My earliest memories of reading was not actually reading. I loved to take the books out of the hallway bookshelf and pretend to read. I would sit down open up the book and make up my own story. My parents have recordings of me doing this which are quite hilarious (as soon as I noticed the camera I shut up). While I liked to read it did not come easy at first, but once I got the hang of it I was devouring books like they were Reese’s. The earliest books I read ranged from Dr. Seuss to an oversized book collection by Richard Scarry, that was my mother’s.
It took me awhile to move on from simple little stories that delighted my heart, but once I discovered chapter books and novels a whole new world opened up. I read anything I could get my hands on-books at home or the library. I went through a Nancy Drew phase where I was determined to read every book but then quit. My Nancy Drew phase was pre-middle school where I didn’t venture beyond the literature at home or the local library. Photo CC of Abbey Hendrickson
When I entered middle school I discovered the “school library”(said in ominous voice with dramatic music in the background). I probably went about every other day because I was reading books that fast. I lived about 30 minutes from school and the rest of civilization so my forms of entertainment were either a) pick fights with my siblings b) read a book c) play with my imaginary friend. At first I read books of my choice because at that time I was still an independent reader. Then something changed. I read Twilight (ominous music playing once again).
Photo CC of Jack Lyons
To be fair I cannot say that it exactly started with Twilight but it did start with the vampire craze! I lived through it and I can say it was bloodsucking (pun intended ;). When I entered middle school everyone I knew was reading Twilight and then ordering the books through Scholastic book orders. I held off until the next year. Never going back. But it started something within me-a need to read books my friends were reading. It didn’t end with the twilight series or The House of Night books, but continued on until I moved halfway through my high school career. If my friends were reading it, I was reading it. If the librarian recommended it I was reading it. I do not blame anyone in this situation, only myself. I could have said no. I was just too weak after reading Twilight.
I wasn’t completely absorbed in the hip new Lit. appearing on the shelves everyday. In fact I read some classic Lit. while still staying up late to read Sarah Dessen. I attempted my first Shakespeare play in 8th grade (Romeo and Juliet, terrible choice) and found solace in a play that inspired an original poem and gave me the courage to start writing my own novel, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. However, Shakespeare was not my only inspiration. If I had not discovered the Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr my writing style would not have taken the direction it did.
I also read Pride and Prejudice, Emma, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arther’s Court, Scarlett Letter, Dracula, and Jane Eyre-just to mention a few. After moving I re-discovered my love of reading what I wanted to read not what everyone else was reading. I became a reading hipster (not really).
Throughout my life I have read all of the Little House Books, all of Anne of Green Gables, The Harry Potter series, all of the Oz books and The Host but no book has held a more dear spot in my heart than the Hobbit by a genius of a man J.R.R. Tolkien.
The first time I read the Hobbit was in 6th grade and I fell in love. Everything about this book represents who I am as a writer and as a person because I can relate to Bilbo on so many levels.