My Reading Journey

The literacy narrative was the first major project of the class and it really set things in motion.  It gave us the opportunity to talk to each other about our reading histories and set things up for the course of the semester.  I've never been big on papers but I found this one to be extremely fun and it was interesting for me to really sit down and look back at some of the books I've read over the years.

Also, please don't laugh at my title.  I'm horrible with titles!

From Horror to Hormones: One Girl’s Reading Journey 

Reading has always played a big role in my life. I was a very solitary child and I found reading to be a great way to entertain myself. My family moved quite a bit and making friends was not easy for me, especially when I reached those awkward pre-teen and teen years. I found that books housed many fictional friends that expected very little from me. 

As a pre-teen, I didn’t have access to many books. I was a bus rider so I never had time to stop at the school library before or after school and the local library wasn’t easy to get to. However, my parents and grandparents had well stocked bookshelves around the house and I was more than happy to read their books.

My dad’s tastes leaned more toward the gruesome. He read everything from James Patterson to Patricia Cornwell. I have a feeling a lot of the things I read were not comprehensible for someone my age but I read them anyway. I was captivated by murders and forensic science. For a while my parents were a little worried they might need to sleep with one eye open. That all changed when I was introduced to the Harry Potter novels.

Once again, these were books found on my dad’s shelf. I’d always found the covers to be a little too immature for my taste. I honestly couldn’t fathom why my dad owned the first few books in the series. Someone at his work had recommended them and he bought the first three. He’d read them and enjoyed them and thought they might be something I’d enjoy. I was skeptical but finally picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was a goner from the very first page. To this day there is not one book out there that I have read more times than I’ve read the Harry Potter series. Unlucky for me though, when I first started the series J.K. Rowling had not yet completed it so I was forced to fill the gaps with some other books found on my family’s shelves.

My mom and grandma shared a tasted for romances of any kind. It took a few years for me to find any interest in these but I did eventually run out of murder mysteries to read so I made my way to their shelves and started with the most comical romances out there; regency romances. The covers alone were enough to make me laugh. The covers definitely hint at what’s inside though. By the time I was sixteen I knew lots of ways to talk about sex without ever mentioning the words sex, penis, or vagina. If romance novels are good for one thing, they did help me expand my vocabulary.

Funny enough, while I didn’t love romance novels, they did spark an interest for historical fiction. There wasn’t much history in the romance novels I read but there was enough for me to want to find out more. I found Philippa Gregory’s novels to be a good mix of romance, mystery, history, and intrigue. They had much more depth than the novels I’d previously read but they combined elements I already knew a lot about. While reading about history in non-fiction books never really appealed to me, the same story told through fiction would completely captivate me.

Historical fiction continued to intrigue me well into my high school years. However, I found some of the adult novels to be too slow for my liking. I didn’t have a lot of time to read for pleasure so what time I did have, I didn’t want to spend slogging through a book that couldn’t hold my interest. I found young adult historical fiction to be a great alternative to giving up historical fiction novels altogether. At the urging of a friend I picked up books by Anna Godbersen and Libba Bray and officially fell in love with young adult literature.

Young adult continued to be my demographic of choice throughout high school. I branched out from historical fiction to contemporary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and more. I wasn’t picky about the genre as long as it was considered young adult. I became so obsessed with young adult books that I found myself very rarely reading what I was supposed to be reading for school. I found time to read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby but found myself reading the Cliff Notes for Grapes of Wrath and The Hound of the Baskervilles. It wasn’t that I thought the books were bad, I just thought they took up time that I could spend reading something a bit more pleasurable.

To this day I still find myself obsessed with young adult literature and I consider it a great thing to be obsessed with. The young adult market has expanded so much recently and I constantly find new things to read. I’m technically outside the age range for young adult literature but I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter. The stories in young adult literature are expansive and informative without being boring. I can read a novel with heavy undertones of religion without feeling like I’m being preached to. I can read a novel weighted with historical facts without feeling like I want to fall asleep. The term young adult might refer to an age range that doesn’t necessarily include me but that doesn’t stop me from reading it.

From James Patterson to Stephanie Perkins; my reading tastes couldn’t be more varied. Every day I find myself drawn to something new. Whether it’s a recommendation from a friend, a blog, a teacher, or just something that caught my eye on the shelf, I don’t question it. My reading journey has been rather colorful and I only expect it to encompass all the colors of the rainbow as I grow older.


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