Sunday, September 28, 2008

R.E.A.D. in America Day (or why I love books)

As posted in Livejournal... In celebration of R.E.A.D. in America Day, tell us about what you're reading. How is reading important to you? What would you recommend to others?

It's funny... I didn't know this was today and yet that is what I've been doing all day (besides some internet forays). Right now I am reading the Sookie Stackhouse books and I've just finished Dead to the World and am reading Dead as a Doornail. They're good, light reading. And I've been wondering why vamp/were novels always have the heroine going for the vamp more often than the were. Vamps always seem to come first. *shut up ya pervs*

Reading is the number one thing I love. You can take away my movies and television, music and internet. Just leave me my books. When I was little I remember trying to teach myself to read with the Little House books. I remember always getting confused with "now" and "know". I'd sit in my closet with my books and pick out words that I knew and try to make sense of the books based on those words. I was in 3rd grade when I read my first book through in one afternoon. That was Little Sioux Girl. I think I woke up early and picked it up to read since everyone else was still sleeping. After that there was no stopping me. I'd read cereal boxes if I couldn't find a book to read.

My grandma babysat my sister and I a lot and she loved to read (my mom is also a great reader and my niece reminds me much of myself at that age, always carrying around a book... this makes me very happy). Grandma had this basket of books in her living room and I'd always grab one to read while everyone else watched television. My favorite was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Girl of the Limberlost. She also had a book about Jack the Ripper that intrigued me. The photos were gruesome and sometimes gave me nightmares but I couldn't stop myself from reading bits of it when I was over at her house. I must have been in first grade at the time so it was a bizarre choice of reading material.

When I was in fifth grade I found a copy of Roots and was determined to finish it one summer. It took me until seventh grade to actually read it through. That was probably the first huge novel I'd read. And after that no novel was safe, no matter how thick. I would read any fiction I could get my hands on. Somehow many of those were Harlequin romances although for the life of me I cannot remember where I'd first got them but I had two large trash bags of them by the time I graduated high school. I read Stephen King and V.C. Andrews and many classics also but I loved the trashiness of romance novels, particularly the historical romance novels (I still do but I can't remember the last time I spent money on one)

When I was sixteen I saw David Lynch's "Dune"and was fascinated by the sandworms. I remember seeing the trailers for the movie but I couldn't talk any of my family into taking me to see it. Even my friends didn't want to see it. One weekend my folks rented it so I finally got to sit down and see what those sandworms were all about. When I discovered it was a novel by Frank Herbert I immediately went to my school library and tracked it down. I fell in love with science fiction right then and there. One of my schoolmates saw me in the sci-fi section and he recommended Robert Heinlein to me (it was either Tim or Thom Holbrook, I wish I could remember which!). The first Heinlein book I read was I Will Fear No Evil and after that I had to read everything I could find that he'd written. And no, I don't find him sexist and I don't believe my love of his books makes me a bad feminist. He is what he is/He was what he was. He didn't write women very well but then he isn't the first male writer to write poorly developed female characters.

To this day sci-fi is still my favorite genre. I love how open and adventurous it is. Anything can happen in sci-fi. Fantasy is interesting but space travel, that's where it's at. I do get upset sometimes that there aren't enough women writing sci-fi. I often wonder if there are but maybe there's a glass ceiling for female sci-fi writers. I want more writers like Sheri S. Tepper and Marge Piercy.

But right now I am off to read more Sookie Stackhouse adventures and wonder why she just doesn't jump all over Alcide.

No comments: