I’ve loved to read since I was a kid. One of the first things I remember reading (aside from Mother Goose) was a children’s book called “But No Elephants.” Sadly, it’s vanished from my collection. The good news is if I really want it again I can get it on Amazon. The internet — it’s a beautiful thing. 🙂
Another of my early reader favorites was one called “Dirty Feet,” which I still have.
Have I ever told y’all that seven… count ’em, seven! … books have been written about me? It’s true. I went to Sesame Street, outer space, the circus and Birthday Land, and hung out with Snow White & Co., the Fox & the Hound and Mother Goose herself. My mom’s cat Simon and my buddy Brandon make cameos in each one, but I’m totally the star. (Does anybody know if they still make these books? They are so cute and a good way to get young kids excited about reading.)
Then I graduated to the Little House series, which I also still have (and read, by the way. Usually once a year.) Around this same time I got a set of the classics that were adapted for young readers. This is how I first read “Little Women” and “Call of the Wild.”
There was a Beverly Cleary phase, where I got my first lesson in the art of description — in one of the Ramona books she described french fries so brilliantly that it made my mouth water. I dabbled in a few Nancy Drews, and of course there was also a Judy Blume phase. I still have my copy of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
In middle school there was an obsessive Sweet Valley High phase. (I’m pretty sure that entire collection was sold at a garage sale. Man, I wish I hadn’t done that.) I also remember visiting the Stevenson Middle School library to pick up every copy of a mystery series I found by chance, but I can’t for the life of me remember that author’s name. 😦
High school was mostly assigned reading, which I hated with the exception of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Brontes and whenever we studied Shakespeare and Greek mythology. I discovered Jane Austen freshman year. Embarrassing to admit, but this is how: I heard that “Clueless” was based on Austen’s “Emma.” I loved the movie, so I decided to check out the book. Boom… Austen fan.
College is nothing but assigned reading, and since I wasn’t an English major I only took one literature class. All I can remember reading from that semester was “Death of a Salesman.” But, I did go back and give the high school assigned reading another whirl, and I found I could suddenly appreciate Dickens, Hawthorne, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Emerson and the lot. (But not you, Melville. Screw you.)
“I really think that reading is just as important as writing when you’re trying to be a writer. Because it’s the only apprenticeship we have. It’s the only way of learning how to write a story.”
– John Green
From the early days until now I’ve always been a voracious reader. I think it’s helped make me a halfway decent writer. I know it’s helped shape my ideas of plot and character (along with being a voracious movie-watcher, but that’s another post.) What have been your favorite books over the years? Who are your very favorite characters?