My children are voracious readers. Put a good book in their hands, and they can be entertained for hours. They both adore the middle grade fantasy genre, and I have to say those books are entertaining. I’ve read quite a few myself. As an adult.
I love to read now. Paranormal romance, romantic suspense, thrillers, mystery, and even middle grade fantasy. When I was a kid…not so much. I only read when it was required, and even then I only read enough to get by. Reading was a chore. It was homework, not fun.
I still remember the moment I decided reading wasn’t for me. I was in first grade, and we had to take home little books every night, read them, and then tell the teacher about them the next day. My teacher decided the little books were too easy for me, so she gave me a huge, ginormous, monster of a book to take home. (Of course it probably wasn’t all that big, but it seemed like a monster at the time.)
So there I sat on the couch all evening forcing myself to read the monster. My heart still races when I think about it. I was in tears because my eyes were so tired from staring at the pages. I remember my mom standing there, insisting the teacher didn’t mean for me to read the whole thing in one night. But I had to read all the other books in one night, and she didn’t tell me otherwise for this one. So I read the whole darn thing, and I hated every minute of it.
Of course when I got to school the next day, the teacher laughed and said of course I didn’t have to read the whole thing in one night. But it was too late. The damage was done. From that point on, I hated reading.
All through junior high and high school, I dreaded mandatory reading. The books the teachers chose never interested me, so I assumed NO books would interest me. Ever. I read Cliff’s Notes and paid really close attention to the class discussions to a
void having to read the actual book.
It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I actually discovered reading could be fun. I was teaching at a junior high, and I became friends with the librarian there. I told her how I didn’t like reading, and she insisted it was only because I hadn’t read the right books. She hooked me up with a Mary Higgins Clark mystery, and it was fantastic. I read five or six more of those before I branched out into other genres. Then I found Twilight, which I credit for starting my writing career, but that’s a whole other blog post for another day.
I have read more books in the past ten years than I read in the entire thirty years before that. I do feel a little cheated. Maybe if I hadn’t been put off of reading so young, I might have started writing earlier. But it is what it is, and I love both reading and writing now. The present is the only part that matters.
I’m so glad my girls love reading. Who knows, maybe they’ll even end up writing a little one day too.