Monday, September 26, 2011

My Reading Timeline


Pretend that it hasn't been so long since I posted anything and that this article is actually okay-ish. Are you pretending? Thanks, I appreciate that.

For my YA lit (Young Adult Literature) class we had to write a paper about our personal reading histories. So here's mine. It's only a handful of remembrances since I only skimmed the surface but I like it (I'm biased...heh heh). I'll probably try to improve and expand on it later but I still thought it was worth posting if only because I learned so much from writing this and it also brought back some good memories. Our reading histories are important because reading plays such a big role in our society, especially to writers! If you don't have the time to read a wide variety of books...I don't think that you'd have the time or desire to write. So here it is:

My Reading Timeline

It all begins with our parents, doesn’t it? Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my parents reading to me before bed. My favorites from that early period were “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and “Goodnight Gorilla”. I liked active stories were things happened and the imaginative element was high.

When I moved to Logan and started first grade and (finally!) began to learn the “secret” language of reading and writing. I remember that it was so awkward at first. You’d have to read aloud to your parents and I’d stumble across words like “canoe” in a book (I remember it was about whales) but eventually after a lot of practice and help from my parents, I became a proficient reader. The key was to find something that interested me...

I can’t actually remember reading much of what I checked out from my elementary school library in those early years, I remember thinking that their selection was limited. However, there was a picture book section, a fiction section, and a non-fiction section; surely I could find something worth reading in there! I checked out books about black and white horror movies, the paranormal, a Disney book about thought, the story of Archimedes, books about soccer, and I even attempted Sherlock Holmes. But I was still an early reader; I needed to find my niche to help develop my reading skills to the next level of chapter books.

Then like a flame, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone appeared, or actually was read aloud to me in second grade. The mythology of old made new in J.K. Rowling’s series spoke to me and to a lot others as well. It helped me make the transition to the new world of chapter books much like the Hogwarts Express took Harry to his. I could now find plenty of books to keep me engaged (my parents might argue that there were too many) I was now a bibliophile for life.

Growing up with Harry Potter, Star Wars, and other Sci-Fi/Fantasy books helped get me through some of the more boring books my teachers chose as part of their curriculum. However, my tastes weren’t just limited to “the awesome”, my parents instilled in me an importance for meaningful books via bribe around fourth and fifth grade. They told me that if I read the entire Newberry list or equivalent books, I could go on a trip anywhere in the U.S. Two great things resulted from this challenge: first, I learned that these were profound books that may not have space battles or wizards but that they were still fun- just in a different way and second; I got to go to Disney World.

I think that the High School teachers design their reading lists to be as boring as possible. I can only remember reading two books in High school English classes that I actually liked: “Something wicked this way Comes” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That’s it, end of list. Thankfully I had Chris Stewarts’ “The Great and Terrible” series to keep me occupied. This is when I discovered mainstream LDS fiction, I have to admit I ignore the romances like the plague but I love just about everything else.

Senior year I didn’t really have any required reading. So I started “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell to understand story and myth better (did I mention that I want to be a writer?) and the threshold YA book for me: “The Dark Divine” by Bree Despain. These two books are on my top five books list. They are great in different ways. “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” has helped me see how interconnected our stories are with our psyche and how we’ve always used these impulses to create stories old myths or new books alike. “The Dark Divine” helped me realize that the YA market wasn’t just comprised of pithy “Twilight” knockoff books about vampires, werewolves, demon hunters, and fallen angels. There are some high quality books out there; you just have to look in the right places.

Not much has changed since then, I’m still reading however there are more textbooks, writing instruction, and YA books thrown in now and I’m now on goodreads. (I love it! It does the math of how far you are in books for you!) I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to be literate. I can’t imagine life without books or reading, I’d be miserable without them. I know that if we keep on reading and writing though, we can change the world.

And that's it! Any comments, concerns, advice, or emotional outbursts? Leave them in the comments section! I love to read them.

See you guys later!


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