Rose George* does it again.
Younger reading: Gorgeous.

Reading beneath my grade level.

Last week CRjr had a playdate with a lovely young friend of his who lives just down the road. This particular playdate had the bonus for me of bringing with it his friend's mother, who is a delightfully down-to-earth woman with whom a person can have an interesting conversation.

This person also has an older son, who is in school and is already a bit tired out with all the homework (in first grade, mind you). So she told me that a lot of the time at home he "reads below his grade level." At first I misunderstood, thinking she meant that he was testing or reading below his grade level*, and I said something inane like "Don't all boys? And then they just read when they're ready or interested anyway?" And she had to explain, no, her son likes reading, he just chose to read picture books and other "younger" things because that was more relaxing for him after a long day of school and homework.

So I thought of that conversation all week, as I consistently read things "beneath my grade level." And enjoyed myself thoroughly. More on the actual books tomorrow. But do you ever regress in your reading tastes? If so, why?

*Evidently schools obsessively test this sort of thing, and then use the results to needlessly worry or impress parents. This used to be my least favorite conversation at the reference desk: "My daughter is a fourth grader reading at an 11th grade level. Do you have anything challenging but without any adult themes, subjects, or language for her?" Usually it wasn't even a conversation, because you would try to find such a book for the parents who said things like this, and they didn't even check them out, because mainly they just wanted to tell someone about their genius child. What I WANTED to say was, "Yeah, I always read ahead of my grade level, too, lady, and guess where it got me? Working at a public service desk at 8 p.m. on a Friday. Good luck to your kid."