Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Changes in My Reading Life

I started reading when I was two. Spontaneously. No one could quite explain it.

I've always read since then.

But I have gone through several distinct phases in my reading life.



PICTURE BOOKS PHASE: Ages 2-6

I read any picture books that came my way. My mom subscribed to an I-Can-Read children's bookbox for me. I got a couple of easy readers each month, including all the Dr. Seuss books as well as my first favorite book, Go, Dog, Go. The bookmobile came to our town a couple of times a month, and I could get a few books there.




MAGICAL BOOKS PHASE: Ages 6-12

As a child, I fell in love with books with magic in the story. My favorite writer was Edward Eager, and my favorite book was Half Magic. I gradually expanded that to include science fiction and fantasy, reading the Miss Pickerell books, the Danny Dunn books, The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key, culminating in my favorite childhood read, A Wrinkle in Time. I remember being annoyed when I'd pick out a book with magic in the title and discovering it was realistic fiction when I started reading. 




THE GOTHIC NOVEL PHASE: Ages 12-14

When I was twelve, I discovered I could read my mom's books. My mom subscribed to Book-of-the-Month club, and when she realized I was reading books she had laid around the house and that I was starting to ask a lot of questions, she canceled her subscription to BOTM and started reading gothic novels. Gothic novels are all the same: a beautiful young woman comes to a dark estate to work for a handsome but mysterious man...the woman initially suspects the man of wrongdoing, but all is made right in the end and the woman and man fall in love and marry. I. hated. these. books. But they were all my mom would let me read. I read every book ever written by Phyllis Whitney, Dorothy Eden, and Victoria Holt.




CLASSIC BOOK PHASE: High School 

I was given a list of classics everyone should read before college when I was in high school. Though Somehow I was able to talk my mom into letting me these instead of the gothic novels. I would have been willing to read anything at all other than gothic novels. I found my way to Main Street and It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis; John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath; In Cold Blood by Truman Capote; Don Quixote; The Good Earth; Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis; and To Kill a Mockingbird.




SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY REDUX: Young Adult

I met my husband when I was eighteen. He and I were reading the same Ray Bradbury book. For most of my twenties, I read classic science fiction and fantasy of the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, including all of Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, Robert Heinlein, Alfred Bester, Lester del Rey, Philip K. Dick, Fritz Leiber, and Theodore Sturgeon




LITERARY FICTION AND GOOD NONFICTION: Young Adult to the Present

And then I found online book clubs. It was dial-up and my connection often got broken right in the middle of discussions, but online book clubs opened my eyes to a brand, new world of excellent books. It wasn't long before I could order books online, too, and soon I had lovely stacks of my TBR and long lists of books I wanted to read...and I lived happily ever after.






Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

24 comments:

  1. Oh I love this, what a great idea for a post! I had a historical fiction phase in my early teens, then a sci fi and fantasy phase which overlapped with my Agatha Christie and James Bond (???) phases - I think I was after order and completeness and predictability in a life that wasn't so strong on those things at the time. A Great Books phase just before I went to university (will I be clever enough to go?) had me on The History of Western Philosophy etc, alongside my studies! I had a massive what I'd have to call "different peoples' lives" phase when I lived in London in the 90s and had access to the excellent Lewisham Library, reading a lot of books by LGBTQ+ folk and people of colour, and lots of psychology and sociology and travel.

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  2. Ooh nice! I can't really remember what I gravitated before I was a preteen. I know the Dear America Diaries were a fave! Then when I was 13 I fell in love with vampires and that's pretty much where I'm at now! Lol. Though along the way I found fantasy and some thrillers and of course still more vampires and other creatures that go bump in the night! So really not much has changed since I was 13! Lol.

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

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    1. My phases each lasted a long time. I wonder what phase I'll go through next.

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    2. My phases each lasted a long time. I wonder what phase I'll go through next.

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  3. It is funny how we go through different phases in our reading. I used to devour true crime. I currently read a lot of women's fiction and narrative nonfiction.

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    1. I have even gone through mini-phases. One of those was true crime, and it lasted for a year or two.

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  4. The Grapes of Wrath was such a good book.

    My TTT.

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  5. I am forever grateful for those online groups that I found in the mid-90s! Not only did I discover an abundance of new authors and literary fiction, but I made friends with readers like me, many of whom remain very dear friends.

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    1. I agree with you completely, Les. And you are one of them.

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  6. i'm seeing these posts around today and loving the idea. i used to read more nonfiction than I do now
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  7. Well done! I like that you met your husband while reading the same book--I hope that lead to a nice life.

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    1. Yes, it felt like a perfect sign for a bookworm like me.

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  8. I love that you broke down your reading experiences into 7 phases. I don't know that I could do that though I became a bigger reader as an adult than as a teen. I was too busy being "the athlete."

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    1. Interesting. Few sports for girls when I was a teen. But I had my books.

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  9. What a fantastic way to chart your reading changes over time, I really liked this. I started reading very young also, I was three. I have also been reading ever since. Happy Reading!

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    1. I wish all kids could take to reading like we did. No effort. Like I learned to breathe.

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  10. What a delightful post, and of course I recognize myself in some of these stages. We had a tiny beach cabin that was stocked with Readers Digest Condensed books, and I read quite a few Victoria Holt novels in that setting.

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    1. Yes, my grandpap had a lot of Readers Digest Condensed books, and I'd often read those when I could find nothing else.

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  11. Great way to show how your reading has changed over the years. It seems yours and mine coincide at the Gothic phase. I loved these authors. Can also agree on Library fiction and good nonfiction.

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  12. Ah! All of these phases, I recognize. I was actually thinking about my Gothic Fiction phase myself the other day. It made me nostalgic. (Although, to be fair, I'm always nostalgic.)

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Sharing thoughts and experiences about books and reading is why I blog. Thank you for sharing yours.