I have always been a voracious reader. For this, I lay the blame solely on my mother. Some of my fondest memories were of my mother reading to me each night. We didn't read Goodnight Moon, oh no. We tackled books like The Jungle Book, Call of the Wild, Black Beauty, Aesop's Fables, and The Swiss Family Robinson. Hefty tomes in hard covers that weren't going to be anywhere close to completion before my six-year-old self fell asleep, night after night. My mother is no longer with me, but my love of books, and of reading, is her legacy.
Growing up, I spent many an hour in the library. Whether it was the steps of the reading well in my elementary school, or the faded linoleum of the public library, I learned to appreciate, and eventually crave, the biblichor of these places. I could spend hours in the aisles touching book after book. My parents even moved us into my great-grandparent's house, where I grew up with one of the local library branches almost literally in my back yard. At home, my bookshelf was filled to the brim. I couldn't wait for the elementary book fair to come so I could add something new to my collection. Vacations were an excuse to visit the campground store to peruse the racks and find a new treasure. When I ran out of reading material, I occasionally would sneak into my older brother's room to rifle through his pick-your-own adventure books and fantasy novels, most especially his Robert Asprin books.
In my pre-teen and teen years, my love of reading took a more macabre turn. What can I say - I grew up in the era of 80's B horror movies. I wanted that same feel in the pages I turned. I read dismal Shakespearen tragedies...for fun. R.L. Stine, Diane Hoh, and Christopher Pike started to slowly take over my bookcase, edging out the sweet pastels of my childhood. I loved these stories with their bright, garish covers and splattered blood fonts. Eventually, I graduated to the so-called masters of horror: Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz. Monsters, both classic and human, spooks and spirits; these were my companions on every rainy Sunday afternoon. While I enjoyed the jump scares of cheesy film horror, there was nothing like vividly imagining the fear inside the print of a good horror novel.
That love of chills and thrills has stayed with me to this day. However, my reading ebbs and flows through multiple genres. I'm still searching for the book that will have me afraid to turn off the lights, but I will also pick up an occasional historical romance or SFF. My heart truly lies in urban fantasy or paranormal fiction though, combining my love for things that go bump in the night with the fairy tale happy ever after...or not.