Friday, March 11, 2011

My reading life (sort of)

I downloaded Open Office many months ago, but, beyond typing up a list of books I'd like to request via ILL sometime, I haven't really used it much. I decided it was time to try something new with it.

For some reason I've been thinking about a story my mom told me several years ago. My mom works at a public library, and she had a patron come in, a mother who was upset that her son only wanted to read Star Wars books.  My mom helped her find other books for her son, but both my mom and I couldn't help but think that this mom should have been happy her son was a voracious reader, period. Who knows what books his Star Wars habit would lead him to next? I only hope that her efforts to get him to read something else didn't turn him off of reading entirely.

Thinking about that led me to thinking about my own reading. Below is a very simplified picture of my reading over the years ("Mysteries" is missing. Whoops). I did it using the Open Office Draw program - is that equivalent to MS Publisher?

So, as you can see, I started off as a big-time fantasy reader. I know there was one point where I read anything with unicorns and another point where I read anything with horses - I can't remember which came first. Same goes with the gryphons and dragons - I know I had periods where I read anything with either animal on the cover or in the title, but I don't know which came first or if the obsessions were mixed together.

I briefly got hooked on Goosebumps, which led to an addiction to Christopher Pike. I secretly raided my parents' bookshelves, sure that they would not want me to read their Stephen King novels. I'm pretty sure my first "book for adults" was King's Firestarter.

At some point, I had a teacher who forced everyone in class to read a certain number of science fiction novels. I wasn't happy with the assignment at first, but then I realized that "science fiction" did not mean "boring," like I thought it did. And I learned that sometimes the fantasy authors I loved had written science fiction, too.

The first book I ever read that had "romance" listed on the spine as its genre was Fire Dancer by Ann Maxwell. I loved it and the books that came after it, but now, as someone who's been reading romance for a long time, I'm a little peeved that this series ever got marketed as romance (I believe it was originally marketed as sci-fi, but then repackaged as romance). It has strong romantic elements, but the romance is never resolved. I don't think the series has ever been finished.

It took me ages to admit that I was really a romance fan long before I ever read Maxwell's books - the fantasy and sci-fi (and even, in some cases, horror) books I enjoyed the most tended to be ones with romantic elements. Everything gets a little intertwined - I think my love for paranormal romance has its roots in my old love for fantasy and horror, and my love for fantasy and futuristic romance definitely stemmed from my love for fantasy and science fiction. I'm not really sure how the historical and contemporary romance fits in.

My tastes have changed over the years, but I don't think my interest in any of the genres I've enjoyed has ever really gone away. I read a lot of romance, but that doesn't mean I stopped reading fantasy or science fiction (or even horror, although it's rare I read the really scary stuff anymore). And sometimes the genres do tend to blend together, or it wouldn't have been possible for Maxwell's book to be considered sci-fi in one printing and futuristic romance in another.

There are all kinds of things missing from my picture. Somewhere in there should be the period of time I spent reading nothing but Babysitters Club books. And then there were Lurlene McDaniel's terminally ill teens. And those random YA historicals (ooh, maybe that's the root of my love of historical romances!). And all those books with cats.

Ok, so my picture is really simplified.

I know, this was a pretty random post, but I had fun putting the picture together. Anybody else have reading stories you'd like to share?

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