B is for Book

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.

As an author, books have always been a huge part of my life. Even as a pre-teen and teen I was an avid book reader, even though at that time in one’s life reading recreationally makes you a geeky loser. I was totally a geeky loser and I didn’t care. I wasn’t good at sports and I certainly wasn’t hanging out with the popular kids and doing whatever fun stuff popular kids do, so books it was. Paper books, of course, because e-book readers didn’t even exist then so I could at least pretend I was just playing Candy Crush on my Kindle.

Throughout my life, some books have stood out above others for the impressions they left on me. I will chronicle them here:

The First Book That Left An Impression: Hilariously and ironically, I have no idea what it was called. I can’t remember the title, the author, or even enough of the plot to track it down on Google. I just remember when I was 12-13, I must have checked this novel-length YA book out of the library at least six times and read it over and over. I remember a friend making fun of me because I was reading it yet again. I only remember there was a boy and some sort of subterranian world. I almost want to say it was called ‘Downtown,’ but I don’t know. I just remember the feeling it gave me, how fascinated and infatuated I was.

The First Book That Changed My Life: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat. I had never even heard of her or the series. I was 15-16 and I picked it up at a rummage sale for twenty-five cents because it had the word ‘vampire’ in the title and I was a morbid teenager. It literally changed my life. If you’ve read it, you know at the beginning Lestat is a trapped, restless, depressed, and isolated man who longs for adventure and to have an interesting life–exactly how I saw myself at that point in my life. I wanted to escape. I wanted life to begin. I remember crying during parts of it and reading it slowly so it wouldn’t end.

The Book(s) That Made Me Want To Be A Writer: Stephen King’s novels were the impetus for me trying my hand at writing. I was in love with horror as a teenager and wanted to write just like him. I hope to meet him someday and tell him this. My favorite Stephen King book is probably  Misery (oh to be so loved as an author!), and my favorite story is The Body (which became the movie Stand By Me).

The Book Series That Put A Crick In My Neck: The Harry Potter series. I binge-read the first four, rolling around on my bed, sitting in recliners, hanging off couches, my eyes glazing over. I did the same when each of the other three came out.

My First Urban Fantasy: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. Being largely an urban fantasy author myself, it was the first time I encountered the genre–which I think, when she first started, was not even called urban fantasy. I felt like I’d finally found exactly what I wanted to write–a sexy, dangerous premise where love and horror combined.

How about you? Are there books that were your ‘firsts’ and left an impression on you? What are your all-time favorite books?

31 comments

  1. Stephen King was the first “adult” horror I read. As a teen I read Goosebumps and Point Horror and then I remember going to buy my first Stephen King – Salem’s Lot… I was a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan at the time so it was bound to be Salem’s Lot 🙂

    And I also love the Anita Blake series 🙂

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    1. Sounds like we’re both horror fans! I would have read the Goosebumps books if they were out when I was younger, but…whoops, I’m dating myself a bit, aren’t I? 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. I could go on and on for hours about The Vampire Chronicles! I love that she was writing vampires before they were cool and she really made an impression with them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I grew up loving the Nancy Drew mysteries, The Bobsey Twins, and of course Dr. Seuss. I ran across Jane Eyre in fourth grade, and though I was too young to understand its depth, it rocked me (and still does). I read Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot when I was in college, and read several of his books for a long time after that. Love the Harry Potter books!

    BTW, my first name is Beth…after Beth in Little Women. I have a sister Amy, too. Books were an important part of our lives!

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  3. Would you believe I’ve never read the Harry Potter books? I have seen all the movies though.
    Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara trilogy. I picked up the first book when I was twelve or thirteen and devoured the other two when they were released. They inspired me to write.

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    1. I know several people who have only seen the movies. Reading the books is actually what made me want to watch the movies. The earlier books are better in my opinion, because later on she had a tendency to go on and on, perhaps to give the readers more content, and I don’t think any editor was willing to tell her to cut some of it.

      It’s always wonderful when a book inspires you to make books of your own!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I was a book nerd growing up, too. For a long time, I liked books from Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. Now I’m obsessed with mysteries.

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  5. Fun post! I was in the weekly loser group as a teenager too ~ because I was a voracious reader and into all kinds of uncool things like paleontology, science fiction, and writing. But I didn’t care that I wasn’t in The Inn Group ~ well not too much, if I’m honest. It’s hard being uncool when you’re that age. The books that changed my life were the ones my mother read to me from the time I was born. I don’t remember learning to read. I don’t remember not being able to read. The reading times with my mother fueled my curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn. I was very fond of Bambi, Heidi, and the Just So stories. My mother spending so much time reading with me and talking to me about her beloved books was one of the greatest gifts in my life! Have a good one!

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    1. That’s a wonderful story! I always read to my son when he was younger too. Like you, I can’t remember learning to read or a time when I wasn’t able to, though I must have learned at some point, right? Reading is a wonderful thing!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. I can’t remember what book of his I read first, but I remember reading (the unabridged version of!) The Stand and being blown away. He was doing dystopian before it was cool.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Cool, Stephen King has also been a big influnce for me. There had been a time when I wanted to write like him too, and to some extent something still remains in me.
    I don’t remember what was the first book that made an impression on me, but I know that Terry Brooks’s “Elf Stones of Shannara” was the book that turned me into a fantasy fan.

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  7. “Lost Moon” (the true story of the Apollo 13 crisis) and “October Sky” (the true story of a coal-mining boy who dreams of building rockets) both made an impact on me. I guess I’m a sucker for biography and space travel!

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  8. I remember reading a couple of books from my childhood and having to track down their titles again years later… my first favorite author was Bill Peet, nearly exclusively for his illustration style. The second series that took me forever to track down was the Edge Chronicles: fun fantasy plus insanely intricate drawings. I hope you can eventually track down that elusive book!

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    1. That’s wonderful you could track them down! I’ve tried every search term using every scant bit I remember about it, but so far no luck. It’s so funny that I just remember how it made me feel but I can’t remember anything ABOUT it. Maybe someday it’ll just pop up!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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