My History of Reading

Every literate person in this educated world certainly had begun their voyage of reading books from the raw and early days of one’s childhood. Whether the first books were read aloud by a generous soul who wished to escort us elegantly into the musings and environments of the tomes or read in solo on our own, books are indeed carriages and containers for readers to dive into fictional worlds crafted and carved out by the authors themselves. Likewise, the precious memories and the early dawn of people’s reading habits are both unique and interesting to behold.

Even to this day, I cherish the figurative puzzle pieces that compose up my childhood memories. Why do I call them “puzzle pieces”? The reason is quite trivial – my past remains fragmented in my mental space – and yet it poses a significant shadow over what I remember and as far as I can remember. Of course, a child’s past life is closely linked with his/her first books in parallel to his/her first words.

Now, to begin the iteration over the domain of my personal chronological archive of reading, it all begins with classic fairy tales and folklore. Long before I had been introduced into the world of “stored stories” that serve as one of books’ primary features, the only source of experiencing stories was to hear oral tales from my grandmother. And then, at the age of four, I was ushered into a new dimension.

At preschool, my teacher read The Enormous Turnip aloud to the class. It was a Ladybird book, aimed at early learners, and complete with illustrations. Specifically thanks to the presence of a perfect narration style equipped with the vibrant pictures, we, as the first consumers of the magical things that books were, were overjoyed and marveled. Once I returned home, I had thrown a tantrum to get me a book at once! Being the eldest child of my parents’ household, books fit for four-year-olds were scarce at home at that period of time. Nevertheless, my father purchased a few to get me started with.

Books were sent to me as presents on my birthdays. Books were purchased for me on behalf of attaining excellent grades at school. Little did I know then that in the future I would have a mini library of books waiting for me.

Within the chain of the next months and years to follow, I had mastered the art of reading on my own! To a fresh reader at that age, such an achievement showers him/her with opportunities to read anytime, anywhere at their own convenient pace. By then, more of the illustrated titles from the Ladybird publishers such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, The Pied Piper and Jack and the Bean Stalk had already been devoured and digested by my mind. My mind hungered for more.

Storybooks aside, I also loved encyclopedias and textbooks, which catered knowledge of various flavors as a vending machine would dispense snacks.

As time passed, the picture to text ratio faced a downturn as more of the area was dominated by clusters of words, sentences and expressions. Then my patience grew lenient enough to adapt to books without any images embedded within them at all. Between the age of ten and fourteen, I had an unusual habit of reading through the dictionary often, randomly plucking out words, learning their definitions, having an occasional look at nearby diagrams (if available), and trying to imagine what new sort of book would I come across next.

Tracing among those “puzzle pieces” of my past, particular moments and dates of importance had been marked by the titles of certain books. Reading The Lord of the Rings reminds me of a time when my parents had sent me to a neighbor’s house while going out shopping. I had taken that novel with me for utilizing the free time. Taking a glance at To Kill A Mockingbird heralds flashbacks of a week I spent at my grandparents’ place, sitting by the front yard, listening to the whispers of the gentle summer breeze and reading Harper Lee’s thoughts on racial prejudice. That’s right! Those books were notable landmarks for preserving memorable days.

I also remember how my imagination blossomed as I traversed the works of J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and George R.R. Martin – great leaders at defining not only mere fictitious events and characters but also whole universes that are non-existent. If that very fact of the existence of a genre called “fantasy” does not baffle any devoted reader or bookworm, I wonder what would!

Definitely, reading has its benefits. For me, I believe, I nurtured my habits quite well; I was blessed with the ability to compose poems from an age of six, when everyone else was still busy perfecting and practicing their ABCs and constructing sentences. And a year before I turned into a teen, I had penned my first novel worth 89 pages. Now a peculiar fact about my first literary creations was that I had actually written them for myself and my own presence only. They obviously were not journal entries nor a diary of sorts. They were valid works meant for public eyes, but I had kept them to myself – only to proudly boast to my friends that I had some rare one-piece books and poetry in my collection!

