Influences

bedtime-story

So many things have influenced who I am today. So many things that I’m sure I’m not aware of all of them.

My father read me fairy tales at bed time. My dad doesn’t like to read and due to certain issues in his childhood, he isn’t an especially good reader, but he read to me nonetheless, and he never complained about it.

I read everything I could. Most of it I don’t even remember. I just read to tune out the world. I went straight from one book to the next.

A few books I remember.

Reading all The Wizard of Oz books. My goal was to get all 14 books. It took a while to save the money and have the money at the same time that the book store had the one I wanted.

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My mother bought me a boxed set of the Narnia Chronicles.

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I loved them, especially The Magician Nephew for some reason. I think because I learned the origin of the lamppost.

My mom wrote me a note inside the first book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

So many books come to mind the more I think about it. How much did you read as a kid? I read in classes when I should’ve been listening to the teacher. I read while walking down school hallways. I read at the dinner table and late at night in my room and while sitting up high in the oak tree in front of our house and while eating tangerines and sitting on the dock at the lake. On Saturdays at my grandmother’s house, my mom, my grandmother, and I would sit together in the living room, each of us lost in our own books. My mom and grandmother would drink coffee and I drank a glass of milk. Grandmother would give each of us one or two fancy cookies.

But I also read Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew. In 8th grade, I tried to write a murder mystery where the murderer was the junior high algebra teacher.

The first book that I immediately read a second time was Watership Down. I was in 7th grade for that. And at 16 I read again and again two novels by Bonnie Jones Reynolds: The Truth about Unicorns and The Confetti Man.

And then a series of fantasy books by Nancy Springer. I’ve always had a weakness for fantasy. Do you have a favorite genre?

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To my mother’s almost dismay, I fell for Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and perhaps when I came up with the title for my first novel, that book was on my mind. Maybe. I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I didn’t even notice until later, which seems odd because the similarity is obvious.

What books from your youth stand out in your memory?

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