Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cultivating literary touchstones

I just saw the final Harry Potter movie with one of my daughters and my son. My daughter, now 23, grew up along with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. My son, 18, was a precocious reader after a rocky start, finishing the first Harry Potter book by the time he'd finished first grade. We began reading the series together and then, as the kids got older, individually, passing the books from one person to another. I've really loved reading those books and watching the movies with my kids, watching them grow to adulthood as my children did the same.

As it turns out, it was my son who introduced me to a series of books that would become the real literary touchstone that we would turn to when the alternative was sullen silence or argument. We had just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for six months. The year was 2006, my son was in 8th grade, and for obvious reasons very unhappy about the move. He had begun reading George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, and loved the books. He urged me to read them, and although I don't normally read a lot of fantasy, I knew it was important to him. I was training for a half marathon, so I downloaded the first book on Audible.com and explored Geneva and its environs as I listened to Martin's marvelous story. That first book led to the next, and the next, and now of course we've been watching the TV series together (the racy scenes are a bit much to watch with him, but we both kind of avert our eyes). I've yet to download the latest; my son is reading it on his Nook, and he's already pressuring me to do so.

My relationship with my son continues to be somewhat rocky. But we know that when other topics of conversation will inevitably lead to an argument, we can always fall back on Martin and Rowling and those other storytellers who find a way to bring us all together.

1 comment:

Pat Bracewell said...

My 25 year old son phoned from Canada the other day to tell me that he's reading "A Game of Thrones". I had urged him to watch the HBO series, which he did, and now he's enjoying the books. So our experience was sort of the backwards reflection of yours. Any time mom and son can bond it's Euphoria.