I love to read. I always have, ever since I figured out how this weird wonder of reading worked. I was slow at first back in school, but as soon as I got the hang of it, I became a bit of a book worm.
When I was 11-12 years old, my best friend and I had to get permission from our parents to borrow and read the ‘adult books’ in the local library a school year before we actually were allowed to read them (the local library functioned both as the school library and the public library in the village we lived in), because the library had run out of interesting titles for us to read when it came to books for juveniles. That was how much we loved to read. Mind you, this was in the beginning of 80’s, long before Harry Potter and other books for pre-teens, teens and young adults, so the selection wasn’t that big and massive as it is today
I can’t remember exactly if my first real ‘adult book’ read was ‘Sparkling Cyanide’ by Agatha Christie or if it was ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Arthur Conan Doyle, but one of them was the first, the other the second one I read. I had already read the juvenile books series ‘Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators’ (does anyone remember these books?) and other books with suspence, detectives etc. like e.g. ‘The Famous Five’ by Enid Blyton, so it was natural for me to sink my teeth into the masters from the beginning. I’ve especially been a massive Conan Doyle fan since.
Later, in my late teens and early twenties I had a period where I read a lot of romance novels, not something I’m particularly proud of, but I think it’s a phase we girls go through at some point in our life.
I did later – in my early/mid thirties – read a lot of books that was known as Chick-lit and better quality than the ‘old fashioned’ romance novels, so yeah… I’ve been there with Bridget Jones, Shopaholic (only read the first book, that character did annoy me too much), books by Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella, Faith Bleasdale, Dorothy Koomson, Marian Keys etc etc. Most of them I read in English – that’s actually how I got into reading in English for real – because many of them weren’t translated into Danish at that point (Bridget was though) and many of them never got translated. They were my escape when I had a major breakdown and a major depression, but after a few years of consuming a lot of books, I became tired of that genre.
I think I’ve been through almost all the genres i my time, the classic books – The Jungle book, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island etc etc – romance novels, crime, suspence, drama, sci-fi, funny books, biographies. A quick look at my book collection will reveal a very varied taste, though some of the genres I haven’t read in years. It reminds me, I should perhaps give away some of the books I know I’ll never get around to read, then I have an excuse to buy new books… Not that I need an excuse, that is.
I still see myself as book worm – even if it’s a much slower one – but there have been long periods in my life where I haven’t read much. Especially since my early thirties there have been very very long periods where I haven’t touched a book. Even though I began reading in (UK) English at that point in my life, I also began suffering from serious concentration problems. First because of mental health problems (stress, anxiety and depression), later because of my chronic illness that causes periods with massive brain fog and concentration problems. I’ve always been a big reader, but a slow one and now that really began to cause me problems because of lack of concentration.
Today in my mid-forties, I don’t read as much as I want to, simply because of my massive concentration problems. There are books I have to give up on, because they are too ‘difficult’ to read with my stupid head. Some I’ve never got around to read, others I have picked up again and read at a better time in my life. OK, there are also books I’ve given up on because I found them boring; ‘The Da Vinci Code’ I gave up on after 50 pages and ‘The 50 Shades of Grey’ trilogy I gave up on after the first book, I absolutely hated it. I still read in English (UK English) and prefer that, but I also read in Danish occasionally, the Danish translation. I’ve also read a few books in Swedish and German, but I have to practise if I’m ever going to read in those languages again.
There are genres I don’t read anymore at all, e.g. ‘Scandi-crime’ as we call it in Scandinavia. Crime books by Scandinavian authors. The genre is HUGELY popular even after 15-17 years. I rarely read Danish authors anyway, I can’t quite explain why I have a problem with them. Romance novels I rarely read, they have to be of good quality to get me interested. Non-fiction and autobiographies I’ve become quite fond of the last couple of years, especially those kinds that are about mental health, people’s personal struggle and fights. I will later post reviews of the books – not just of the autobiographies – I’ve read the last 2-3-4 years.
Till then, here’s a list of some of the books I’ve read that have changed my life since my adventure with books and reading began all those year ago
Children, young adult
‘The Never Ending Story’ by Michael Ende
‘The Brothers Lionheart’ by Astrid Lindgren
‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Arthur Conan Doyle
‘Like Water for Chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel
‘The Dice Man’ by Luke Rheinhart
‘1984’ by George Orwell
‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig (review coming later)
‘Instrumental’ by James Rhodes
‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig
Yes, it’s a very mixed lot. But that just goes to show I have a broad taste in books, doesn’t it?
I’m sadly struggling with reading at the moment, currently I have two books (well, three actually, but the third one I’ve ‘parked’ for now) I’m trying to read; Matt Haig’s ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ and Eddie Izzard’s ‘Believe Me’. Hopefully I can get back into reading soon and challenge my brain fog and concentration problems. I miss reading. For me reading is just as important as food, and people who know me, know how important food is to me… And trust me, if you hang around long enough, you’ll know it too.