He died in 2009 but my all time favourite picture of him shows him sitting on the beach in a lawn chair, a book in his hands with the sun shining down on his head.

The first book I remember holding was a beautiful hardcover copy of Cinderella, filled with strange words I couldn’t read and beautiful pictures I adored. Once I learned to read, I worked my way through Dick and Jane, on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and in between, the back of every cereal box my mom ever bought.

When I ran out of reading material, I would sneak into my dad’s book stash, which he wisely kept in the garage, and read his Harlequin romances. He also had some racier novels there, stories with – gasp! – sex, and if my mom knew I was reading those books – heck, if she knew my dad was reading those books – she would have banned them from our reading material.

These days I’m allowed to read whatever I want and I want to read a lot. In fact, I want to read more than I have time for. Favourite authors include Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Samuel (O’Neal), Ann Voss Peterson, Linda Style, Susan Vaughan, Virginia Kelly, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few.  And with the arrival of the e-reader, not only is my to-be-read pile contained within one small device instead of all over the office floor, but I’ve discovered indie authors like our own Women Unplugged bloggers Dianne Venetta and Christy Hayes. If you haven’t read their books yet, run to your nearest e-reader and download them now. I’ll wait ….

My DadShortly before my dad died, he gave me the book Volcano by Richard Doyle. When he told me I had to read this book, there was a tone in his voice that I recognized so well. It was awe and wonder for a can’t-put-it-down story, emotions I too experience whenever I fall in love with a story or an author’s voice. Although I have yet to read the book – I’ve become more of a love-to-laugh-out-loud reader – Volcano will forever remain on my keeper shelf because it was the last time my dad shared his love of reading with me.

This is how I will always remember my dad, with a book in his hands and another waiting to be read. This is, hopefully, how my children will remember me, too.

So who did you inherit your reading gene from? Who are some of your favourite authors and books? And if you had to choose, would you rather spend your hard earned money on books or food and clothes?

About Sheila Seabrook

Author of contemporary romance and women's fiction.

Posted on July 27, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. Great post, Sheila! Thanks for sharing your memories of your dad. My mom is just like your dad–on the beach with a book in her hands always. I’d rather spend every last dime on books and the eReader hasn’t helped my addiction.

  2. Sheila,
    Like you, I inherited my love of reading from my dad. I can remember swapping Dick Francis books with him growing up. He’s been gone ten years now, but I still think of him every time I pick up a good read and want to share it with someone.

  3. I don’t know that there’s any one family member I inherited my love of reading from — on both sides of the family there are a lot of readers. However, my paternal grandmother was a voracious reader, of any and all books, fiction or nonfiction, and I’d like to think that I got it mostly from her. 🙂 (Once she had trouble getting around I remember going out to Chapters and buying her books. The hardest one to find: a copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Robert Thurman.)

    • Hi Alyssa … I had to Google the Tibetan Book of the Dead because it sounded so intriguing. When she was done reading it, I’ll bet you and your grandmother had some pretty interesting discussions on the topic, huh? She must have been one amazing lady to know.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing this memory!

  4. Sheila,

    My dad too loved reading romance novels though he didn’t hide the fact in the garage! And like you, I lost my dad in 2002. The saddest part of selling my first book in 2007 was that he’d never read it.
    There are a couple favorite books of mine and I think they’re favorites because of the impressions they made on me when I was just starting to write.

    Jill Marie Landis – Come Spring
    Sandra Brown – Another Dawn
    Sandra Brown – Where There’s Smoke
    Rosanne Bittner – Outlaw Hearts

    I’m not much of a clothes shopper but I do like food, so I’d probably buy a good book and some food to nibble on while I ate it!

    • Hi Michelle … my dad kept his books in the garage right up until he died and I’m not sure why. In the early days, maybe it was to hide those racy books from my mom. In the latter years, I can only assume it was habit. I can remember going out to the garage in -30 weather to poke through his boxes for something to read. In those days, people did not have heated garages!

      So I have a question … what would your dad have said about the sex scenes in your books or would he just have turned past those pages because his daughter wrote them? My dad would have turned past those pages … and like you, I regret he won’t be around to see the day I finally publish.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Love love love that post, and doubly love the tribute to your dad. I have things that my parents gave me too, that I haven’t read or opened or ventured into after they died, because it will be like the present is gone once I do. Kinda weird, isn’t it?

    I got my love of reading from my mom. We spent several days a week at the local library when I was little, and it was an old place with high shelves and dim lighting and I thought it was the most magical place in the world. I remember reading all the red hardback books about Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone and Pocahontas and then all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and then I moved on to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. To this day I remember all the weird character drawings in a Childcraft book of literature in our house that had all the classic fairy tales and poems and some of them were just plain creepy!! LOL! And like you, I could quote a cereal box with my eyes closed! Great post, Sheila!

