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Your Reading History

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Your Reading History

Post by rebecca » Mon March 19th, 2012, 1:24 am

A while ago we were discussing what books we were all forced to read in school and it got me thinking of my own reading history. I would love to know the reading history of my fellow book worms. So I will start first.

1) What Katie Did-and the follow ups.(age 10 & up)

2) To Kill a Mockingbird(age 12)

3)Gone with the Wind(age 13)

4) Victoria Holt books(14 & up)

5) Careful He Might Hear You(15)

6) The Thorn Birds(15 approx)

7) Catherine Cookson books(ALL of them)

Then at about age 17 I gravitated towards biographies and that list is way too big to include. It is only the past few years that I have begun to read H/F and I love most of them.

So what is your reading history?

Bec :) PS: I forgot to mention 2 books I was forced to read in high school and they were 'Great Expectations' I HATED it and 'War and Peace' I hated it, so much so that I refused to read the mammoth book and chose to flunk instead.

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Post by Misfit » Mon March 19th, 2012, 1:55 am

7) Catherine Cookson books(ALL of them)
Ye Gods! That is a whooooooooooole lot of books :eek:

I don't recall too many specific books in my teens, there are many I know I read like Jane Eyre, but not many stuck. I know I read a lot, but what I read I haven't the faintest. For a long time I was really glued to true crime, but then I started an effort to read through a pile of books gathering dust (a motly assortment of MMPBs and genres) until I came across Born of the Sun by Joan Wolf. Read it twice and never looked back. HF addict was born.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon March 19th, 2012, 3:45 am

My parents were book lovers and refused to let us have a TV. But they did buy sets of books, which we all read cover to cover. These included a set of 9 history books edited by Olive B. Miller called 'A Picturesque Tale of Progress which had illustrations of artifacts on every single page, and arranged the stories of the different nations in a readable way. My Mom read them aloud to us, and by the fourth grade I had gone from Egypt through the age of discovery twice on my own.
We had another set from the same people, 'my book house' which started with nursery rhymes and ended with boiled-down classics.
We read entirely through the set called 'Book of Knowledge' which had clips of great lives, scientific inventions, and history as well a poetry and literature. there were about 20 books in that set, and they were current up to 1950.
I started reading with animal stories, and went through everything Jim Kjelgaard wrote. He was prolific and accurate. No Narnia critters for me -- I liked mine straight up, and still do.
I had a librarian aunt who gave us books every Christmas. I still have her picks, which started me on the years reading kick.
Age 9 -- King of the Wind (after which I read every Marguerite Henry book I could get my hands on, as well as the Black Stallion books, and longed to own a horse.)
Age 10-- The Door in the Wall. Got me started on a medieval kick, though there wasn't much in my age range.
Age 11-- the Children of Odin
Age 12 -- Bulfinch's mythology
Age 13-- Great operas (boiled down into readable plots) and the same for Shakespeare's plays.
somewhere between 7th grade (age 12) and on, I went at the high school library and found fantasy. The Lord of the Rings, the Last Unicorn, the King of Elfland's Daughter, a belated nod to George MacDonald's younger age books, and several more forgettable ones. And there was Gone with the Wind, Katherine, The Queen's Grace, everything Shellabarger wrote, everything Costain wrote, and quite a bit of Waltari and Taylor Caldwell.

I spent five years or so going through Sci-Fi---my parents were getting a messy divorce and I wanted off the planet. Asimov, Clarke, Sturgeon, Heinlein, Herbert (the original Dune was the only one worth reading) Simak, Zelazny, etc.

Once I got through that phase, I found I didn't like the feel of SF. Reminded me too much of the circumstances.

So I returned to my first love, History. I read it, I write it, I re-enact it, and there is always more to discover!

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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
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Post by Vanessa » Mon March 19th, 2012, 10:07 am

I read a lot of Enid Blyton books when I was a child - Secret Seven, Famous Five, What Katy Did etc, The Faraway Tree (loved those!), Secret of Moon Castle. I also read The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnettt. Quite a few books by Edith Nesbitt - Five Children and It and The Treasure Seekers are ones I particularly remember.

Then I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith. I actually can't remember too much what I read when I was about 12 - maybe be some of the above. When I reached 14 I started to read Victoria Holt and Catherine Cookson. I also read Katherine by Anya Seton which got me started on my love for historical fiction!

At school I can remember we read Great Expectations and Jane Eyre. I actually enjoyed them and went on to read them for myself later.

I read Gone with the Wind and The Thorn Birds in my late teens. I read Lord of the Rings in my 20s. I remember that as I used to read in on my lunch break at work - I had a little admirer who used to join me and read his copy of it! LOL. I also read Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor around this time, too.

