I have early memories of my Dad reading to us. We had a big armchair that was large enough for Dad, me, and my three younger brothers. Every night we would all pile into that chair, and Dad would read to us. I remember children's books: Winnie the Pooh, Doctor Seuss. Every Christmas Eve we read The Night Before Christmas. Most of all, Dad read us lots of classics.
The way I remembered it, Dad subscribed to the Book of the Month Club for our nice, hardcover editions of the classics. I still have those books, so after writing this I pulled Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island off the shelf to have a look.
Was I in for a surprise! I expected to see copyright dates in the 1950's and 60's. Instead, I found that two of the editions I have were published in 1930 and 1941. My Dad hadn't purchased them for us, my Grandfather had purchased the books for my Dad! I have at least seven Heritage Press books that Poppy purchased, both from The Limited Editions Club and the Junior Heritage Club, over some fifteen years.
My Dad as a youngster.
I learned the following from this site at the University of Texas at Austin:
... George Macy (1900-1956) - published fine, illustrated books in limited numbers for member subscribers. Designed and illustrated on fine paper by leading figures in the graphic arts, most titles were classics ...
More information on the Macy editions can be found in A Heritage Press Retrospective, by Michael C. Bussacco, in BookThink. Several of the books I own have really stunning illustrations, including Gulliver's Travels (illustrated with woodcuts by Fritz Eichenberg) and Idylls of the King (illustrated by Robert Ball).
Another "Dad" tradition was going to Books Inc. ("The West's Oldest Independent Bookstore"), in Santa Rosa. Dad loved going to Books Inc., and he loved taking me with him. We went often, and we stayed a long time, browsing slowly through all the displays. I don't remember that Dad always made a purchase--sometimes he would buy me one book--but I do remember that any birthday or Christmas brought with it wonderful books from Books Inc. I remember the good smell of the pages.
My Dad loved reading to his children, yet I seldom recall seeing him reading books on his own (although in recent years he frequently listens to books on his iPod). So, while my Dad is more likely to be found reading a magazine, newspaper, or internet article than a book, he has always valued books and finds them interesting, and he passed his love for books, and bookstores, along to me.
We often grow up modeling our parents' behaviors, and my Dad wasn't the only one in the family who loved books. My Mom always had a book that she was reading, and if it was a good one she might not hear you if you tried to talk to her. It was my Mom who introduced libraries to me, starting with the children's room at the old, ivy-covered Santa Rosa Public Library, and later taking me to the Sebastopol Public Library each week.
Between the dual influences of my Dad and my Mom, becoming a librarian was a natural choice.