If you need a Safe Space...Run
I watched a lot of cartoons as a little kid, and at some point stumbled across some relatively intense samples in the form of things like Samurai Jack, Batman Beyond, and some televised anime. I was immediately hooked on hard (as it got for Western kids’ shows) SF/F Action, and when cable offerings were few and far between and my parents were slow in setting up home computers, I raided my school library for books, sorted by size and number of monsters on the covers, for Mental Image Scripting.
When I was 6-7, back at grandma's house I found a stash of my dad's old black and white Marvel, DC, (etc.) comics from the 70's, he had dozens although not complete collections. I barely knew how to read but in the space of a year I had learnt how to, I had to read those comic books, they had robots on them!!! There was this huge green monster breaking tanks, a guy with a ring that could make things appear out of thin air.Rest is history.
it felt good to escape into a good fiction book. better than tv or movies. sometimes get the same sensations from video games but never for long. team sports or being social were never my thing.
Superman and Batman taught me how to read. I think they came even before the television shows; I learned to read so I could understand what the superheroes were doing.Now, where did those first, vital comic books come from? I don't know. Both my parents were amusedly tolerant of comics, but considered them kid stuff. Which, you know, since I was a kid ... My son learned to read so he could read Star Wars comics, having seen the movies and wanting more. So it still works.
I was a pretty sickly kid all the way up through HS. Although I am 29, I grew up in the age of four TV stations (ABC,NBC,CBS,PBS). That didn't leave a lot of options for TV viewing. Plus, add in that I was and am awkward and uncoordinated, I didn't fit in too well with the guys. Since VCR's didn't get cheap enough to own until the end of HS, if I wanted to relive a sci-fi movie I liked, it was the novelization or nothing. So, I read a lot. I mainly read military and sci-fi Fantasy never did much for me.
My mother took me and my sisters to the local library, I found the supernatural horror section and that was it for me.
Don't know if there was an initial event, but we drove around a lot, and I could read in the car. And books I got were mine, unlike toys that I had to share with my siblings.
Michael Whelan.Up until the age of 12, all my reading was school/required reading. And I hated it. As far as comic books are concerned, Waldenbooks and B. Dalton had a small circular rack of them but I, for whatever reasons, wasn't really interested in them.But the first time I saw a Michael Whelan cover (The Integral Trees by Larry Niven) my mind was blown. It wasn't even that great a book- I get that now. But to my 12 year old mind. Whoa. It's a mediocre story built on a killer concept, but I was hooked. Until I discovered Tolkien in High School, I was snatching up books with Whelan's amazing covers. Some were, of course better than others. My favorite book from back then was The Faded Suns trilogy omnibus by C.J. Cherryh. She's about the only female author I can read with any regularity. But Michael Whelan, since my family isn't what one would call literate or cultured (I come from good Lumberjack/River Pig redneck stock), is the reason I discovered Poul Anderson and Edgar Rice Burroughs.The worst part about Whelan is that quite often, the book doesn't do his art justice.
When I was three years old, in 1947, the veterans' hospital decided that my Dad's polio was treatable out-patient, which put him in the same house as a tornado. In order to quiet the tornado, he made games of the preparatory drills for learning to read through phonics. He read to me, and encouraged me to pick up. I did, and I have been a voracious reader for the subsequent seventy-one years.
I can't really remember a time when I DIDN'T read for pleasure. My parents will tell you that I was picking out 3-5 children's books per day and reading them to THEM by 2. I was always that kid in the class who got like five books from the Troll/Scholastic Book Club every time the brochure went out. Goosebumps and Bruce Coville were my favorites back then.My dad encouraged this habit with an incentive that I'm totally stealing for my own kids. If I wanted toys or games, I didn't get them outside of birthdays or holidays unless I had earned them by doing chores or getting good grades. If I wanted a book, he would always buy it for me, no questions asked. The one exception was when I got really into Michael Crichton at 11 (thanks to the REAL Jurassic Park novel, which he got for me instead of the kids' novelization of the movie) and he said "no" to The Terminal Man, thinking it would be too violent. I guess he didn't realize that JP was full of graphic descriptions of dinosaurs eviscerating people. :P
I don't recall a time when I didn't read for pleasure. I do remember being highly bored by the Benzinger Bros. books and other early readers ("See John and Jane. See Spot.") - blargh. Not much money when I grew up, but there was always time for a Saturday trip to the local library. Lots of encouragement to read, and birthday money or books always went to good use.I read a lot of fiction, Golden Books (very young), historical novels, history, science, etc. I was introduced to some of the classics in the children's section ("The Hobbit" with fifteen BEING PREPARED FOR DINNER is pretty scary). Got my adult card as soon as I was eligible, and then found the rest of classic authors and inter-library loan. Never looked back, especially when I found a copy of "The Space Vampires" on the shelf. The movie "Lifeforce" did a pretty good job of translating the concepts and my imagined female vampire to the big screen.Seconding the thoughts on Micheal Whelan covers. Darrel Sweet's were always too "nice and clean," so I needed to read the abstract or a couple chapters to see if it got my attention.
I love stories. My parents used to read to me when I was a kid, but but the time I was 8 or so I wanted something besides Tolkien and Little House, so I started branching out. Once I broke the 100 page milestone, there was no turning back. The study of history was just a way to legitimize my story habit.
My parents read to me often as a child, and I was reading before kindergarten I'm told. I can't remember a time I didn't love to read. My parents loved to read as well so I probably copied their behavior as a child often does.
Because TV took too long to tell a freaking story. Also, grew up in a world with only 4 tv channels, so grandma's collection of Readers Digests was an easy escape when the adults were watching 60 Minutes. I can't explain how I knew it was garbage at age 7, but I did. Also, comic books were a jolt of lightning after reading See Spot Run. If you're writing a book for boys/men, recommend including a shrill harpy who is gorgeous that the hero walks away from anyway. We all need a reminder on that score. Yes, I dodged 2 (!) bullets before marrying them. Never put your dirk in crazy, no matter how fantabulous crazy punani can be.
Started reading and enjoying WW2 history and the Time-Life books which my parents subscribed to which were all non fiction in elementary school. Required middle school book reports on "classic" books like Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues were boring and a pain to read. Was fascinated by aircraft and spaceships. After being stunned by Kubrick's "2001" movie, I started reading Science Fiction for pleasure starting with Clark's "2001" book then moving on to Asimov, Harry Harrison, Heinlein, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. I got halfway through David Gerrold's "The War Against the Chtorr" series which killed my interest in science fiction and moved on to historical fiction with George Frazier's Flashman series, which I've re-read several times at this point.
10years old. I still have the first book I read for fun. Red Planet by Heinlein.
I just always liked stories, no matter what kind. Books, TV Shows, and video Games were most of my life.
I started to read for pleasure when by chance event I picked up a book by Jack London. Early high school years. I believe a proficient reader because of him as I was otherwise an indifferent student.
My grandmother went on a hot quest to find anything I would read. Week by week she would bring me books that I was supposed to like. I don't remember a single one until she bought me the Irish setter books by Jim kjeelgard at age 7. I was immediately hooked and looked everywhere for more. I eventually moved on to scifi and fantasy but the dog books started it all.
When I was a kid my Mom got me the Dr. Seuss books. I know, you doubt me, but it was a different time. We had three channels, and one TV, that I only got to control on Saturday mornings.
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