I love to read.
Okay, that may seem like a really weird statement. I get it. But seriously – I love reading. But it wasn’t always so.
When I was in fourth grade, my mother grew worried. I wasn’t reading at a level the teachers viewed as satisfactory. Whenever we were given books in class, assignments in reading, I simply wasn’t doing it. My mother had noticed the same trend at home. She was quite addicted to the written word, and she was always buying books for myself and my sister. It just didn’t take.
But then again, these were things like the Babysitter’s Club.
So at the start of fourth grade, mom tried something different. She had me read one of her books – a high fantasy novel, Daughter of Witches by Patricia C. Wrede.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I didn’t exactly get everything that was going on, but I loved it.
Next up was the Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks.
With that, I was lost to reality.
I couldn’t stop reading. I blew through all the books my mom had by both authors, and started picking up more. My grandfather took note, and picked up two of my favorite series – the Shanara Chronicles by Terry Brooks and the Seventh Swordsman by Dave Duncan. By the time I was in Junior High, I had blown through Anne Rice’s vampire books and even picked up LJ Smith’s Vampire Chronicles. Giggled over the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, though truly loved his Apprentice Adept series. The Adept series by Katherine Kurtz still makes my toes curl.
My sister followed suit.
We read everything we could get our hands on, sticking mainly to fantasy. We were in high school before either one of us started reading through horror and romance. Funny how those genres were picked up at around the same time… but neither here nor there!
The fact is, it was a grand escape. I read so many authors with so many styles. Some of those authors changed styles between series or even novels. I loved the worlds, and became adept at picking up clues that were being dropped of upcoming plot twists. I learned to read people, to read scenarios. To have a basic understanding of what was going on in general, and how people would react to a given situation.
My world had gone from a little farm to so very much more. More than I could begin to fathom. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten more books than I some have read.
As I graduated and moved onto college, books were the one constant in my life. Going from a little farm to a much larger city on my own was daunting to say the least. Books kept me company while I figured out who I was and settled on my own path.
I became enamored with Urban Fantasy specifically. Laurel K. Hamilton (the Anita Blake series up to Bloody Bones… I feel this needs to be specified for other reasons that I will address in a different blog), Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, and let us not forget my beloved Jim Butcher (there will be much fanbugging on all of these authors, but later).
Please don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t only fiction.
Mythology, history, psychology, anthropology.
I love simply understanding, and one best achieves this through reading as well as living life itself.
I still enjoy escaping into my books, delving into the worlds in someone else’s imagination, seeing through their eyes, and living through their thoughts. These are things I cling to, that I truly enjoy.
And I strongly encourage all of you to do the same.
For those who enjoy writing, never give up on the reading aspect of it all. Obviously, one’s style improves through actual practice, but the more you read, the more worlds you visit, and the more ammunition you get to become better at your craft. See what piques your interest in those books that you so love. Borrow bits and pieces of the style, but make it YOURS.
And oh yes… enjoy.