It all started in the fifth grade. That was the year my teacher broke away from the traditional basal readers for Language Arts instruction. There were two to four books that we would all be reading in different groups during the academic year. For some reason, I can only recall two of them. The first one that I read was The Diary of Anne Frank. It was the year after my Hebrew School teacher talked with us about the Holocaust. She and her husband were survivors and had the tattooed numbers on their arms. From that day on, I wanted to learn everything I could about the time period. I wanted to know so I could be sure it would never happen again.
On the flip side, there was another book that we read. It was by J.R.R. Tolkien. This was the first time I was forced, yes I am using that word, to read something I did not like. The small writing on the page, the long chapters, the descriptive nature by the author all turned me off of reading. What was the book? It is quite popular these days and you probably know just from the title. He’s a photo of TechyDad’s prized copy:
I’m sorry Bilbo Baggins, I have nothing really against you I just did not like The Hobbit. Truth be told the style of writing just was not for me. This experience helped me in the classroom when I was teaching Language Arts to sixth graders. I could understand that not everyone would adore the books that I selected and had to help them to work around this. I even told them about my life experience being told I had to read something. Yes, humanizing and relating to my students helped.
Fast forward to the release of The Hobbit in the movies. You see, this is a favorite book for TechyDad and he really, really, really wants to see the movie. When we first were married, the Lord of the Rings movies were out and I tried to watch them with him. I fell asleep and never made it past the first part of movie one. Yes, I do believe that some of that was me protesting thanks to my reading experience in fifth grade.
Now I’m conflicted. Do I spend the money to attempt to see the movie with him and try to ease up my Hobbit Phobia, or just send him off to see it alone? Have you ever had experience reading a book where you just could not move forward?