I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. I have always loved the look, feel, and smell of books. Never mind the way books allow me to learn new things and escape into new worlds and take part in adventures. I was able to read while navigating hallways, no matter how busy they were, and am glad to say that my two elementary school age students are beginning to master that skill as well. I spent countless nights reading well past bed time via flash light, and still stay up way too late reading. How did this love of reading start? For me it was a number of things including seeing the examples of other readers and the easy access to a wide variety of books.
The library was a second home to me in elementary school. I still remember the stairwell to the children’s department, the cool round window that I would sit in and read while waiting on my mother and brother to pick their books.The library does not look that way now, since it was renovated while I was in junior high, but I am glad to say that I now work in the same building I frequented in my younger days. My favorite chapter books from my elementary school days were the Nancy Drew Mystery series (the original hard covers mind you), the Pern series and anything else by Anne McCaffrey, The Girl with Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, and the Young Wizard series by Diane Duane.
I was not, and am not, highly coordinated. While I attempted a few sports, singing and reading were the only two activities that I really felt at home doing. Getting lost in a book was much more attractive to me than trying to make it through a practice or game without getting hurt or embarrassing myself. As you might have guessed, I have always been an introvert and was shy as a kid. I found hiding in my books my best defense, and reading helped me do well in school. My favorites in junior high included: A Wrinkle in Time and the rest of the series by Madeleine L’Engle, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and the multiple series by David Eddings.
Growing up I saw my mother, grandmother, and various aunts and friends passing around bags of books. They would trade full paper grocery bags full of books that they have finished and pass them on to the next person. I thought this was great, and frankly delved into those romance novels, thrillers, and mysteries well before any of them intended me to. Having so many books in my grasp made me much more likely to read than watch television, a pattern I still hold to today. Some of the books I remember most from my high school days include; The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, The God Project by John Saul, the Xanth series and more from Piers Anthony, and the Forgotten Realms series by R.A. Salvatore.
I think the combination of family that read, my personality, and the availability of books combined to make me a voracious reader. I have read a little bit of everything, and found something worth while in just about every genre and writing style. I still read children books, young adult books, and adult fiction and nonfiction as much as I can. Too many books are passed on to the next person, added to the library collection, and/or published every single day. I know I will not get to them all, but it will not stop me from trying. Some of my most recent favorites include: Gail Carrier’s now three steampunk series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, and the multiple series by Tamora Pierce and Maria V. Snyder.
Who or what got you hooked on reading, or disinterested you from doing so? Do we have any favorites in common, or those that I listed that you hated? Do you have favorites that you remember fondly from your past?