For Deb Joanne Reading is Always a Good Habit

It’s Bad Habits week here at the Deb Ball and I was going to take the obvious road and write this post about my bad habits. That said, I don’t really have a lot of them; I gave up smoking over 13 years ago and mostly have the eating healthy thing under control and really don’t drink much, but I do have a few writer bad habits that I could talk about. But then, I went to Google to find the album cover at left, because whenever I think of the phrase “Bad Habits” I inevitably get the song by The Monks stuck in my head. But then I had a good look at the cover and was taken back to my childhood, because yes, I owned that album as a tween* and looking back, I freaking loved it. A lot.

If you check out their tunes, you’ll see why—they’re very catchy and kind of fun in a very UN-pc and nostalgic way.

And with titles like “Drugs in My Pocket”, “Bad Habits”, “Nice Legs Shame About Her Face” and “Ain’t Gettin’ Any”, you know you’re in for a good time.

Uh. Right.

Anyway, moving on, because the purpose of this post is to both entertain AND enlighten you. Although I listened to this album over and over and knew (and still know) every single word of each song (and also the ones on the Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack, if we’re talking about childhood favs here) as a tween, I didn’t go on to become a drug addict, a criminal, a sweet transvestite, or even a slutty nun with a 2-pack a day habit**.  Listening to music with ‘adult themes’ didn’t ruin me.

And much the same can be said for the books I’ve read. I know I’ve talked about banned books before, but it bears repeating. Reading books about the scary and ugly things that can happen in our world, kids who drink, take drugs or do other things that we wish our kids wouldn’t do, isn’t going to make them do those things. If anything, those books will help kids address these issues and use their brains to figure out how they might/should react when faced with these kinds of situations, hopefully before they are faced with them. And what a great way to educate kids about stuff that might be hard to bring up. Reading books about tough topics together and talking about what happens to characters and why they make the choices they do may spare your kids from developing bad habits. What a concept, huh?

As most of you know, I’m not a parent, and it’s certainly not my place to tell people how to raise their kids, but I can tell you that my parents didn’t censor my reading (or listening) choices and I still managed to become a decent contributor to society.

Taste in music notwithstanding.


*Uh, Mother, I’m not sure how this album got into my possession in the early 80s, but feel free to blame my older brothers and their influence over me and my early taste in music.

**Like I said, I quit smoking a long time ago and it was actually a high school friend who got me started, not Sister Easy shown here, no matter how cool she looks on this album cover. I also didn’t start wearing pantyhose because of her, either.

23 Replies to “For Deb Joanne Reading is Always a Good Habit”

  1. Oh, that album cover! LOL! I’ll have to check TG’s extensive collection. Wouldn’t surprise me to find it in there.

    1. If he has it, give it a listen, Linda. It’s actually a really fun album (and “Nice Legs” has a funny twist at the end–it’s not quite as sexist as it sounds. Okay, yeah, maybe it is).

  2. That cover is priceless–and speaking of covers, I concur with your thoughts, Joanne. I know as a kid one of my favorite things to do was scour the pulpy paperback covers of our town library and some of those were VERY CREEPY (I’m lookin’ at you, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC!) but I credit them with actually fueling my love of storytelling and my desire to share experience through stories.

  3. I did have a Reading Problem for awhile. It was like being an alcoholic – things that needed doing didn’t get done. I hid the books so nobody would know why things weren’t getting done. I even had to resort to sending the book away for the day by putting it ins hubs’ car so that I could meet life requirements without getting sucked back into the story. Hmmm. I might need to try that with Twitter…

    1. Ha! The reading addiction is a tough one, Kerry! Some books are just so damn good, it’s hard to stay away, isn’t it? Good luck, because your stint as a Deb is just going to feed that addiction….

  4. Good Morning Debs,

    Oh that loud music noise that not a parent in the world could understand what they are singing (until you put it on TURNED IT DOWN and listened to the words, oy vey and it still did not make sense).

    Sure J (not sure how it got in your hands nice to be able to blame 3 older brothers, I will say though you did have a few very DIFFERENT FRIENDS, right, which were a little scary oh sorry today it is called findig yourself through expresion oh yeah right. Lets be fair and say you did give us a few scary times growing up!!)

    I do agree with the fact that if you are open and do not ban music or books from your children but do read them and talk about them they will not go looking for what is forbidden hopefully (keep an open mind even though you may not want to).

    Okay enough with the lecture, good post J, still I don’t like ear shattering music or scary books, just good reading (well maybe a few not so good and a few that should have been banned from under my bed growing up, yep you guessed I was a handful but look how I turned out, no comment children)

    Have a good week Debs.

    1. Hi Mom, I bet you were badass growing up. And I have no idea what you are talking about-I was the model child, always getting good grades and never missed curfew. You must be thinking about one of your other kids.

      1. I just totally have to put in here that it’s awesomely cool that your mom comments on your posts, Joanne. Also that she has a sense of humor.

        I’m totally using her as an example once I start at the Ball next month to try and get my mom to comment! That said, I might do well to teach my mom how to reliably find the blog first. baby steps…

        1. Hi Susan, Mom has a great sense of humor and I’m pretty sure she got it from me. And I did set up an RSS feed for her inbox, but I’m pretty sure Mom only finds her way here after I post my weekly link on Facebook.

  5. Love this, Joanne! I completely agree that books that handle “tough stuff” are beneficial. I think people/parents worry that if we include sex, drugs, etc. in a story it somehow glamorizes those things. But I find most authors handle those subjects with such gritty honesty that it’s impossible for readers to view it as glamorous. I really have a hard time believing that any teen (or anyone for that matter) chooses to engage in anything self destructive based solely on a book they read. Great post.

    And love these comments! Reminds me of a time when my taste in music and my affinity for black clothes made my poor mother certain I was in a cult. It was a frequent question/accusation/lamentation in my teen years. 😉

    1. Thanks, Jenny. It’s like role-playing, isn’t it? We live vicariously through other people’s bad choices so we can figure things out for ourselves. And you’re right, our fellow writers who handle these topics do a great job in both not glamorizing AND not preaching at the same time.

  6. Okay Erika,

    Lots I could tell (when we have dinner) don’t want to upset anyone you know, not my style (oops) it sounded good.

    Until tomorrow on your post

  7. This is a great post. I believe when it comes to reading book with “adult themes” (or generally bad things, like doing drugs and whatnot) is a good thing for teens to do. It’s a safe way to explore the ‘forbidden’ act and see what could happen because of it. Reading about a drug addict that loves getting high isn’t going to make someone suddenly think it’s a brilliant idea, particularly if it ends badly for that character. If anything, I think it reinforces the idea that you shouldn’t do that.

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