A good book can be the start of a lifelong addiction. After reading Amanda Arista's blog post, I started thinking about what I was reading when I was a kid and whether it lead me to where I am now (which is working on the revisions for the first book in my new series).
I have admit that I don't think I started out reading anything particularly out of the ordinary for my age. I've been an avid reader for as long as I could remember. When I was in elementary school, I read every Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and E.B. White book I could lay my hands on. I read about Fudge, Ramona, and Stuart Little. These books were light and dealt with just the normal everyday things a kid faced such as annoying little brothers, bullies, and tests at school, folded in with the occasional talking animal (because we all wished our pets could talk).
In the fifth grade, I stumbled across a book called My Brother Sam Is Dead, which focuses on a family that was trying to survive the Revolutionary War. It was my first really serious book and I remember reading it a couple times. This seemed to be a turning point for me as the light-hearted books that I read before no longer seemed as appealing.
Fast-forward a couple years to Saturday visits to the library with my father. It was the highlight of every weekend. I would get an enormous stack of books and carry them down to a table on the main floor where I would read while waiting for my dad to make his selections. It wasn't long before I moved to the, then, very small young adult section. It was there that I found Robin McKinley's The Outlaws of Sherwood. I loved the story! I loved the images of Sherwood forest and the heroic tales and struggles of Robin Hood. But something wasn't right. I felt like the story was missing something. So, not long after finishing the story, I started writing my own version of Robin Hood. It was the first book that I finished writing. I still have it packed away somewhere with a few other old dreams. McKinley's Robin Hood was quickly followed by Parke Godwin's Sherwood and Robin and the King.
From Robin Hood, I found myself introduced to both the fantasy and romance genres at the same time by some friends. I think at that point, the die was cast. My fate was sealed. I needed the fantastic, the drama and action, with a nice splash of romance to make all the struggle and pain worthwhile.
So, to Cleary, White, Blume, McKinley, Godwin, and so many authors over the years that have helped to mold (and warp) me, I say thank you. Thank you for feeding my addiction to writing. Thank you for filling my imagination for countless hours at a time. Thank you for my addiction to the written word. Thank you for characters that have made me laugh and cry. Thank you for years of fun.
And now my question of you, what books filled your childhood? Are there any books that you would love to pass down to your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews?