My mother and I never discussed my reading: that was not her way, and I was much too young then to know it was mine. The books she gave me were different from the books I read for school. They served no didactic purpose; they were offered to me simply for my pleasure, and—I sensed—for another reason I couldn't quite fathom but was glad to accept on faith. My mother was always cool and offhand; she had a horror of intrusiveness. But I knew the books she left me were markers along a meandering trail that she meant me to follow. I hoped when I reached the end I might find her there.
From the memoir Are You Happy?: A Childhood Remembered, by Emily Fox Gordon