I have always been a reader. Even before I was able to form the words on the page myself, I loved to read. Recently, my mum confirmed for me that my first ever book was a bath-time book. One that was made out of plastic and therefore unlikely to flinch at the thought of being drowned by a toddler. Ironic, considering now I wouldn’t dare take a book near a vat of water for fear of dropping it!
As a child my love was unwavering. I owe a lot, if not all, of my love of books to my parents. They sat patiently as I demanded for the same book to be read to me for the 10th night in a row, sometimes multiple times before bedtime. They would stay late after school on nights when the hall was turned into a mobile bookshop, of which I never left empty handed. They bought me the first three Harry Potter novels one Christmas and started my Potterhead obsession. Even to this day, though they complain that my books take up far too much space, they never hesitate to drive them to whichever place I happen to be living in next. Despite all this I’m pretty sure my mum wishes I’d taken to the kindle like she did. My bookshelves would be way emptier if I had!
My own personal reading journey followed a pretty steady bookworm lifestyle, until I hit my college years (16-18 education in UK). Over the next 6 years during college and university my reading would hit troughs and peaks, I would discover all the dark corners of trash fiction and mash them with the eloquently high brow affair that is the university reading list. I studied English Literature and Language at undergraduate level and, though most of the time I spent my evenings knee deep in confusion at just exactly what Henry James was trying to get at in The Turn of the Screw (spoiler: I never did find out), there were moments of true appreciation. My degree allowed me to explore a vast landscape of literature from books by Austen and Joyce, to Girl, Interrupted and Eirik the Red and other Icelandic Tales. I discovered that my reading habits could adapt to the variety that I was reading. However, I equally didn’t explore any further than the required lists because the constant analysis of literature was exhausting. Literary critique and reviewing are very different, in my opinion (perhaps that is a whole other discussion in itself).
At the beginning of my degree, I also started my YouTube channel and blog. This gave a whole new level to reading – community. I never had a lot of people to discuss books with before because most of my friends, apart from the odd novel or series, weren’t as into reading as I was. I say most because sometimes I had the best geek outs over the latest Harry Potter or Skullduggery Pleasant books! For the most part though, my excitement was internal. It wasn’t until I discovered the online communities of readers that the world had to offer that my reading really blossomed. It was a coming of age like no other.
Since then I have not really looked back. On graduating, I discovered that my enjoyment of reading widely was not subsided by the sweet freedom from education. I found instead that my intrigue for contemporary, non-fiction and adult genres only grew. I still love YA and New Adult and will continue to read them with fervour, but it is interesting to reflect on the change in my spectrum of reading since last summer.
How have your reading habits evolved over the years? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @HowlingReviews!
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Image sourced via Pinterest. Credit: Khadeejah Raja