The Influence of Reading

Mar 15, 2010

I’ve loved books since approximately birth. My first favorite was Dr. Suess’s amazing There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. I loved it so much, I carted it into the bathtub one day. Not too smart, but hey, I was 2. It’s still my favorite children’s book, and was the first one I added to my collection for my son.

When I entered the glories of elementary school, I was dead-set on buying a “chapter book.” My mom carted my seven-year-old self to the book store, where we both browsed for a few minutes. She came to me with a large-print, 20-words-per-page book that had three-page-long chapters. I was not impressed. When I showed her my pick, Megan’s Ghost by Marilyn Kaye, she wasn’t too keen on it. It was a middlegrade/young adult novel, and she was sure I wouldn’t be able to read it. I was insistent, however, so we bought both. I disdainfully tossed the “baby” book aside and read Megan’s Ghost inside a week. I thought it was the pinnacle of literary achievement. In fact, I still fondly remember the plot to this day.

We even have a home video of me, age 10, rollerblading down the street with a book in front of my nose. Because, of course, books are better enjoyed outside.

This is proof that reading does not necessarily make you smart.

There are other books that I specifically remember through the years that have helped shape me as a writer. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was the first science fiction book I ever read, and it’s the one that opened me up to the genre. The Masked Rider by Neil Peart was a wonderful memoir that I not only enjoyed, but opened me up to the idea of writing memoir. These books have helped me remember why I’m writing– because I want to give other people that same sense of enjoyment when they read my books.

What about you? What books helped you get excited about reading? Which ones inspired you to write?


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