My Literature Roots

I am intoxicated by literature.

I fell into this place a long time ago.  I remember the whole phonics thing.  It was stupid to me.  Didn’t make any sense.  I learned to read by reading.  Hardy Boys was my very first big book.  I remember my first memory of checking out a book at my school’s library.  The librarian yelled at me and told me to go pick a book like the rest of the kids.  My teacher stepped in and insisted that I could check out a larger book.  It really wasn’t until I was an adult that I enjoyed picture books, and that’s partially because I went to college to become a teacher.  I had to read a ton of them!

So really, back when I was a kid, I fell in love with words through poetry and mythology.  I also fell in love with words through many books.  Nancy DrewAnne of Green GablesLittle House on the Prairie.  Anything historical fiction.  I loved people, and I loved to hear their stories.  Heidi, Little Women, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Summer of My German Soldier, My Side of the Mountain, Canyons, Number the Stars, Huckleberry Finn, A Wrinkle in Time, and Watership Down were the greats for me.  (and a lot of the other books the authors wrote)

I obviously L O V E the fantasy genre today.  But how did I go from the normal childhood books to falling for fantasy more than other genres?  I fell head over heels for fantasy.  That’s it.  It just happens.  One day you’re a little girl turning the page of your latest historical fiction book and WHAM! you get hit with the fantasy flu and you find out it never goes away.

Now, right now whenever somebody talks about fantasy literature, the Harry Potter books are always thrown out there.  But to say that those books influenced me would be like climbing up into my literature tree and snapping off a branch.  There is so much more to me.  Now, I did enjoy the books.  I was in college when I first heard of them, and lucky me there were already four out.  There is a branch in my tree for Harry, but it’s only a branch.

Let’s travel to the trunk, shall we?  Dig a little and really get some dirt under our fingernails, for there are thick, gorgeous roots holding me up.  Now let’s rewind history to back when I was a kid.

When I went to a library as a kid, I would walk slowly back and forth in front of the books.  I would pick one out, turn it over and over in my hands.  I would read a bit, and wait for that magical moment of connection.

I took stinkin’ forever to find my books, but I never stopped loving them once they were chosen.

Turns out that’s just how I function as a person.

Anyway, one day I opened up a new kind of book.  The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.  Life would never be the same for me.  I read The Blue Sword and Beauty.  Then I read Spindle’s End.  I was a goner, madly in love at this point.

It didn’t take me long to find Tamora Pierce and devour all four of the Alanna books and I didn’t stop there.  I still have one of my all time favorite couples from her books, but I’m not going to tell you that secret right now.

I devoured a lot of those two amazing women’s books.  They sparked my love of magic and inspired a love of fantasy that carries to this day.

I’ve added more fantasy writers to my collection.  Juliet Marillier is a recent favorite of mine.  I adore her books.

As far as the guys go, I did read and love C.S. Lewis as a kid, though it was as an adult that I finally read all of the Narnia books.  I thought about reading Tolkien in high school, but it was like a fad to read The Hobbit, and so I unwisely treated it like a fad and ignored it until later.  Love all of their books.

From Lewis and Tolkien I discovered E. Nesbit and T.H. White and George MacDonald.

Seriously, you could take me to a red carpet event with movie stars or singers and I’d just shrug.  But if there was a way to go to a red carpet event with authors?  I would be totally uncool.  You’d unfriend me.  Right then and there.  Well, unless you were being uncool with me, and if so, you’d be my friend forever.

So there you go.  The honest truth about my love for literature roots.  I’ll remember an author or a book I left out at about 2 a.m. tonight and feel horrid.  So, I’m sorry, book(s) and author(s) I forgot, and the more recent ones that make up the branches on my trees.  But today was more of a history lesson.

Leaves and Branches

Now, I’m off to write some more.  I’m doing storyline CPR today.  I successfully saved one chapter, but there’s another to jump on and start the serious revising work.  I wouldn’t be here today, performing surgery on my own books if it weren’t for the authors and books I listed today (and tons more than the ones I listed).  So thank you, authors from my childhood.  I will stop giggling and turning red and stumbling over my words now.  I can be a calm, collected adult.  Really.  That’s why I have a club house of my own where I pretend that I deserve to even call out your names.

You’ve gotten used to me being awkward, right?  If so, come in the clubhouse and sit with me between stacks of books.  Cookies on me.



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