The joys of reading

I grew up in a small country town and we didn’t have a lot of money, so I used to borrow books from our very tiny public library. I started my reading journey with Enid Blyton books, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, then I moved onto Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Rather predictable for a kid who enjoyed reading mysteries and used to think I could solve crimes too. Then I was given for a birthday the first book in the Trixie Belden series, again a teen sleuth who couldn’t keep out of trouble or sticking her nose in events that had nothing to do with her. I had fun reading them. Bought the next in the series when I had the money or given as a Christmas gift.

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I had the most astonishing discussion (hilarious when I think about it) with a student at the current school I teach, and she is fan of Trixie Belden. Who would have thought? And was buying copies from second-hand stores. If only I knew, I could have sold her my collection, though I can’t think whatever became of the books.

I still love receiving books as gifts and when my family or friends ask what I’d like, I say books. Of course, my taste has changed significantly since my childhood days. I am embarrassed to say when I hit my teens, I did try romance books, a bit of Danielle Steele (don’t hold that against me) and Jackie Collins. I also read a little by Harold Robbins, boy was that an education for a 15-year-old. I hid the books from my parents 😉 and after reading Robbins, I have no desire (pun intended) to read the erotic genre.

After that short diversion, I delved into horror books, Stephen King and Dean Koontz were my favourites. I read Salem’s Lot at 15 and still have memories of something scratching at my window at 2 in morning and hiding under the blankets thinking vampires were trying to break in. Yes, illogical I know, but my imagination ran riot and the lesson here is not to read scary books into the wee hours of the night. From there on I was reading a smorgasbord of books, trying to gauge what I liked most, when I discovered a book about the myth of Atlantis and started to read Greek mythology. Not as much as I do now, but it did whet my appetite and led me to expand my library as I matured.

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From the Horror genre, I moved into Fantasy and Sci Fi, read those into my university years and then extend my reading into crime, conspiracy stories, psychological thrillers, all of which I still read, and into historical novels. Selected of course, nothing after the fall of the Roman Empire, unless it’s about the Knights Templar.

I am sure that I have missed a few genres that I read, light fluff that doesn’t require a lot of brain power, which nowadays is all I am able to read. I have a stack of books to read that are currently in storage and heaps more on my Kindle. I would love to sit for a week straight and just read with no interruptions and nothing else to do.

If you could, would you like to spend a week reading? What was your favourite book or series you read as a child, and what do you read now? How much has it change or not?

Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.

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12 thoughts on “The joys of reading

  1. Enjoyable narrative, Luc, on your evolution as a reader. The Enid Blyton beginning may see parallels with many initiations into reading. I have read a few of those. But soon migrated to Sherlock Holmes, Perry Mason (Erle Stanley Gardner), Agatha Christie and James Hadley Chase. Harold Robins and Leon Uris squeezed into the scene during my undergraduate years in college. Among the classics, I have read a few of Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky and many of Charles Dickens, my favourite author. His Pickwick Papers may well be one of the most humorous novels in literature alongside Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat all of whom later influencing another iconic genius called PG Wodehouse to whom I turn to for a quick relief from the everyday humdrum. Best wishes…

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    • Thank you, Raj 😀
      I love your reading journey, I’ve read many Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie books. Tried Leon Uris, but couldn’t get into his works. I’ve read all but one of the classic authors you’ve mentioned: Maxim Gorky, who I will go and search now.
      Thank you for sharing the books and authors you have read, Raj. I now have more to add to my list 😀

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  2. Fabulous post! Your reading journey sounds almost exactly like mine (including hiding the Harold Robbins from the parents!). I’ve always been a mystery fan…any sub-genre except “psychological thriller”. If I had a week to sit and read…as many of the British Library Crime Classics that I could fit in. And my favorite book is, was, and always will be The Witch of Blackbird Pond (a little history, little mystery, a little romance).

