I’m half-way done with The Last Guardian, the finale of Artemis Fowl, and I’ve been reflecting on my experience with the series as a whole. I started reading Eoin Colfer’s best-selling saga since the first novel was published in 2001. I was about 12-years-old at the time, so eight books later, the Artemis Fowl series has spanned half my life.
Thus, Artemis Fowl has meant almost as much to me as Harry Potter, in terms of how many years I’ve spent reading the books. And what’s funny to me, is that young-adult fantasy has not always been a favorite genre of mine. In fact, I find it interesting to see how my reading habits have evolved over time, so I thought that I would share them in a quasi-timeline, if you will…
Early Childhood (ages 5-8)
When I was a kid, I loved educational stories. I remember two of my favorites were The Magic School Bus and Kratt’s Creatures. Many of my classmates attributed my love for learning to my mother, who’s a 3rd-grade teacher, and although she contributed so much to my intellectual development, I was also very self-motivated. To this day, much of what I can recall about the human body or the ocean, I learned from Mrs. Frizzle. And that’s not a bad thing at all!
Middle Childhood (ages 9-11)
During this time, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. I’m a huge animal lover, so I gravitated toward stories about them. I enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Because of Winn-Dixie. Toward middle school, I had an obsession with wolves, and Jack London became one of my favorite authors after I read The Call of the Wild and White Fang. I no longer want to be a vet, since I’d rather play with pets than treat their ailments; it’s similar to how I now avoid reading sob-fests like Marley and Me–why is it that I’ll mourn a human character’s death for a day, but when the dog goes, it’s a full-blown depression?
Young Adult (ages 12-17)
Originally, I scoffed at the idea of reading Harry Potter. A book about a school for wizards? Balderdash! I was knee-deep in tales about Alaskan sled-dogs. But after the persistent nagging of a good friend, I became just as hooked as everybody else. It was one of those, “Where have you been all my life?!” moments, and it unlocked the gate to some great literature. I fell in love with His Dark Materials, The Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Lost Years of Merlin, the Bartimaeus trilogy, The Young Wizards series, and–of course, Artemis Fowl. After experiencing fantasy like that, the real world never looked the same again.
The College Years (ages 18-22)
I know that I haven’t addressed required reading for the very fact that it was required. Every high school student was forced to read A Tale of Two Cities, so even though I loved it, the chances of me picking it up myself were slim. However, my tastes matured in college, and I sought out classics because I wanted to. Wuthering Heights, The Age of Innocence, and 1984 were all examples of me reading for reading’s sake. It’s no wonder that some of my favorite novels ever were read during a time when I could truly appreciate them.
That’s not to say all my reading was sophisticated. I had always passed by the romance section in the bookstore, but it wasn’t until a good friend of mine from UC Santa Cruz recommended some, that I actually got the guts to dive in. Because of my friend, I became a big fan of Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Nerd series. Now I balance out the literary with the lusty by swapping between classics and romances. I like switching it up!
Now I’d say that my reading comfort zone consists of classics, fantasy, sci-fi, chick-lit, romance, historical fiction, and memoir. There’s some genres I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, such as horror or spiritual, but my blog has made me more open to recommendations. I’ve realized how much fun audio-books can be, and once I can no longer fit anything on my bookshelves, I’ll have to invest in a tablet. I like jumping on bandwagons, as well as discovering hidden gems. Many book blogs have a niche, but I’m not the type to limit what I read. Life’s too short! Who knows what books we’ll obsess over and where our reading will take us!