Thanks to the gals of The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this meme every week!
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been surrounded by books and two parents who love to read. I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t consider myself a reader, though my reading has definitely waxed and waned over the years. There are a few books that really stick out as books that started a reading obsession at various points in my “pre-blogging” life, and then there are a bunch that I discovered through blogging that encouraged me in new directions!
I’ll be talking more about my introduction to The Dragonriders of Pern in a post in April, but suffice to say that this is where my love of dragons started ;-). I read all the Pern books and a lot of McCaffrey’s other series in a big ol’ reading phase in my pre-teen years. I think that was around the same time that I was given Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for a birthday and started reading it in secret (because it’s fun to pretend your parents wouldn’t approve I guess?). Between these two worlds, I was thoroughly hooked on fantasy for all of my teenage existence, haha.
In high school I discovered Heinlein through a random copy of Stranger in a Strange Land on my English teacher’s shelf. I will be the first to admit that Heinlein’s books have some problems, but I read To Sail Beyond the Sunset at just the right point in my teen years to really connect to Maureen. I opened up this book in the middle after a hard breakup because I knew that Maureen would make me feel better about relationships ending. I also realized that sci-fi could be a tool to pose philosophical arguments about our own society and alternatives to our society. This has remained an important aspect of sci-fi to me ;-).
At some point in high school my parents and I started reading Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson and we’ve obviously never looked back ;-). I didn’t really know what urban fantasy was as a genre until reading these two series and this was way before I knew what Twilight was obviously, so the idea of werewolves and vampires in modern day seemed really unique. I’ve read a number of other UF series, but I think these two still hold my top favorites spot, hehe.
When I was a junior in college a friend at the time handed me a copy of Mistborn after I mentioned that I liked fantasy. I actually didn’t get into it when I first started reading it because of all the politics, but I was won over eventually ;-). I was horrified after devouring this series to realize that Brandon Sanderson had been at a con in Minneapolis the year before that I had missed! Mistborn was obviously the gateway book to my Brandon Sanderson obsession though, haha.
Under the Never Sky was my first foray into books actually labeled Young Adult. I’m sure that older books I had read kind of count as YA since they have teenage characters, but it wasn’t a “thing” at the time ya know? In any case, I actually didn’t think YA was for me after Under the Never Sky since I liked the plot and world, but thought it was too mushy. Tastes change huh? ;-)
While Daughter of Smoke and Bone was certainly not my first audiobook, I think it was the first one that really really sold me on audiobooks. Previously I had considered them convenient ways to fit in extra books, but Daughter of Smoke and Bone showed me just how much an amazing narrator can improve a book experience. I’ve listened to both of these on audio and have decided to do the same with book three even though it’ll then take me longer. I also hope that an audiobook will be as amazing as these when I go searching on Audible!
Yes, I completely missed The Enchanted Forest Chronicles when they were age appropriate, but I discovered them recently! I don’t think I had thought a lot about reading juvenile/Middle-Grade fiction before picking up these books, but they completely sold me on how much fun MG can be. I now eagerly seek out MG fantasy especially because it can be just the right light-hearted read between all those dystopias ;-).
Tammy Blackwell handed me a copy of Destiny Binds when I was at a con and mentioned that I was a book blogger. I didn’t even really know what indie publishing was at the time, but that one interaction has kept me hopeful about all indie books that I’ve encountered since. I love all of Tammy’s writing and think she definitely convinced me that indie books can be just as high quality as traditionally-published books!
What books were gateways for you? Did you purposefully try out that genre or just stumble upon it?
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