So, what makes one love reading? What makes one love it so much that they want to write?
If only the answers, to one or both questions, were easy. The reasons for wanting to read are as varied as the readers out there, ranging from a thirst for knowledge, to a desire to better oneself, to simple escapism.
As for me, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and I used to act out my favorite scenes in the backyard, much to my grandmother’s chagrin. Eventually, I started inventing my own scenes, but I didn’t write any of them down until after I’d read a few books that really sunk their claws into me.
Early favorites of mine include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Three Musketeers, The Once and Future King, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. See a trend there? Action, adventure, swords, and maybe a few dragons were involved.
When I was in the fourth or fifth grade, I read The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley; to this day, it remains my favorite book. The heroine wasn’t perfect – she was kind of goofy, with red hair that was a legacy of her mother, who was supposedly a witch, and she just couldn’t seem to measure up to the rest of the royal family. *spoiler alert* Still, she managed to slay the dragon, kill the bad guy, and live happily ever after. Suddenly, the scenes I acted out featured red-haired princesses slaying dragons.
Then, something happened, an event so drastic that there was no coming back – I discovered comic books.
The stories! The art! I loved the varied characters, the amazing adventures, the impossibly cool abilities of the impossibly cool characters. I’d always been artistic, but now I was drawing in earnest, imitating artists like John Byrne and Barry Windsor Smith. And, my favorite artist, Wendy Pini. In time, I moved on from drawing established characters to creating my own.
So, what creates literary love? I suspect it’s really just a careful blend of good, timeless stories; exposure to other, varied forms of art; and a few patient librarians. Or, maybe some of us are just born that way. Personally, I’d take a book over a silver spoon any day.