A Reader Who: Wendleberry

A Reader Who logoWelcome to the first edition of A Blighted One’s new feature A Reader Who. This is the first of a series of guest posts where readers share their story about who influenced them to read. For more information on this feature or to sign up to be a guest poster check out this page. Now please welcome Wendleberry from Marvel at Words and be sure to check out her blog!
the guest

arw_0wbarw_thestory

There is no specific place my love of reading came from. It wasn’t something that was suddenly thrust upon and encouraged within me. Reading is just something that has constantly been a part of my life.

With siblings a significant number of years older than me, I spent a lot of my time as a youth alone. I filled that time with reading, and an imagination fed through books.

Both my parents read a lot. My mum has always had books filling her bed side drawers, as well as a huge pile of books in the spare bedroom. This has been the case since I was a child, and no matter how many books she reads, her pile of unread books never gets any smaller. My dad has a small study that is literally wall to wall bookcases. He has his nose in two or three books at a time and has always enjoyed reading in the living room, where there will be people about with whom he can share an interesting or funny quote from his book.

The types of books I was exposed to as a child varied wildly. My mum reads mostly popular fiction, with the genres ranging from romance to thriller and horror to crime. My dad rests more firmly in the area of non-fiction, enjoying books spanning many years about true-life wars, crimes and wide-ranging adventures and catastrophes. He enjoys fiction, but sticks more to the classics.

My own personal taste in books, it is obvious, has been influenced by my parents. While it is distinct in its own right, there are clear overlaps. My mum and I often lend each other books and make recommendations; she is the reason I grew up reading Point Horror before progressing to Stephen King. My dad and I, on the other hand, have more meaningful discussions about the works of authors such as William Golding, John Wyndham and Joseph Conrad.

It’s clear to me I get my enthusiasm for books from my mum. She devours them. She can’t pass a charity shop without ducking in to have a look at the books, and neither can I. She sits up reading in bed at night and in the morning, and often falls asleep with a book in her hands—all habits I have picked up.

From my dad I have learnt a respect of books. He appreciates their history and their meaning. He buys more obscure and rare books, seeking out specific titles and editions from online booksellers. He is proud of his book collection. He doesn’t go as far as putting his books in protective bags when they leave the house, like I do, but the sentiment is there.

I don’t remember learning to read, I just remember always reading. I was probably the only child in school who enjoyed reading aloud to the rest of the class. I enjoyed reading books for school. I remember reading The Hobbit, An Inspector Calls and Of Mice and Men, to name just a few. I still have essays and creative writing assignments I wrote about them.

There was one teacher, when I was 11 or 12, who recognised my passion for reading. I still remember, after having studied A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, she took me aside and said, if I was interested in reading more Charles Dickens, that she recommended The Pickwick Papers. That I, specifically, would be likely to enjoy that book; that it would challenge me a little more.

To this day I have not read The Pickwick Papers. I remember finding it in the school library, but for whatever reason at the time, I did not check it out and I did not read it. But now, almost 20 years later, I still remember. Whenever I am in a book shop, the first section I always go to is the classics, and while I’m browsing the shelves I will always keep an eye out for The Pickwick Papers. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually buy it.

What I feel like I grew up with, on the whole, was an ideology that reading is worthwhile. It is worth your time and your effort. Reading to me came has always come as naturally as breathing and eating. It is just something I have to do.

Marvel at Words

My Bookish Family, Reader Influences, and A New Feature!

