My sixty year old mother called me today to tell me she just read her first ebook. Seems she went to the link I sent her when my first novel came up on the "coming soon" page at Cerridwen Press and saw a book on there that interested her. So she had my stepfather download it for her and she read it.
I come from a family of readers. If you knew us, that would seriously surprise you. My family is loud, boisterous, obnoxious and mostly insane. The nightly entertainment agenda usually includes professional wrestling, NASCAR, demolition derbies and any television show whose humor is geared toward 12 year old boys with lots of bathroom and bodily function humor. Of our older generation, only myself and one of my sisters graduated high school. I'm the only one to go to college. I'm thrilled to say that has changed as my siblings push their children through high school, and in the case of my niece, on to college.
You would expect a family who has no volume switch and among which only one or two of us even know what a filter is, let alone use one to keep the thoughts in our head from flying out of our mouths like gumballs from a gumball machine, to focus their reading on hunting, car and sports magazines along with the occasional "gentleman's" magazine.
But the truth is that books and reading have always been apart of life for most of us. My great grandmother, who I was blessed to have in my life until she was 100 years old, was a reader. She loved her paperback romances as long as "there wasn't too much of that sexy stuff in them." Her saddest moment, I think, wasn't when she had to surrender her driver's license, but when her arthritic hands became too painful to hold the books. I wish Harlequin had made books on tape. She'd have been the first in line.
My grandmother was a bit more risque, reading the top of the trashy best-sellers list. I think she may have owned every Jackie Collins book that was published before her death at 87. The table next to her chair in the living room always had a book with it's bookmark hanging out. And she bought books for her grandchildren. She and my grandfather, who though he wasn't a reader himself --he could barely read at all, were always bringing home books from the store or from garage sales.
My grandfather was the one who told me a long time ago that I could be anything I wanted to be. He brought home books on space exploration in the late sixties and early seventies because he was sure one of his grandchildren was going to be an astronaut. (He got one who is a pilot, but no astronauts yet.) He brought home books on history and the constitution because he was sure one of his grandchildren was going to be a lawyer. (He got one who earned a political science degree and then went off to teach middle school.) He gave me my first copy of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, my first copy of Charlotte's Web, Ann of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and a dozen other books that filled my head with dreams.
My mother, who dropped out of high school at 16 is a reader. Now she is exploring the world of ebooks, because her daughter is about to be epublished, but she has always read. My sister, who also left school at 16 to raise a family, is a reader. She is a devoted follower of Danielle Steel, V.C. Andrews and others who write about the struggle of families and women. Her son has followed in her foot steps and always has a dog-eared paperback nearby.
My brother is a reader. Stephen King and John Grisham fill his bookshelf and his four children have more books then they could possibly read between momma, daddy, auntie who is a teacher and a writer, auntie who is a librarian, grandma and other aunties who are avid readers. When their van was destroyed in a crash, one of the biggest traumas for the kids was the loss of their copy of the now out of print "Do Your Ears Hang Low."
So we are readers. All of us. And now we are moving into the 21st century and exploring the new world of ebooks. You know, an ereader might make a good Christmas gift for some of the folks on my list.