Eventually, I published all my manuscripts online after half a decade, to step into the world of books not as a reader but as a leader. To inspire and entertain minds while gathering fuel from others’. I now not only read, but also allow to be read. For books are nothing more than the flesh and blood condensed from humans’ thoughts, knowledge and creativity, it isn’t false that reading books carry the same analogy as reading a writer’s mind.

With all of that described, I can earnestly conclude a brief history of the remarkable moments of my life, all thanks to the existence of brilliant books and wonderful writers.

My Favorite Genre

In the world of literature, there exists a system of classification of specific elements surrounding every text, novel, and literary work of art – genre. Indeed, they are archetypes identifying a work and defining its themes, moods, and common motifs that it may share with other works of the same family, of the same ‘genre’. In other words, genres refer to the conventions of ideas that should be in place for a particular piece of writing.

Like every other reader with a passion for books, my mind holds one such genre high above all else, with a shade of supremacy – the gracefully grand genre called fantasy.

Owing allegiance to the power of the human imaginative capabilities, the world of fantasy is always ripe with colors and flavors from worlds unlike our own. From the typical fairytale spectacles of stories basking in the chronological light of the medieval era to timeless masterpieces suffering greatly under suspense and magic – even the sky is not the limit for the forsaken genre called fantasy!

Fantasy, as a genre, provides writers the reins to control every single aspect of the (imaginary) world that he/she would like to construct. Granted this freedom, it is evident that this genre possesses limitless potential; in my opinion, fantasy alone can rule over all other genres in the kingdom of literature!

Kindred to all genres, there are iconic characteristics that bloom within stories associated with fantasy. Firstly, the traditional aspects of fantasy are observed and speculated:

Usually, the traditional settings were in fictional universes with their own set of universal laws and physics. Rich backdrop against the storyline, and a healthy lore that follows. A pinch of the magic here and there. Valiant heroes accompanied or escorted by fine wizards on quests. Nefarious villains with mainstream malicious intents, mostly to do with conquering the world or corrupting all civilizations – being evil for the sake of being evil.

From a higher angle of perception, the classic fantasy books were enveloped in joy and a sense of agog adventure since early fantasy writers wrote novels intended for children and younger audiences.

From the brink of the twenty-first century, however, the whole genre itself has transmogrified into an even wider scope, now representing anything – and everything – that is born out of a writer’s thoughts, sensations, or desires.

Nowadays, any poetic text can be claimed to be a member of the fantasy genre. But they would only be pale examples of fantasy, if at all.

To reach a higher scale of affinity with true fantasy, the setting of the story MUST be a constructed world. That is the only mandatory rule. As for the inclusions of magical elements or a escapade-like tale, they are prominent in some of the best fantasy titles but not much of a requirement to qualify as a pure fantasy architecture.

To name a favorite book of mine among the forest of fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones are the most probable candidates. To pick from those two works, Martin’s fortune is favored.

A fictional world populated by graceful and venomous characters alike, constant clashes and conflicts, fueled by backed up by a storyline that twists more frequently than an average tree’s roots… A Game of Thrones and the whole series A Song of Ice and Fire, itself, is spiced with both the conventional themes of fantasy as well as the contemporary version.

In abstraction, A Game of Thrones has an alternate reality etched into its origin. That includes its own histories, races, physics, etc.

The most appealing feature about the series is a mystic feeling lurking stagnant in the air of the plot and worldly lore. Readers can find themselves as curious as the common folk described in the story, who are keen to learn about the ‘Sunset kingdoms’ and all the conquests offered by the kings, queens, lords, ladies and knights of Westeros as they play their ‘game of thrones’.

Thanks to its own nature – the prime characteristic of a fantasy work – the story is lively and the book appears to be a portal to gain access to a different dimension of a world no one can ever sense or detect except through words of imaginative content.

Works cited

Martin, George R.R. A Game of Thrones. 1st ed., Harper Voyager, 1996.

Tolkien, John R.R. The Lord of the Rings. 2nd ed., Harper Collins, 1968.