I’m afraid I don’t believe it. There was a piece in the Guardian on Saturday about a father and daughter ‘reading at bedtime’ habit, which went on for years, every night until the girl was 18 and moved away. Even if you are very very keen and do keep it going until adulthood, it must be virtually impossible to do it every single night.
There are lots of things I don’t do absolutely every day of my life, however admirable those activities might be. Look away now if you are of a tender disposition. If I feel very tired indeed, coupled with feeling unwell, I have been known to skip the cleaning of teeth. Rarely, but still.
And reading to someone else involves two people. I can’t believe that illness, holidays and similar absences haven’t occurred to one or other of this father and daughter duo at some point over the years.
But maybe I’m both wrong and over-cynical. In which case it’s really nice for them. Except, I’m not sure that even I rate reading above absolutely everything else.
Me, I abandoned Son about halfway across the Atlantic. He must have been about 13 or so, and an accomplished reader. I wouldn’t have considered reading to him at all, had it not been for this wonderful and inconveniently un-translated (into English) series of books by Lisa Tetzner.
I loved them as a child, and couldn’t believe they didn’t make it over here. The Swedish translations were among the very first. And so, when they were re-issued in Sweden, the Retired Children’s Librarian bought them for me so that I could have my own. I’d only read the library books as a child.
Son was unable to read Swedish at the time, hence the reading aloud. I think we’d read about five books in the series about children in 1930s Berlin when WWII loomed and they had to set out across the Atlantic in search of new and safer lives.
But somewhere in the Atlantic the inevitable thing happened. Son and I increasingly found we were incompatible as far as bedtimes and free time was concerned. He wasn’t my sole Offspring, for one. He was often up later than me. I was often exhausted. And so those children are still midsail somewhere, still unaware of all the bad and good times lying ahead of them.
For years Son actually used to suggest we should continue where we left off, and I’d sort of agree. But we never did. And that’s a shame, because those books still count as among the best I’ve read. I still get a tingle down my spine when I think of them.
Although, it doesn’t help that not all were re-issued and my searches on Swedish online sites haven’t yielded the rest.