I also remember a phase of reading Laurie McBain and Kathleen Woodiwiss.
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Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Post by EC2 » Mon March 19th, 2012, 11:09 am

Age 5 onwards - Fairy tales from around the world, beginning with stuff like Red Riding Hood and going on to learn about Baba Yagas, Bunyips and the darker side of Grimm and Hans Andersson.

Age 8-12 - Still the fairy tales plus The Silver Brumby books of Elyne Mitchell, My Friend Flicka, Worzel Gummidge, Just William books of Richmal Crompton, Green Smoke, The Oddssey, Illiad and Aenid. Some Enid Blyton, Heidi. What Katie Did, The Secret Garden

Age 12-18 Thackery's Vanity Fair, Little Women, Jane Eyre, The Hobbit, Last of the Mohicans, anything by Mary Stewart, Lawrence Schoonover, Jane Aiken Hodge, Angelique books, Margaret Campbell Barnes. Some Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton, Norah Lofts.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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Preferred HF: European and American (mostly pre-20th century)
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Post by Mythica » Mon March 19th, 2012, 11:42 am

There's no way I can remember everything, especially what ages I'm read them at. But I will give it a go:

As a young child, I loved the "Bunnicula" series. I was pretty young because I didn't read them myself, my mom read them to me. She also read "Tuck Everlasting" and "The Hatchet". And a lot of other books which obviously weren't as memorable.

I can't remember when but the last book my mom read to me was "Jacob Have I Loved". By that point, I was mostly reading on my own but my mom still read to me for bonding sake. I think she read me this one because I was always in my brother's shadow and she thought I might relate to it.

At some point, I read a few Roald Dahl books. The BFG, Matilda, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And a collection of short stories, can't remember what it was called. I think that's it. In fact, my mom may have been the one to read Matilda and The Witches to me.

At about 11, I think, I read "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret."

When I was 12, I was obsessed with Nancy McKenzie's Arthurian series, which is now complied into one book called "Queen of Camelot".

Around the same time, I read a series that I can't recall now - but it was about a squire of King Arthur. The first book may have even just been called "The Squire" or something.

Also around this time, I was learning about Greek Mythology in school and loved it. Can't remember which book we used - might have been Bulfinch's. When my mom saw me getting into fantasy/historical fiction, she gave me The Hobbit. I didn't love it, to be honest, and never read LOTR. The story is good but I'm not fond of the writing style.

Then I got into my teens and didn't really read much outside of school. In school, I read:
Romeo and Juliet
Merchant of Venice
Midsummer Night's Dream
Animal Farm
Farenheit 451
Catcher in the Rye
(hate, hate, hate)
Of Mice and Men

Probably others I'm not remembering.

Ohhhh, almost forgot that when I was about 11/12, right before I found "Queen of Camelot", I have a brief interest in some teen romance historical fiction novels. They were always set during some kind of big historical event and the main character always had to choose between two potential love interests. They had different authors by obviously from the same series and each book was named just for the main character like "Amanda" or "Elizabeth". AH HA! I found them:


LOL they were so cheesy but my mom never judged me. :D

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Post by Brenna » Mon March 19th, 2012, 12:05 pm

Growing up, my mom read me Burgess's animal books which I adored.

Then in 6th grade I discovered Lurlene McDaniel who write about teens and children facing diseases from cancer, to AIDS, to diabetes. I read every book she ever published and still have them packed in my basement to eventually hand down to someone.

By high school I had discovered Linda Lael Miller who wrote romance novels set out west-Misfit you read these? She and Nora Roberts were my absolute favorites to escape those horrid high school years.

Oh and how could I forget Kathleen Woodiwiss? I was of course named after Brenna in Flame and the Flower. Read all of her books over and over again until I broke the binding in my mom's hardcovers. She then purchases the paperbacks for me :-)

I didn't discover HF until about 4 years ago and man have my bookcases grown since then! Don't get me wrong, I'll still read Nora because well, I love the trilogies and they are a perfect one day read. I started with Philipa Gregory and I just thought she was the best. Until I read Sharon's Sunne. The world has never been the same!

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Post by fljustice » Mon March 19th, 2012, 3:13 pm

I must be getting older because I remember my earlier reading habits better than my more recent. We didn't have many books in the house, so I was a Bookmobile/library rat. As a young child I had major obsessions with horses and fairy tales. I read every Walter Farley I could get my hands on. The Bookmobile ladies and city librarians knew me and always put aside a pile of books I hadn't yet read. (Most children had a limit on how many books they could take out at a time, but they knew I was a fast reader and let me take as many as I wanted.) My mother also started acquiring a series of children's encyclopedias from the local Kroger store (buy so much in groceries and get the most recent volume for a $1.99 or some such scheme), so I got into science and history.

