Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hello! My name is Tara and I have a reading addiction.

Being a “reader” doesn’t seem like an active choice that one makes in his or her lifetime. It’s something that most people, I suspect, become naturally and gradually. Not me. I remember the exact moment I knew I wanted to be a reader. There were actually four very important books in my life that solidified my love of books and love of getting lost in them.

The very first time was while I was reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Looking back on it, this is the first book that I remember getting the “feels” during. I was in fifth grade and we were learning about the Holocaust. To make it more relatable for our young minds our teacher had us read Number the Stars and write an essay about whether or not we would help a Jewish family during this terrifying time. This was also the first and only time I’ve ever “stolen” a book (from a school no less). I was so in love with this story that I had to have it for myself. (I was unaware of bookstores at the time and thought the library was my only option.) At the end of the year I did return the book after I got a copy for my birthday.

The next book, or series rather, was the Animorphs series. These were the books that started my love of series and of science fiction. I remember waiting anxiously for my dad to get home on the first Tuesday of every month with the newest book in his hands for me. I was amazed that a book could turn into multiple books (I think 54 was the last one I read) and that storylines and characters could develop over time, that people and plot lines could be resolved and new ones created. These were also the books that introduced me to the concept (and lie) that was “just one more chapter”.

The third book that blew my mind was The Giver by Lois Lowry. The ending of this book completely turned reading on its head for me. Because I was a reading nerd by this point I read ahead and finished the book a good week before most of my classmates. When I got to the end and the story just ended I was devastated. I thought that my copy must be missing pages. I went to my teacher and asked for a different copy so that I could find out what happened; the anticipation was killing me. When she told me that that was the ending, that there was no resolution, I was outraged. Why would she pick such a book?! What author wouldn’t tell the reader exactly what happened to the characters? There were so many questions going through my young head at this point that I spent my entire lunch period in her classroom discussing the book. At the end of our talk she told me to do something unimaginable. Write my own ending. (I did and she gave me extra credit, not that I needed it. I passed seventh grade English with a 107. Yes, I was that girl.)

I won’t go into the last book in detail because I’m sure many of you already know this story. I was in seventh grade and I met a boy. His name was Harry Potter.

So why am I boring you all with this? (I hope I’m not boring you! This is only my first post!) To demonstrate my love, addiction, and obsession with books and reading. Having succumbed to this addiction at a youngish age I was able to cultivate and nurture my love of learning everything I could from books. Books had the answers to almost every question I had even the ones my parents and teachers didn’t have the answers too. (This was also before the internet and the instantaneous answers one could get from Google. I had to actually work at finding the answers and I’m so grateful that I had this opportunity to live in a time where the internet wasn’t there to be used as a crutch.) Not only was I exposed to facts about the world but I also learned about other cultures, other parts of the world, about situations I hadn’t been exposed to yet, about people I hadn’t heard of, etc. It was a way of exploring the world without leaving my house.

So as your newest resident reader I hope to be able to recommend books to you that you’ll like and find interesting. I read just about everything with a noticeable bias towards fiction (as opposed to non-fiction) and will try any genre at least once. And even though it’s early in my blog writing days I have a feeling that most of my posts will be about reading (as opposed to writing) and things going on in the book world. (I am currently in my 10th year of being a bookseller, so I feel like I know my stuff.)

Here’s a VERY SHORT list of some of my favorite books, in no particular order. I hope this gives you some insight into what I enjoy and that it opens the door for some conversations. I’m always happy to give recommendations!

  • Wool (series) by Hugh Howey
  • The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
  • Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • Lexicon by Max Barry
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • 1984 by George Orwell


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I love the Passage. Happy to see that and Potter made your list. Welcome!

Tara said...

Kimberly I can't wait for City of Mirrors! Hopefully early in 2016! And thanks!

Jonathan Schramm said...

Great first post, Tara! Definitely not boring at all-- you're quite the writer too! I love many of the same books you do (this passage and world war z are two of my favs). Look forward to getting your recommendations on other books to read as well. Welcome to Across The Board!

Unknown said...

Mmm what a beautiful post, I can totally relate. Especially to falling in love with books! Seriously, I think it is true love. Books teach us to love ourselves, each other, and the see the good and stand up for it. How could we not love them?! Awesome first post, can't wait for many more.

Tara said...

Thanks Jonathan!

Tara said...

Thank you Anne Marie! I fell fast and hard in love with books. And everytime I read something truly fantastic I fall in love all over again. It's such a great feeling. And amen to books teaching us love! The world would be a much better place if everyone read don't you think?!

Carrie Beckort said...

Welcome, Tara! We're so glad to have you. Thanks for sharing your experience with falling in love with reading. The first book I remember having a huge impact on me is Wuthering Heights. Because of this, I had to give it a special place in my own writing and I threaded it throughout my novel Shattered Angel. I love your list of books - I've read several of them and they mark some of my favorites as well. Oddly, I've never read 1984 but I purchased it a few months back and can't wait to read it. Looking forward to your future posts!

Tara said...

Thanks for the warm welcome Carrie!

Brenda St John Brown said...

Welcome! I love this list. Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorites.

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

WORLD WAR Z is a fine, fine novel. Have you read the ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE?

Tara said...

Shadow of the Wind. This book is just absolutely gorgeous. The language just takes my breath away. I'm working on a tattoo made of book quotes (yes, I'm that obsessed) and there is definitely a SotW quote on there.

Tara said...

I sure have! And to further demonstrate my nerdiness I am co-head of a book club that solely reads books about the end of the world. Every meeting we talk about what we would do in the event of an apocalyptic event (that that months' book was about) and whenever we read a book on zombies I refer back to the ZSG.

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