Can a Love of Reading Develop After the Formative Years?

Photo by Kate Hiscock (click pic for link)So, I'm sure this is the most obvious statement in the world, but I love reading, have always loved reading. I can think back through my childhood and mark time based on the books I was into during that stage--fantasy in elementary (The Wrinkle In Time series, The Never Ending Story) along with a bazillion Babysitter's Club books, gothic romance and YA horror in middle school, then adult horror, romantic suspense, and paranormal in high school. So books have always been a huge part of my life.

That came from having a mother who was and still is an avid reader. Books were always around the house and a trip to the library was as excitig as a trip to the mall. So on this upcoming Mother's Day, I need to not just thank my mom for being so supportive and fantastic, but also for giving me the foundation for this career. I never would've found my way to writing, if she wouldn't have role-modeled a love of books.

But here's where my question comes in. Most avid readers I know have similar stories to mine above. They found their way to books very early and were already avid readers by high school. But what about those who weren't "born" readers. Maybe because they didn't have parents who read for pleasure or maybe because there was more emphasis on other activities like sports or music, etc. This seems to happen a lot with boys--whether that's because boys are more drawn to other activities or we just don't encourage boys enough when it comes to reading for fun, I don't know.

But my husband is one of these people. He's intelligent, did well in school, absorbs information like a sponge, is introspective--has all the makings of a bookworm. But he's never been a reader. He can probably count the number of books he's read for pleasure in adulthood on two hands, maybe one hand if you take out non-fiction business books and books I've written.

And this makes me sad. Not because I need him to like the things I like, but because I feel like it's tragic to miss out on the magic of a book sweeping you away. He works hard, has a stressful job, travels a lot, is bombarded with cell phones and tvs and radios and computers all day long. Getting lost in a book could be such an escape. I feel compelled to drag him over to my side of the reader/non-reader fence.

He is open to it. I wanted to get him a Kindle Fire to see if that would make reading a viable option when he's traveling, but we ended up with an I-pad. Which is great, Ipads are fantastic. But they also offer a lot more distractions that can be more tempting (to a non-bookworm) than reading a book. So I don't know if that's going to make any significant change.

Part of me thinks that if he finds the right kind of story, he'll get hooked, realize he's been missing out all these years. But maybe not. Maybe avid readers are developed early and once people are adults, they're too set in their ways to get passionate about books. But I hope not.

So what do you think? Do you think it's hard to become an avid reader later in life? When did you fall in love with books?