My mother told me once that I didn’t like to read as a child. That may well have been her impression at the time, but that doesn’t match well with my memories.
I remember that first moment in kindergarten, with the good old-fashioned Dick and Jane reader, when the written word clicked for me. It was a story of Dick and Jane going off on a walk (they were always going off somewhere….didn’t their parents keep track of them at all - ever?) and finding a baby rabbit.
It all came together for me over that picture of a small, brown, twitchy-nosed bunny.
Growing up, there were always plenty of books in the house. My personal favorites were the full set of World Book of Knowledge encyclopedias. In the days before we could surf the Internet….I’d sail through these white leather tomes reading about everything from antibodies to zeusaphones.
More then once I got in trouble when my parents went to consult the shelf and ‘P’, ‘W’, ‘R’ and ‘S’ were no where to be found. (They could easily have been located if they had just looked…they were under my bed.)
Later in Junior High (not yet known as Middle School), I fell in love with Science Fiction. I devoured the early Heinlein juvenile stories, all of Asimov, Bradley, moved on the much more adult Heinlein’s and Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat storyline.
That led to branching out into the fantasy genre - Aspirin’s Myth Series, Pratcherrt’s Diskworld, Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide, Spider Robinson’s Callahan books (I’ve never been able to figure out if they should be considered science fiction or fantasy) and again, countless other books….some very well written and some so hacked it makes you wonder how they got published in the first place.
I even spent quite a bit of time with the ‘historical fiction romances’ of Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy and others. That was probably the last time I willingly read anything close to what is commonly considered ‘chick lit’. (Sorry, Picoult fans!)
In all that early reading, I soon learned what I liked in a book. I like a writer that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
I want a sly humor to run through the storyline. Especially for recurring characters.
I want larger then life. The quiet lives of small people are something I can see every day in others and myself. I don’t want to read about it as well. I want characters that are willing to sucker punch someone when put into a corner…not whimper that life is unfair.
If you add in a good murder (or three), interesting thievery, maybe a high tech gadget or two and a little ‘us against the world’ kick ass attitude and I can sit back with good beverage and follow where that rabbit started leading me all those years ago.
This is a record of that continuing journey.