    • Not weird at all, Sharla. We want to preserve those memories and moments we shared with our loved ones and always hold them close to our heart.

      And I love your memory of the time spent at the library. Wow, were we twins in another life? Every time I step into our small town library, I still feel that rush of joy. It’s like being at home, surrounded by all those books … comforted in almost the same way we’re comforted by a hug. Okay, now I’m getting weird. See, twins!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I’m not going to lie, I’d rather spend my hard earned money on clothes. I can get books for free buy borrowing them from my friends or the library 🙂

    • Hi Audrey … I’m still chuckling over your honesty. LOL!

      Since I don’t like clothes shopping, I wonder if you’re for hire. While you’re out buying my clothes, I’ll hang out at the library or find a quiet corner to read a good book. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. There are so many of us kindred spirits … the lovers of the muse … readers and writers who can date their passions back to their first memories.

    It must have been both, although my childhood memories are mostly of my dad with his three daily newspapers, my mother later with Harlequin and Silhouette … but the strongest influence was my middle brother. Books were extensions of his hands and he was never without something to read. The older of us … my big brother … was the muscian and the painter … so I was lucky to have the four of them each with a different passion.


    • Hi Moder … What wonderful exposure to the arts you had, surrounded by books and music and painting. How lovely and creative your childhood must have been So this now makes me wonder about how you discovered your passion for writing. Or maybe from whom?

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  8. I love the photo of your dad. So sweet.

    My mom passed on her love. She read to us (all five of us) at a very early age. She encouraged us to not only read, but took us on regular trips to the library and was involved in helping us choose books. If I wanted to read something she was that was a little advanced for my age, she would give me a list of words she knew I wouldn’t know and tell me I could read the book once I looked up the words 🙂

    • Hi Amber … I love that your mom read to you. I remember my own kids climbing on my lap so I could read them a story. It was my favorite time of the day. Also, their bedtime usually followed shortly thereafter, so that may have had something to do with it, too. LOL!

      Your mom’s list of words must have encouraged you to spend a lot of time with the dictionary, right? You have a very smart mom!

      • My mom is more awesome than she knows. She lives a few houses away now, and I love that my son will grow up with her influence.

        And yes, I read the dictionary and encyclopedia due to her influence. Thank you for this post!

  9. Oh, what a great topic and what a wonderful picture of your father. I definitely inherited my love of reading from my grandmother. She was a HUGE Anne of Green Gables fan and had all of L.M. Montgomery’s books. I remember she let me read her well-loved limited edition copy of Anne (from 1914) that was given to her by her Aunt who received it from her husband before he left to fight on the front in WWI. Since my grandmother passed away, I have inherited her whole collection. She introduced me to Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Stewart and countless others. She also bought me a copy of Are You There God it’s Me Margaret when I was twelve. Wonderful memories. Thanks, Sheila!

    • Hi DL … It’s been so interesting to read about where everyone inherited their reading gene but it’s all the stories behind this which are so awesome. Your grandmother’s personal book collection brings with it a treasure full of memories which you shared with her. And now you’ll be able to pass these along to your children or grandchildren someday and they will in turn share these memories with their friends and acquaintances.

      Thanks for sharing!

  10. Way to go, Sheila! Reading has always been my best friend. Like you, cut teeth with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and on. Even when I had babies, I’d find a few minutes for me and reading. And now, I’m excited I write and someone wants to read it.


    • Hi Vicki … The only way I could stay awake during those midnight and two a.m. and four a.m. and six a.m. feedings was to read a good book by authors like you. Without the books, my babies would have starved because I would’ve been fast asleep. LOL!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Sheila, a lovely memorialization of your dad. I recall him as a man who not only block out the buzz on a beach to read a book, but also as one who could read a book and watch a TV show at the same time. Over the years, we exchanged many boxes of books from our respective garages. Why the garage? you ask. I suggest it’s a good place for shelving things that are ‘on their way out.’ If I must search for the origin of my love of reading, I would locate it in a hardcover copy of the fables of Aesop. To this day, I love a good morality tale–one that engages philosophically the juxtaposition of the individual in social settings. Following in that vein, my current favorite author is Alexander McCall Smith.

    • Hi Theresa … you’re right. Dad didn’t have a keeper shelf of books, not like you and I do. So the garage was the perfect place to store the books until he was ready for the next batch.

      So do you still have the hardcover copy of the fables of Aesop? I keep meaning to find out if mom still has the Cinderella book I remember so well.

      These days, it seems I’m all about trying new-to-me authors so I’ll have to check out Alexander McCall Smith. Thanks for the recommendation and thanks for stopping by!

  12. Love your blog post Sheila! AWESOME. I’m a paranormal girl so reading any books that have shape-shifters in them is my thing :-). When I go shopping I just can’t buy clothes or a book. I usually by clothes, a book, chocolate and and a bottle of wine!

    My mom use to read the newspaper every morning and my dad loved history books.

