I don’t recall being read to as a child, but my mother assures me I was. I do distinctly remember watching the older females in my family reading all the time, and wondering what the big deal was. I decided to give it a try.
The first book I fell in love with was Teetoncey by Theodore Taylor. It’s the story about a girl who washes up on shore and cannot speak. She is cared for by a boy and his mother. Aside from the compelling story, the real reason I liked it was because the girl ends up having the same name as me; something very uncommon for me.
I quickly moved on to Nancy Drew books. Yeah, by now I’ve heard all the comments that these books are formulaic and not great writing. So what? I was reading wasn’t I? (By the way, this argument still stands when I see my students reading graphic novels today). I took a short trip through the Flowers in the Attic series, and then on to The Clan of the Cave Bear saga. By now I was involved in the sharing of reading material among my mother, grandmother, and both aunts; I was allowed to read whatever I wanted. And I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Reading became my number one obsession (well, ok maybe number two, after my undying love for Shaun Cassidy).
During my teens I learned to love the horror fiction of the one and only Stephen King. I actually started reading him in 9th grade and didn’t even know it. Remember when he wrote as Richard Bachman? Well…..I read “The Longest Walk” and had to write a report on it for English. Loved it! I didn’t find out until years later that this amazing story was actually the work of Mr. King.
As you might remember from my previous post, my college days were spent majoring in English. LOTS of reading, mostly good stuff. Remember the teachers I mentioned? Well, one fantastic professor I had was Sanford Sternlicht. 19th Century fiction. John Galsworthy. LOVED it. (Hated James’ A Portrait of a Lady, but we won’t go there).
So, what am I reading these days? I’m going through the Harry Potter series again, this time I’m reading it aloud to my children. Fun! I’m reading books about starting and running a business, writing, copywriting, self-help, spirituality, and young adult fiction. I mostly read historical fiction, but any good story will grab me. I’m active on Goodreads, so I get good ideas from my group.
What are you reading these days? Who are you as a reader? What made you that way? Better yet, how does what you read influence your writing? I’d love to read your comments.