THE: Well, you just, you have downtime.
LL: You make. There is a lot of time in the day. The pandemic has taught you that, right? It’s like you wake up and say to yourself, “Okay, we’re leaving for 4, 5 p.m.” You can do lots of things. So I had friends.
THE: During school holidays, like in summer, this break is long and your parents are working, you have a lot of time for yourself, even if you are very sociable and I was very sociable, but a lot of reading time.
LL: We are both very sociable and the books were our friends, but only because the days are long.
CM: To confirm, Lale and Lisa both had friends.
Jynne Dilling Martin: I’m honestly glad they confirmed this, because I was really trying to imagine Lisa having no friends, like Lisa, one of the most beloved social humans on the planet, sort of didn’t. I was like, okay, I’m glad that’s cleared up.
However, I was a deeply introverted nerd which I still am to this day and had very few friends and was raised in a very conservative household with no television and certainly no video games or other things like that. So all there were were books. But what immediately came to mind when you asked that, Meredith, was the first book that really made me cry, that I read on my own, which was Where does the red fern grow. And the realization that a book could be so powerful that I could cry about something that happened in a fictional landscape was this very profound realization, I think in first or second grade. But I remember the brown sofa, the velvet sofa on which I cried. The whole touch experience is so vivid. It was really, really intense. Yeah.
CM: I feel like the lack of TV is something that really plays out for me too, because I was very limited in what I was allowed to watch and what I could watch as a kid. And I just remember buying a box set of Magic Treehouse books and reading them cover to cover, one to 10, and then starting over. Every day it was exactly the same. And finding new stuff in the same books day after day and traveling with the kids in the Magic Treehouse books, I feel like that was a game changer for me. And then I had to wrestle with the speed-reading and binge-reading skills I had learned as a child to, as an adult, slow down and pay attention to the words on the page rather than fly through books, which was my childhood habit.
THE: Also, if you are an only child, when you go on vacation with your parents or go to grandparents, there is only you, you are the only child. And so, I was reading a lot back then, when I was spending weeks and weeks in the middle of nowhere in Wales, at my grandparents’ house, there was nothing to do but either hang around the farm of my grandparents, or read. And so, I read a ton. And I think that and all the family vacations I’ve had with my parents have made reading an intrinsic part of my absence, for me. And I need that time to myself, even though I’m traveling with a lot of friends, to rush out and read for a few hours. And it’s only now that, as I get older, I’m starting to see, I think, my only-child characteristics come out more, and reading is a big part of that.