I didn't suddenly begin reading one day. Rather, I've been reading my entire life. My earliest memories concerning books is when my mother came home one day when I was six and gave me Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. I still have my very first copy. Brown now and stained around the edges, doodled in and torn and faded in places, it's been VERY well-loved. It now sits snug with the rest of my copies on its own shelf enjoying retirement. Unless, of course, I wish to revisit Hogwarts. Which happens very often.
Harry Potter taught me everything I know today about acceptance, love and so much more. These books were my bible and JK Rowling my God. Heck, I grew up having a mental relationship with Draco Malfoy. I hated him, yet loved him. By the time I got to the final book, I was sighing wistfully for him to Slytherin my Chamber of Secrets. I have zero regrets about that. (I blame Tom Felton in the movie adaptations for causing my crush to turn so out-of-control!)
I laughed with Harry, I cried with him. Harry Potter, the Boy Who Shapes The Minds Of Kids Everywhere. Yes, SHAPES, not SHAPED. Because he's still going strong.
The Inheritance Cycle
I was barely even a teenager when I found Eragon. It was a cold day at the public library and I was scanning the kids section for something new.
And then I saw it: A BOOK ABOUT DRAGONS. Aka, my favorite thing EVER.
Thanks to Eragon, my vocabulary improved greatly and my English grades soared. This was my first ever venture into high fantasy (that wasn't Harry Potter), and I'm very sure right now that it's because of Eragon that I love fantasy so much. At first the complicated words and made-up language was hard to understand, but then I read and reread the book so many times that it no longer became a concern. I walked around everywhere with a copy of the book under an arm. Sadly, I don't have my original copy, for it got lost when we moved houses long ago, but I do have another old copy of it that I bought when I was fourteen. It's very battered by now, the poor thing.
Just the other day I bought the final book in the series. If you're an Inheritance Cycle fan, you'll know that there was an IMPOSSIBLE wait between the third and fourth books (almost 4 years) and in that time, I grew up and the books ended up pushed to the back of my bookcase, myself given up waiting on the final book. When it did come out, I couldn't be bothered to read it. I'll reread them all one day and finally read the last book. I owe that to my teenage self.
EVERYONE read this when they were a teenager/young adult. Don't try and deny it. And I... I was a massive fan of the books. I went to school with glitter on my face. I had a Team Jacob t-shirt. I worshiped the books and thought them the best thing ever.
And then the movies happened. And I, like others, dropped Twilight like a hot plate and decided to never speak of it again. But I don't regret loving the books: they were what got me into romance and Young Adult fiction. If it wasn't for Twilight, I don't think modern-day YA would be this global. Twilight revolutionized the YA genre. And for that, I'll forever be grateful.
(Whoo! Team Jacob!)
The Hush, Hush Saga
The angel genre was MASSIVE when I first began reading YA as a young teen. One day on LiveJournal, I happened across an aspiring author, and her name was Becca Fitzpatrick, the author of, yes, Hush Hush. I followed her story as she went from unpublished to published, supporting and cheering her along the way. I guess this was my first ever series of blog posts! So yeah, I began reading more widely, mostly looking for books about angels and demons. Which led to...
The Mortal Instruments
The Mortal Instruments. My life CHANGED once more when I began reading these. I actually remember when it very first came out, and how CLOSE I came to entering the fandom a whole two years earlier: one day in a bookshop, I could only pick one book, and they were City of Bones or The Demon Trappers.
I bought The Demon Trappers. When I went back for City of Bones, it was gone and after that, faded from my mind. Until 2009 when I happened across the third (and then, final book of the trilogy). I knocked City of Glass off the shelf and the words on the pages caught my attention. The scene was the one where Sebastian shot the arrow that killed Hodge and then he promptly kicked everyone's arses. Quite frankly, I fell totally head-over-heels for that murderous bastard and bought all three books there and then so I could learn more about him and the others. But mostly just for him. Thanks Seb for introducing me to these books!
The ending killed me. BROTHER AND SISTER? WHAT THE EFF? I ended up making an account on Twitter called JonathansRunes so I could chat to other TMI fans. Yep, I totally went through the initiation all new TMI fans face when they join Twitter -- everyone acts as if Clace ARE brother and sister so you read on and think they really are related. It's evil, but it's great.
And with the account on Twitter, I was suddenly exposed to a vast range of amazing books like Mara Dyer, Divergent, Angelfall and more. Another notable book that came into my life is Throne of Glass by Sarah J.Maas. Celaena has taught me so much it's unreal. Also, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I discovered my love of fantasy once more with all of these books. TMI also led me to blogging, and with blogging came reviewing. And now here I am! All thanks to these books. Last year when the final TMI book came out, it hit me hard. It was like closing a final chapter that was started when I was a teenager.
Books HAVE shaped and changed my life, there's no denying it. From Harry Potter to Twilight to The Mortal Instruments, they have each had a profound impact on my life. And I will always love them. (Yes, even Twilight).