When I was younger, I used to look upon novels as my best friends – my portals to different worlds. I didn’t like the world I saw around me. The books offered me an escape. A different reality. In books, I could reinvent myself – become a character of some sketched out fantasy, some adventurer of a distant land. I could slay dragons, chant spells, or simply enjoy a walk along the river alongside a lovable companion of some nature.
I ravaged my elementary school library. Literally. I read anything. If it had words in it, it was mine to read.
I was a lover of the I Spy series, I liked to spend my lunchtimes in the library just looking for objects among the pictures. A friend of mine would always accompany me. I miss her. We don’t talk much anymore. I flinch a little when I see her running by in the high school hallways. We used to be so close.
I read the typical elementary level series such as the Magic Tree House, The Series of Unfortunate Events, How to Train Your Dragon, Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, et cetera, et cetera. I enjoyed them and they kept me company through summers of idleness – summers when I didn’t do much but sit around at home. I was never really active with my friends.
There was this one phase in grade five, I believe, when I became completely obsessed with animals and nonfiction. That year, I indulged myself in biology – picking up facts about animals from a couple dozen of nonfiction books. I squealed on and on about Emperor Penguins. And when we were forced to watch March of the Penguins, I was one of the few who was genuinely engulfed in the film. A good documentary, it is. Completely captivating.
I bought myself a little encloypedia of animals around the world. I still reference it to date. I adored dolphins – knew every single thing there was to know about them. Not that I remember much now. I always liked how Killer Whales weren’t really whales but actually dolphins called Orcas. Everyone else called them whales – I knew in my heart they were dolphins. Not that they’re not from the same family anyhow. I remember reading a couple of books on amphibians and reptiles – learned a little, recited a lot, and forgot it all now. I was also particularly fond of horses and bunnies. I liked to draw them in my free time. I can still pull off a pretty good sketch of either now.
In grade 6, I discovered the author love of my life: Shannon Hale. When I first picked up The Goose Girl, I figured it’d be like any other book I’ve ever read. I was, of course, severely wrong. The book captivated me – the female protagonist posessed so many characteristics I could relate to, so many situations I could really feel the emotions to. I fell in love with the book, recommending it blindly to anyone. Not that anyone else really got the same experience. I idolize her. She became the inspiration that propelled me to write fiction, to indulge in fantasy. And so I did. In the same year, I discovered Stravaganza – another series that blew me away. I fell in love with the genre of fantasy. Of alternate worlds.
Finally in grade 7, I floated back down to Earth. I normalized myself. Stopped reading as much and worked harder to fit in. I kind of regret doing that now because slowly it caused my tendency to read to just drift away. In grade 8, I discovered manga. Graphic novels. V for Vendetta awoke a love of comics for me. Manga like Fruits Basket enticed me. I left the world of the written word for the word of graphics. I’ve never really gotten myself back into a state of adoration for reading. I’ll try again this summer. See what happens.
At the moment, I am very much infatuated with Margaret Atwood after enjoying The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake – two lovely books that brought out my love for dystopia. I now focus a lot of my writing and thoughts into that genre though I’m not sure if this is for the better or for the worse. I am also very much in admiration for Ellen Hopkins and her poetic style of novelling. Crank brought in a whole new world for me. Identical being my favourite. I still read a lot of manga, being a total introverted otaku at times seems to suit my soul. I’ve read over a thousand manga in the past four years.
People change. And nothing, nothing can change that fact. I’ve happened to change a lot over the years and reflecting on the past like I have in this entry helps me remember and rediscover myself. I love nostalgia. In fact, I’m addicted to the sensation. Memories…are more than just memories to me.
So kind adventurer who dared to read till the end of this post, do share with me your own story. Flood me with nostalgia – tell me about your own struggles with the written word or the graphic world or any another world you wish to discuss. I’m listening.
—tumblr: books, books, and more books.