I love hearing why people read, who got them started reading, and what reading means to people. I love this post by Lee at Rally the Readers about her parents and this post on the evolution of two readers by Christina at Reader of Fictions and Kara at Great Imaginations. I’ve had a version of this post in my drafts for four months (WordPress has this revision tool that let me see when I started it) and I want to share who influenced my reading and hear from you, too!

a bookish family

My family is extremely bookish. I don’t remember a time in my life when books weren’t important to me. I posted yesterday about some of the books I read growing up. My dad read books about religion and my mom loved romance. I don’t remember what my brother used to read but I know he has read almost every Star Wars series and he likes Stephen King. He also bought me a copy of The Hobbit for Christmas one year.

an awesome sister

However, the person that most influenced my reading habits is my sister, Chandra. (She also taught me how to tie my shoes) She is six years older than me and when I was younger, the books she read were the books I wanted to read. She helped me read higher than my grade level. Some of the books I read because of her are still my favorites: I borrowed her copy of Anne of Green Gables. Anne of Green Gables was a life changer for me. I was probably older than its target audience when I first read it, but I fell in love.

I mentioned Sweet Valley, Babysitters Club and Caroling B Cooney in yesterday’s post. They are all books I came to through my sister. Cooney’s Flash Fire, Emergency Room, and Flight #116 is Down were books I borrowed from my sister and read many times. I fell in love with Caroline B Cooney and read so many of her books. I loved The Ancient One by T. A. Barron which she had. I also read my sister’s Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews series and The Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey. I borrowed her Jane Austen books before I got my own copies. I don’t even remember all the books I’ve borrowed from my sister and loved. A lot of what she read shaped what I enjoy reading today.

booktalkers for life

My sister still influences my reading today. We pass books back and forth. When I read Harry Potter for the first time in 2012, I borrowed the books from her. I read her KGI series by Maya Banks. I loaned her my A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin series. She also has my copies of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. We talk about books and reading every time we’re together. We’ve booktalked through Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, and The Hunger Games. She (along with her bookish husband) is raising her daughters (the most adorable girls I know and of course I’m partial but they’re seriously cute) to be readers and I love watching their love of books grow.

a grateful reader

Books have always been important in my life and I am so thankful to my family for that. I learned to read quickly and I never understood why some kids at school didn’t enjoy it. Book orders and book fairs were extremely exciting for me, and my love for the library was immense. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and sure, movies and television had their part in that but there are so many worlds that books open up to you. I’m so grateful for the places I’ve found and the people I’ve met while reading. Plus, I’ve bonded with so many people over books like Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice. I made friends I’ve never met but love because of Twilight. In high school, one of my best friends, Amanda, and I would read the same books for AR points and talk about Jane Austen and Nicholas Sparks. Amanda and I still bond over books today, too!

imaginative & curious

I think imagination and nosiness curiosity are my main loves of reading. I was always ready for new things that I didn’t know about and I also wanted to know all about everyone’s lives. I wanted to see inside houses and know if they liked their siblings, what their favorite foods were and if they had cats. I am still like this. I am a nosy person, but I like to think that I’m just really interested. Please, come in and tell me all about your life. I love reading because you get inside someone’s head and heart and see things you normally wouldn’t get to see.

a new feature

Now you know a little bit more about me, books I’ve read, who influenced my reading and some aspects of reading I really enjoy. I’m also curious about the stories of other readers! I want to start a feature where bloggers (or maybe just readers in general) can do a guest post and write about who influenced them to read, if their family is bookish, or maybe there was a teacher or librarian who helped them connect with books. If you have story to tell about who led you to reading, even if you found your own way and you’re the only reader in your family and group of friends, I want to know!

Hopefully some people will be interested in sharing their story and reading the stories of others, or this obviously won’t work. The tentative plan is to put a guest post up every other week. If there’s more or less interest in it, I might modify the schedule. There aren’t really any set guidelines, I’d like it to be fun and interesting for the writers and readers. Variety is a good thing!

So if you’re interested in sharing your story in a guest post, you can let me know in the comments or email me at ablightedone@gmail.com. You’re welcome to ask any questions, too! If there’s much interest, maybe I’ll set up a form and make another post. I’m still coming up with a name for the feature, I’ve got one in mind but I’m not fixed on it yet.

If you’re not interested in doing a guest post and want to talk about someone that influenced you anyway, tell me about them in the comments!

thank you