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    • Thank you, Laurie 😀 I am glad I wasn’t the only one the guilty read of Harold Robbins. It still makes me laugh. I do enjoy a good psychological thriller, and have read a few, though I can’t think of any at the moment! Sorry. I must check out The Witch of Blackbird Pond, I hadn’t come across the novel.
      Thank you so much for sharing your reading journey with me, Laurie 😀

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  3. I’m impressed you worked through so many different genres. I didn’t even think that way when I was young, just read whatever book sounded good. And yes–Nancy Drew was there as well as the Boxcar Children.

    I don’t think I could read for a week. I have had times where I could read for days and got tired of it. Maybe in spurts!

    Enjoyable post, Luciana.

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    • I got bored of reading the same genres, hence the Heinz variety ;D I still do that now, may read a few historical fiction novels and then will read something very different to change it up. If I really want give my brain a rest, I read Janet Evanovich’s books. Don’t need to exert any thinking while reading her stories, light and fun.
      Thank you, Jacqui for sharing what you’ve read 😀

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  4. Thinking about it, I seemed to always gravitate to drama, mystery, and later on, thrillers. My favorite book as a child was The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aikens. As a young adult, I like Andrew Greeley’s Father Blackie’s mystery series. They were more of the cozy mystery type. Since then, I usually go for the thrillers, although I do like switching to historical fiction for variety.

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    • I hadn’t read that novel by Joan Aitken, read a number of her books and have promoted her books to students. I must check out Andrew Greeley, I haven’t heard of his works, and I do enjoy mysteries.
      Thanks for sharing your reading tastes, Glynis. Now I have a few more to add to my TBR list!!

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  5. Thank you, Luciana, for sharing your memories on reading. I was also an avid read in school and gravitated toward historical fiction early on based on movies I saw, including the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Egyptian. Although I still like to read historical fiction and fantasy, I sometimes pick up a book in another genre that I love. Hope everything is going well for you.

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    • Hi Linnea,
      I wish I had more time to read, and I am to add it to my R & R phase once life at home settles down.
      I’ve read many classics, my favourites are Dracula and Frankenstein. My penchant for horror still continues 😀 I do love to read historical fiction, anything that predates 500CE that is.
      Thank you so much for sharing your reading profile with me, Linnea.

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  6. Oh gosh, I’ll try to keep this response short. My reading started in German, with Fairy Tales, Grimm, Anderson … comics like Wilhelm Busch, Micky Maus …
    Quite early I met Winnie the Pooh, and the Moomins … and I loved Alice in Wonderland.
    My hunger for adventure included Enid Blyton’s Famous Five – in German during the 50s. Neighbour kids, boys, lent me the series. Karl May’s books became an obsession … but I basically swallowed everything that entered my mind-horizon.,
    Among international classics, many German writers inspired, like Goethe, Rilke, Hermann Hesse .. though I missed out on a proper study of Shakespeare.
    Like you, I read romance only a short while – the Georgette Heyer kind. A past teen thing 🙂
    Continuing my studies in London, I turned towards English classics and contemporary novels. I’ve a shelf with Doris Lessing’s work. Altogether I read heaps on myth, mysticism, poetry, philosophy, history, religion, science and SF – Jack Vance, among the latter, with his skill to evoke an entire alien culture within a short paragraph..
    For decades I was steeped in work related material, spanning all major psychologies and psycho therapeutic approaches,. A late Film degree made me catch up with modern cultural studies, and the fascinating developments of AI .
    Time has now allows me to embrace novels again. I often ignore best-sellers and instead follow chance recommendations for German and English writers. Kent Haruf was a revelation these last years, with his Plainsong, Eventide and Benediction.
    I’ve become a slow reader, giving more attention to styles that evokes feelings.. And apart from composing poems and Haiku, I’ve also come to write novels myself – such joy.
    I can’t imagine a life without books and writing. Thanks for sparking these reminiscences.

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    • Wow, Ashen, you have an extensive reading profile 😀 The closest I got to reading philosophy was by Plato, Socrates and Aristotle… not surprising really. I must add Kent Haruf to my list. I’ve read a little of Goethe and Hermann Hesse, and must try them again.
      I can appreciate the necessity to read work related information, I do the same for education.
      Like you, I can’t imagine not reading, having a library collection or writing, though I haven’t done much of the latter.
      Thank you so much for sharing your reading biography! It is extraordinary 😀

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