Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reading to Influence People

Is my luck changing? Yesterday, Mr. Julius Azuka emailed me to say $5,000 awaits at the Western Union office if I will only pay $225 as a daily endorsement and activation file fee. 

Oh, Mr. Azuka, how did you slip through the spam filter that catches your more charming brothers and sisters in crime, the ones who use “Most Beloved” or “Precious Dear” in subject lines?

Your pitch is not convincing, Mr. Azuka, and your email’s tiny font and lack of white space work against you.

Good news, Mr. Azuka! I will help you craft a pitch that engages your email recipients. For a daily inspiration fee of $225, I will show you how to capture and retain pigeons. What’s more, to show my good will, I will offer you five tips for a discounted rate of $125, payable to me via a Western Union money order.

Help is yours for the taking (and paying), Mr. Azuka.  My best wishes for your success.


A poll by Booktrust, a UK-based group that promotes literacy, found that only 19% of younger fathers (aged 16-24) say they enjoy reading to their children at bedtime, compared to 78% of older parents (aged 55+).

Do you feel for young dads who are working long hours and balancing school and work? Me, too, but the survey points to lack of confidence rather than lack of time as the chief reason fathers skip bedtime tales.

I blame Jim Carrey.

These young dads think they have to do funny voices and make faces. They approach a bedtime story as if it’s stand-up comedy. Wrong! Your kids want to hear a story from your lips, and special effects aren’t required.

Every time Dr. Seuss or one of his books is mentioned, I flip back in time and “hear” my father read Green Eggs and Ham to my younger brother and youngest sister. His approach emphasized the text, and while he embraced the rhyme, he didn’t overdo it. His version became the baseline for me and my sibs.

So it will be with you, young dads. Your little ones won’t compare you to Jim Carrey or to their friends’ fathers. Yours is the reading that will stick with and matter to your kids.

Younger Daughter just finished reading Veronica Roth’s Divergent and emailed me to say she loved it.  I gave her the book two years ago because I suspected she’d like it and because readers press books on others. We do this in the flush of enthusiasm for the book itself or in a light bulb moment that illuminates for us, if not for anyone else, a connection between the book and someone we know. Mind you, our attempts to press books on others have backfired, and we’ve learned not to ask if the pressee liked the book or even read it. Patience counts here. If we wait long enough, the person we pressed a book on will unearth the long-forgotten thing and may think he/she discovered it.

My mother only reads large-print books, and my attempts to sell her on e-readers’ font-enlarging capability have failed. She wants to hold a “real” book in her hands, not a Kindle. Her local library has a good large-print selection, but I’ve gone there, chosen for her, and missed. A recent win? Karen White’s The Time Between. My mother loved it. What’s more, after reading the first couple of pages, I bought a copy for myself, devoured it, and then insisted a friend read it. Note to self: be patient.


Have any advice for Mr. Azuka? Other than Get an honest job! I mean.

Did you/do you read to your kids? What book was/is your favorite and theirs?

Are you the kind of reader who presses favorite books on friends and family members? What’s the last book you insisted someone read?


Jennette Marie Powell said...

I read to my daughter a lot when she was little. My husband's not much of a reader, but he took his turn, too, and enjoyed it.

I last recommended Holly Lisle's Hunting the Corrigan's Blood to my dad. It's an awesome space opera/thriller/mystery/horror, but I don't think he ever read it. :(

Lark Howard said...

The last book I gave anyone was Sophie Jordan's first New Adult romance, FOREPLAY. I lent it to my good friend, Sarah Andre, who left it sitting for a couple months before she finally picked it up. And she loved it--couldn't believe she'd waited so long to read it.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

It's a cliche, I know, but the thought DOES count. Your father understood you connected with him via a book you'd enjoyed and thought he would, too. Sometimes we put off reading books recommended by loved ones because we're afraid we won't like the book as much as expected. We're complicated that way.

Good for your husband for taking his turn reading to your daughter. Better yet, he enjoyed it!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark,
Sarah read the book you recommended months after you lent it to her? That's a pretty swift turnaround.
I'm ashamed of how long I've had a cozy mystery a friend lent to me. I like cozy mysteries, but they're not what I'm looking for a lot of the time. When I do read one, it leaves me warm and satisfied. Most times, though, I want stories with big, honking redemptions.

Stay patient.

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

Oh my goodness, my mother used to read to me until I was old enough to read and then we'd take turns reading to each other. I think I was about 12 when that nighttime ritual stopped. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with me turning into a little hellion.) Those are some very, very fond memories for me. I don't remember that she read to my brother and, since my father insisted we have separate rooms after age 5, he didn't get the benefit of the nighttime reads. He is a reader though, so I guess something must have rubbed off through our bedroom walls. Perhaps he was sitting in their in his own bed listening.

Anyway, it's sad that mothers - not just fathers - don't read to their children any more. They rely on video games or electronic contraptions to entertain.

And I too pass along books to friends who I know would appreciate them. I have no idea if they ever read them, but hey, I'm a giver.

Very nice post, Pat.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patricia,
What a wonderful memory you hold close to your heart. (I suspect your brother eavesdropped on your mom's storytelling. One of these days you'll have to ask him.)

You're a giver! Love it.