    • Hi Lawna … I’m glad you enjoyed the post and shared your shopping list. I’ll skip the clothes shopping but next time I pick up a book, I’m going to buy chocolate and a bottle of wine to go with it. Perfect reading companions. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping in!

  13. I’ve never been sure which is a bigger love, my love of reading for the ‘escape,’ or my love of performing music for the raw emotion and that same ‘escape’ it allows. I’m jealous that your last memory of your dad is so much sunnier than my own. Mine still makes me cry. 🙂

    • Hi James … come for a visit and we’ll find you a sunnier lasting-memory of grandpa. Hmmm, I seem to remember some fence building, some talk about what a pencil is called on a construction site, and the jar full of candy grandpa used to keep in his garage just for his grandchildren. And then we’ll seal the memory inside you with some happy music and a hug from your dad and me. 🙂

      Love you!

  14. Sheila, great post.
    My parents weren’t avid readers other than newspapers and the Saturday Evening Post. I raced to grab each issue when it arrived.

    My love of books began when I read a set of Children’s Classics which came with our encyclopedias. Black Beauty, King Author and Robinson Caruso captured my heart and mind. The rest is history. LOL

    • Hi Carpgal (sorry, I don’t know your name!) … Black Beauty is one of my all time favorite books but I have never read King author and Robinson Caruso. My husband has them on his keeper shelf so I’m going to have to check them out.

      Thanks for the book recommendations and for stopping in!

  15. My mom is the one I blame…um…credit my love of reading to. Some of my favourite authors are Jayne Ann Krentz, Nalini Singh, Thea Harrison & Gail Carriger.

    Books often come first, hypothetically and in real life.

    Cheers, Julie Rowe

    • Hi Julie … our parents get the blame for our good qualities and our bad, don’t they? LOL!

      I love Jayne Ann Krentz, but have never heard of the other three. More authors to add to my reading list. Thanks for stopping in and for the author recommendations!

  16. Both my parents are readers, which is possibly why I read more than them both put together. My dad prefers the classics and non-fiction, my mother picks her books on recommendations from me, the library, or the best-sellers list.

    • Hi Jan … So now I’m curious if your siblings are also voracious readers. There must be a study out there on reading habits based on genetics, huh? That’s so cool that your mom takes her reading recommendations from you. The two of you must have the same sense of humour.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Thanks for the mention, Sheila! I’m glad you like the books. 🙂

    What a terrific post about passing down the love of reading. My mom got me hooked on fiction by reading to my brothers and me as children. I’m trying to give that same gift to my kids.

    • Hi Ann … I love your books. I’ve got every single book you’ve ever written. You’re right up there with Jennifer Crusie and Susan Vaughan. 🙂

      I love that you read to your kids. Some of my favorite memories are of the kids climbing onto my lap so I could read them a story.

      Thanks for visiting!

  18. My daddy. He reads westerns, especially Louis L’amour. When I was a kid, I read horror. Occasionally, Daddy pick up one of my books, read a few sentences, make a disgusted face, and put it back down. LOL

    Over the last few years, I’ve come realize time is short. I read Louis L’amour sometimes just to have something to talk with with my daddy.

    You made me cry. 😀

    • Hi Catie … My dad loved Louis L’amour, too. I think it’s wonderful that you love your dad so much, you’re willing to read his books so you have something in common. If I could get my dad back, I’d definitely do more of that.

      Okay, you made me cry right back!

  19. For me it would be books, and maybe a latte, and then some time sitting on the patio and escaping into the story. Lovely post, Sheila. like your group site!

    • Hi Suzanne … best part about summer is sitting on the patio with a book. Winter spoils the enjoyment, although sitting in front of the fireplace with a book is pretty good, too. 🙂

      Thanks for joining me!

  20. Both my parents love to read and now both my children are hooked–voracious little readers they are though my daughter has a few years before she’s allowed to read MY stuff! 🙂

  21. Louise Behiel

    great post, Sheila. thanks for letting me get to know you a little better. Funny thing – in my family no one read. but one of my daughters reads more than I do – at least a book a day!!!

    great pic of your dad.


    • Hi Louise … I’m an open book (pun intended). 🙂

      We need readers like your daughter. A book a day is amazing. Do you both read in the same genre so you’re able to share and recommend books?

      Thanks for dropping in!

  22. Sheila, what a wonderful post about the love of reading. I too inherited my love of books from my parents. My father loved historical and science fiction novels and my mother devoured mysteries.Love the photo of your dad.

    • Hi Susan … my dad loved historical novels, too. In fact, in the days when I used to sneak into his box of books, he read historical romances, and without knowing he was doing so, introduced me to the genre.

      I find it interesting that your mom reads mysteries. Now I know where you get your ability to write such great romantic thrillers.

      Thanks for stopping in!

  23. Um, that’s Susan Vaughan, not the gobbledegook I wrote. LOL.

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