The Mark Blog

In Honor of Mother's Day

When I was in middle school, my mom and I were part of a mother-daughter book club. I haven't thought of this club for years and I don't remember a ton of details, except that we gathered on Saturday afternoons and talked about books like The Golden Compass and Farewell to Manzanar with other girls my age and their mothers. We always had trouble settling on what book to read next and I remember feeling, for the first time, surprised at how differently people could interpret the same book.

In high school, I took a literature course at UC Berkeley which covered the history of the novel from its inception to present day. Some of the texts were dry and difficult to get through. But from this experience my mom taught me to take a step back and appreciate what it is that I'm getting to do. She has taught me to recognize the fact that, even when reading or writing feels like work--when it's stressful, or not going well, or I'm late for a deadline--it's a wonderful thing to pour one's time and energy into endeavors one loves.

Through their examples, both my parents have taught me a good deal of things related to reading. They've taught me not to worry if a book gets tattered, that it's preferable that a book be well-read rather than pristine. They've taught me to give and accept recommendations. They've taught me that the best sort of vacation involves a suitcase filled with at least five novels. And, through shared experiences, they've taught me that it's strangely fun to be around other people, reading.

In the spirit of Mother's Day, I am especially grateful to my mother for showing me, through her example, that reading is a pleasure and a privilege. Now that is the ultimate way to show, don't tell.