Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spasmodic (Kristin Rae)

Spasmodic: adjective - occurring or done in brief, irregular bursts

That's pretty much how I've always read. Well, not necessarily brief, but definitely in irregular bursts. Sometimes I go through a stretch where I can't read enough or fast enough! More books, more books! Sometimes I can have three books going at one time and blaze through all of them, other times I'll be stuck on the same book for months, no matter how good it is. Depends on my mood, what I'm writing, if I'm drafting and my brain has no more room for anything else, the weather. Did I mention my mood?

The first time I really and truly remember getting sucked into stories was back around the third grade. My teacher must have adored Roald Dahl because I was only in her class half the school year (we moved), but we read The BFG and James and the Giant Peach. I think that was also the class that got me reading The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks. Oh, and The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Obsessed. My mom and I would spend hours in the library back then. More books, more books!

And when I got a little bit older, my dad started giving me the Mandie books by Lois Gladys Leppard. They changed my world. Here was a young blonde girl that was a small part Native American, just like me, who goes on adventures and solves mysteries and deals with loss and juggles friendships and travels the world. I still have books 1-28 on my shelf:



I hope one day to read back through them, and find books 29-40 to see how her story ends. 

During high school and college I didn't read much for ME. I was too busy writing papers on social deviance (college) or reading Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies and trying to understand those deep existential, metaphorical, symbolic or WHATEVER thoughts the authors were trying to convey (You mean it's NOT about a farm of animals??). I'm still scared of the "classics" to this day. I don't feel smart enough to get what I'm supposed to be getting out of them. Clearly, those aren't the books for me. I don't like to analyze what I read, I want to be entertained. I want to GO PLACES.

One summer, I babysat the four boys next door (YES, four at once o_O) and found a handful of the Harry Potter books on their bookshelf. It only took one nap time reading to hook me and I started building my own collection:


I don't know how y'all handled the wait between each book. I only had to wait for the last one :)

From there, I tried to get into adult books because that's what I thought I was "supposed" to read, being an adult and all. Besides Shannon Hale's Austenland, Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin, and everything ever written by Sarah Addison Allen (especially The Sugar Queen), nothing really grabbed me. Then my husband's cousin persuaded me to read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, and I will forever be thankful for that series. It was my gateway to YA. Fast forward over a handful of years spent devouring young adult books and attempting to write paranormal stories  myself, I found Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and my eyes were opened to the world of contemporary YA. Talk about life changing. I suppose I would have started writing contemporary eventually, but that was my kick. What is it about authors named Steph(a/e)nie guiding me through life?

I'm very open to reading from the various sub-genres of YA, just to know what's out there, to get a sense of what works for me and what doesn't, experience new worlds with new rules. To be inspired for my own creativity. But first and foremost, I just want to ENJOY what I'm reading. I want to be entertained, as well as become emotionally invested. I like when a book makes me cry. I like when I'm still thinking about characters days later. I like feeling as if I just traveled somewhere else, with a new friend.

9 comments:

  1. I feel like your reading/writing journey is just like mine! I didn't start reading HP until college. A friend and I always exchanged books for our birthdays and I asked for the first two HP books. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I flew through the first four and then had to painstakingly wait for the rest of the books to release. I went to every midnight release party. And then in grad school I didn't have time to read, but then I discovered Twilight afterwards and eventually Anna and then Lola. I have lost count of how many times I've read or listened to Ms. Perkins' books. And both Stephanies inspired me to write YA.
    Can't wait for the release of your novel!
    Great post!

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    1. We are kindred spirits, Anita! The figure skating, the reading, the writing! How fun to go to HP midnight release parties!! I definitely missed out on all of those memories!

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    1. And I just discovered they made two of the books into movies--they're on Netflix instant right now! I'm sort of afraid to watch because they look... inexpensively made LOL

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  3. I am so happy you said that you think classics are not for you! I've felt like that for a looong time but as an English teacher it's like talking blasphemy. There are classics I LOVE (e.g. Lord of the Flies, Once and Future King, Jane Eyre, anything by Edith Wharton--I think I'm the only person in my 10th grade English class who loved and got Ethan Fromme), but as a whole, I can't get into them. Just. Can't. They scare me. And I feel like an idiot when reading a lot of them. Great post! And I loved James and the Giant Peach too.

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    1. Yes! The classics are SCARY! Thank you for getting it! :)

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  4. I don't know the Mandie books. I guess know I'm going to find them!

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    1. You can borrow them any time! 1-28, anyway! :)

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