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Old 25th Mar 2007, 22:14   #81
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Default Re: How did you start? And where have you ended up?

Originally Posted by Wavid
Which book or author turned you on to reading 'seriously'? Or put another way - let's have some reading biographies...
I have just found this thread and read it from start to finish.

A great way to get to know more about some of the Palimpers. I have also spent a happy while trawling through my list of books I have read since I was 17, in 1979 -- coughs -- I now keep it on a spreadsheet. I ought to add it to my web page one day.

But now...

Well like most of you I started reading before I went to school, but have no memories of learning. Nor do I have any particular memories of one book turning me onto reading. I do though have periods when I do not read much, or find starting a book a chore and often discard books; and then I am inspired by a book and I get the bug again.

As a pre-teen I read the all the Swallows and Amazons series, Enid Blyton, the Adventure Series were my favourite, I even remember reading The Naughtiest at School, and The Faraway Tree. I graduated onto a The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, Jennings, The Narnia Series and series of books I cannot remember now, but the boys went round the world collecting animals for their father's zoo.

One of the great things about reading as a kid -- and I had forgotten about this -- was that I used to read the same sort of books as my elder brother did, and we talked about them. Next time I see him I will have to remind him of this. We need something to connect us these days. We seem to have drifted apart during the courses of our lives.

At school I remember reading, Durrell's My Family and Other Animals, White Fang by Jack London, and Toby, by Stan Bairstow. Later having to read Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge, and D H Lawrence's The Rainbow. I disliked Lawrence, and never finished it.

It was about this time I got in Science Fiction - reading Ursula Le Guin, Brian Aldiss, Asmiov, Samuel R Delaney -- there are some authors I just cannot recall now. I also dipped into Orwell, Austen, Tolstoy, Robert Graves and Tolkein -- all in the same way, I thought I should try them and I did. This started my life long love of Orwell's books -- I have now read them all, even Wigan Pier -- and also a dislike of LONG classics, and long books in general.

At university I got in playing fantasy role-playing (D&D, RQ etc.) and started reading Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, David Eddings, Harry Harrison, Robert Silverberg and Ian Watson. One of my friends at uni got me into Titus Groan, which got me off the fantasy track. I also read the Dying Earth series.

After University I was unemployed for a few years and went through historical fiction starting with Cornwell's Sharpe Series, and the Flashman books. I remember with great glee reading Robert Nye's Falstaff and Michael Sheas, Nifft the Lean - still two of my favourite books. For bus rides etc. I started picking up Ed McBains.I also read -- and still do read -- a lot of non-fiction, history etc.

Since those early genre-fuelled-days I am more random in how I pick up a book, in one case I searched for the word "random" on the library catalogue and read all the books with that word in the title -- in the process discovering Paul Auster's Music of Chance. But I rarely by books from bookshops. Novels for me are things you get from libraries. Sometimes in libraries I play games and look for a particular colour of book on the lowest shelf.

I also depend on other people's recommendations -- thanks Palimpsest.

I have also gone through something of a life change of late -- moving to Switzerland, learning a new language, getting separated etc -- and I now feel happier about reading a book over the weekend as something I want to do. This has lead me to experiment.

I am reading George Eliot's Silas Marner now, just because I have never done so and thought I would give the old girl a run for her money.

Somehow literature now speaks to me more personally than it did when I was in a dull marriage. I had to hurt to understand others hurt.

Last edited by Flutty; 25th Mar 2007 at 22:24.
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Old 26th Mar 2007, 0:20   #82
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Default Re: How did you start? And where have you ended up?

Originally Posted by Flutty View Post
I have just found this thread and read it from start to finish...
A series of books I cannot remember now, but the boys went round the world collecting animals for their father's zoo.
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
... and when I was eight or nine I was already an obsessive reader - lots of Willard Price...
Originally Posted by amner View Post
Oh, and as Col says, the Hal and Roger Adventure series by Willard Price. They were great.
That would be Willard Price's Adventure series, Flutty
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Old 26th Mar 2007, 4:21   #83
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Default Re: How did you start? And where have you ended up?

Great thread and an amazing assortment of readers here! Let's see, I didn't read much independently at all as a child, though my mother read to us. I wanted to play, play, play outside, ride my bike, pick and eat blackberries in the cow pasture behind our house, swim, swing on trees, and run barefoot. My mother was a career woman and we had a sitter in our home every day. My sisters and I were particularly mean to a young sitter one summer, but she loved me and bought me a copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett as a 10th birthday present. It thrilled me so much that I've never been without a book to read since then. Never was interested in horror, thrillers, whatnot, but went straight for Steinbeck's Red Pony, The Pearl, then The Old Man and The Sea, The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and of course Little Women. Think I've mentioned before that when I was 12 or so, my mother let me come with her into the adult section of the library and she happily let me check out Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill. When I was 13, my parents took away The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich from me and told me I couldn't read it until I wasn't simply interested in the atrocities but could understand the full story. My BA was in Biology/English and I took equivalent hours in English but chose the Bio degree because I got into a battle of wills with an old spinster teacher who demanded I take a semester of Milton (gag) and who called me on the carpet for suggesting in class that Ophelia was pregnant when she drowned herself. (It was a Southern Baptist college). Very heavy on world classics, English lit, poetry, creative writing, and American lit. Through ups, downs, marriages, motherhood, a late blooming career, and general goofiness, I always keep a book going. Wow, self-indulgence overload.
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Old 26th Mar 2007, 14:00   #84
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Default Re: How did you start? And where have you ended up?

I've been trying to write my own readingography whilst reading everyone else's, and you people keep reminding me of things I had forgotten about, bless ya.

One of my earliest memories is of reading Green Eggs and Ham to my kinder class (aged four). I was probably reading rote, but anyway...Learning to read at school, I powered through the levels until they started to let me borrow library books for my reading room time. I devoured Enid Blyton, The Chronicles of Narnia (I remember The Magician's Nephew blowing my mind), the Babysitters Club series, the lesser known Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam, any fables I could get my hands on, and I had a subscription to a a magazine that came with classic children's novels like Heidi and The Secret Garden. My later primary school years were spent reading whatever our library contained (it was veeeeery small), and the Mad magazines and Choose you own adventures (thanks Stewart) that so excited my older brothers.

When I was ten, my Pop came to live with us, and he brought with him his collection of Stephen King novels. So began my obsession with his books, and I read him almost exclusively for a couple of years. Upon commencing high school, I made friends who were more interested in swearing at teachers than reading (and I so desperately wanted to fit in). When I moved away, I made new friends who loved books, so I was introduced to Anne Rice, Virginia Andrews (I kid you not, although my Mum did read her all the time when I was little), as well as the novels I had to read for my later high school years.

Moving to the city for university, I had much more contact with my older brothers (fellow Melburnians), who gave me old copies of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Douglas Adams. I also undertook first year English in my second year (as a cake-walk class), and was forced to read classics for the first time. I can't say I enjoyed any (Jane Eyre was the only one I managed to finish), and have not yet read a complete classic that I can remember right now (there may be posts elsewhere that indicate otherwise, damn this shoddy memory of mine). I also joined TBF for the first time in my second year (I now go under a different username), and sampled some of the authors I ran across.

I'm very sad to say that, four years into my tertiary education, I have reached a stalemate in my reading. It may be the copious amounts of text reading I am forced to do for my studies, but the last thing I think to do now is pick up a book. I am trying to rectify this (having twelve books on the go at once may not be a good start), and just tonight have finished my first non-reread in months (hooray!) Hopefully I will manage a few good reads this year, but my studyload has tripled in size this year.

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