Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Blurb and a Question

First, this from a recent review of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One:

"HIRAM GRANGE & THE CHOSEN ONE moves fast, fun and furious... I couldn't put it down! And now I'll be looking for the other entries in the series. If you've always thirsted for James Bond to have a serving of Lovecraft -- you'll eat this one up."

This from Stoker Winning Author John Everson!  A good way to start the day, indeed.  Now, onto the blog.

I usually don't do the ask-a-question-on-my-blog-thing: mostly for two reasons:

1. Everyone else has already asked the same questions
2. I'm deathly afraid that no one will bother to answer

But, this blog has become more and more about me writing for internal reasons, rather than hoping for comments, so as of this morning, I've actually got a question, and I don't mind if no one answers, really, because the question itself is incidental to the rest of the blog post.

So, the question is this: If you're like me and are absolutely OBSESSED with reading and books - when did this obsession first hit?  When did it become an all-consuming NEED?

I know when I first got into the "speculative" genre - when my parents got me my first box set of Star Trek five-year mission novels.  I was hooked on strange new worlds and out of the box stories, from that point on.

But when did the reading mania begin?  I was reminded of it last night at my daughter's first open house for Kindergarten.  Book Fairs.  That's when it began.

 All through elementary school, my mom worked as a volunteer for our area's chapter of RIF (Reading is Fun/Fundamental).  So, because of this awesome hook-up, not only did I get a heads up on all the titles and got first pick, I got to go through the regular lines like all the other kids, THEN I got to glean through the leftovers at discount prices.

This may not seem like much to some of you...but it was like HEAVEN to me.

See, I was raised in a slightly different generation, by slightly old school parents, even by that generation's definitions.  They didn't indulge us much.  Don't get me wrong. We weren't deprived, and seeing as how I've taught OVER INDULGED students for the past 10 years, it was a good thing.  We learned right away that just because we wanted something, or even if Dad could afford it, didn't mean we got it.

However, one thing my parents ALWAYS indulged me with?  Books.  Reading.  That early experience in elementary school set the tone, because when the book fair rolled around....

I could have WHATEVER book I wanted.  As many as I wanted. Which, to me, meant this:

I could go to as many worlds as I wanted.  Travel to as many distant lands as I could imagine.  Experience adventures to the limit of my imaginations, and it was a thirst that suddenly became unquenchable.  

I have been blessed with people who have fed that thirst.  When I was in sixth grade, my teacher let me walk ALL THE WAY over to the high school to check out library books, because I'd already exhausted the elementary library's resources several times over.

When I was fourteen, after desperately lusting over a whole shelf full of old, hardcover 1940's detective pulp novels in my great  grandmother's  trailer, I asked if I could read one, and she started giving me one pulp novel a week, and when she passed on, she left the rest to me.  Still have all of them, to this day.  Around the same time, my parents started allowing me to use my allowance to buy comic books at the mall.

In my teens and early college years, for Christmas and birthdays, I'd make a list of books my parents could buy, and they fed my thirst again.

But it started at the those book fairs.  Choose Your Own Adventure Books.  Sports books, both fiction and non.  Books about dinosaurs and lizards and sharks and haunted houses.  Whatever I wanted when it came to books, my parents got.

And I'm passing that on to Madi.  It's really the only thing I indulge her in.  Whenever a vendor comes into the high school to sell things, I always buy her books.  Just randomly, I'll get her books off Amazon.  We can't afford to get Madi all the things her friends and even cousins get.  

But we can afford books.  And, so far: she loves them just as much as me.  That's a desire I'll indulge until my dying day.

So.  When did you first fall in love with books?