It’s pretty clear to anyone who knows me that I love to read, but that wasn’t always the case. Growing up there would be a huge chunk of time when I didn’t even want to look at a book; I saw it as nothing more than work. When I recall that fact it seems absurd, that there was ever a time when I didn’t want to read… so I decided to look back through my life and see which books influenced me more than others. With that in mind, I would like to share with you just a quick look at the books that shaped my passion for the written word and inspired me to take on the world of writing myself.
The Goosebump Series – R.L. Stine
Every child has that one series of books that takes over their life and makes them fans of reading; for me that was the Goosebump books. From “The Dead House” to “The Cuckoo Clock of Doom”, I could not get enough of these stories. As soon as I finished one book, I had to read another. I didn’t know it back then, but this series would be instrumental in shaping not only the type of books I like to read but also the type of overall entertainment I love. The Goosebump books are indeed of the horror genre, but they also deal with the unknown and twist endings. To this day I am still a huge fan of horror books and horror movies, and I have Goosebumps to thank for that.
Sphere – Michael Crichton
In almost every child’s life there is the point when they make a jump from reading children’s books to finally taking on a book that was written for an adult audience, and for me that book was “Sphere”. Looking back today I cannot tell you why I picked it up, I just know that I did and I loved it. In fact, I still own the copy of the book that I read; it’s traveled with me from my home in Florida, to college, to my current home in California. I’m not sure where this particular title stands in critical acclaim of Michael Crichton books, but for me it will always be at the top.
Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
Sometime between the 6th and 10th grade I had given up on reading as a form of entertainment; the only books I would read were those assigned to me for school. I can, however, pinpoint the moment that all changed. I was flying home with my family and I saw the first “Harry Potter” book at one of the stores in the airport, and I guess it seemed like something that could be fun to read, which of course it was. I read that first one in a matter of days and the next 2 books in the series the following week. Up until those books I am not sure I had ever read so much in so little time. However, once I finished the first three books in the series I had nothing else to read (the other books had yet to be published). I had re-discovered the joy you could gain from reading and I didn’t want to stop, so I went in search for new books and I have not stopped since.
Dreamcatcher – Stephen King
Right off the bat I know this is not anywhere near the top of Stephen King’s best works, but it’s the first book of his I ever read. I had always been a fan of Stephen King’s work as a kid but mostly in movie and mini-series form. I loved both “The Stand” and “The Shining” mini-series. I can remember seeing “The Shining” movie and the “IT” mini-series and being transfixed by them, but for some reason I never got around to reading his books. Finally, I decided it was time to just pick one up so I went and bought his newest release which happened to be “Dreamcatcher”. I know a lot of people don’t like this particular book (including the author himself), but I really ended up enjoying the story and it opened the floodgates to other King works. In fact, almost every year I end up reading at least two of his books, whether it’s a new or old one. Stephen King is who I go to when I need inspiration to write and an author whose books I know I can pick up at any moment to have a good time. For that alone, I thank “Dreamcatcher” (The movie adaptation not so much).