Moving into middle school, I discovered a book by Zane Grey in our attic. It turned out my dad was a great reader as a child, but pretty much gave it up as an adult and this was one of his books. Betty Zane was based on the author's great-great-etc. grandmother and her family in pioneer Ohio. The setting was local for me--Zane's Trace ran a couple of miles away. Loved those books and went on to read all his westerns. (Reminds me, I have Lonesome Dove on the TBR pile.) Also started to read some American "classics" but they were too advanced for me. I thought the "A" in The Scarlet Letter stood for Abigail's first name!

Like MLE I discovered SF/F in high school and read all the classic writers switching to female writers as I went to college and entered my feminist phase (which I never left!) No one in my family (or my village for that matter) had gone to college, so I had a strange idea about what I needed to read to be ready. Plowed through Dickens and Austen one summer, the Russian authors another summer, and Twain during another. I didn't read everything by every author, but covered all the best known in each category. I honestly don't know how much I got out of those books and have reread most as an adult.

College and shortly after were heavily SF/F. I just recently gave away my crumbling mass paperback copies of the Hobbit and LOTR. They cost 75 cents each! When my daughter graduated from HS we donated our collection of Star Wars books to her school library (over 120 hardbacks, mass paper, chapter books and graphic novels.) My reading habits became much more eclectic as an adult, but I always came back to history and SF/F. This is when things get hazy as I focused on my career and did a lot of business reading.

When I had my daughter, I got to revisit my favorites and read a lot of children's literature I missed growing up or was published after I grew up: Harry Potter, The Little House books, Lemony Snicket, Artemis Fowl, etc. Also research, research, research. For fun, I'm all over the map now. Looking at my reading lists from the past few years, HF is my single biggest category, but it's not a majority of my reading. The time periods range from prehistory to near history with clusters in the Roman era and Plantagenet England with no single favorite author.

Thanks for the prod to amble down memory lane, rebecca!
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon March 19th, 2012, 3:36 pm

I started with Sweet Pickles and the Berenstain Bears.

Don't remember ages but I pretty much read anything I could get my hands on.

I went through Sweet Valley books for a while. Read Romeo & Juliet when I was 10 I think. Didn't tackle Gone With the Wind til I was around 20. Got a late start with my Jane Austen too.

Most of my American and World literature was in my early teens. 14 and before. Those were two courses I didn't mind. I would happily have traded all the math in our curriculum for more lit. classes but my parents said no. So I got a large smattering of short stories, plays, poems, novels, etc., during those years. I had a list to choose from, having to complete so many on the list. I think I ended up reading more than the requirements even for an A.

I also did a lot of encyclopedia reading when I was 8-12.

Read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. General Washington's Silver. There was a book of Italian fairy tales that I loved. It was purple, with silver lettering. We got it in a box from somebody. My mom got rid of that book at some point. I've never been able to find it again.

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Post by Ludmilla » Mon March 19th, 2012, 5:07 pm

I’ve been through many phases and ups and downs in my reading. Before college I was primarily dependent on the school and public libraries for most of my reading and in the small town where I grew up access was pretty much limited to what you’d find at the library or local Wal-Mart unless you had money and I didn't come from a family with money.

I remember going through a horse phase the summer between fourth and fifth grade (books like Misty, Smokey the Cowhorse, Black Beauty, etc.). I also read a lot of mythology around this time, too.

Some favorites from fifth and sixth grade were The Little Prince, several of Scott O’Dell’s and Alexander Key’s and a few by Elizabeth George Speare. I think I read A Wrinkle in Time around this time, too.

By 7th and 8th grade, I had started using the adult section of the library and remember reading Gone with the Wind and Forever Amber. I befriended some older girls in my neighborhood and it was around this time that we started trading romance novels (many of those 70s bodice rippers).

In high school, I remember reading everything I could find for Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Susan Howatch, Phyllis Whitney and others of that ilk. I also went through an American Civil War phase one summer, reading mostly NF on the subject. I also read a lot of swashbucklers like Sabatini and a few of Shellabarger’s. I loved watching those old movies and then I’d look for the books at the library.

College was mostly assigned reading with very little reading for pleasure. I took a lot of philosophy, history and lit courses back then, so my reading was primarily in those areas. My undergrad was Classical Civilization, so I studied a lot of ancient Greece and Rome, but people today have more access and have probably read more than I’ve forgotten way back then. I didn’t keep up on the subject after I graduated and life took me in a different direction.

After college were the burnout years where I read very little for pleasure. I do remember picking up short story collections and reading them, because that's about all I had the attention span and time for. Then I went through a phase of reading almost exclusively NF for five years or so but I doubt I read more than 20 books a year during that time. It wasn’t until after I had my 2nd child that I really got back into reading a lot of fiction again. I also wasn’t much of a fantasy or SF reader until I was an adult.

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