I don't remember learning to read. I know I wasn't one of the prodigy children who is reading at 2 but I have a feeling I knew how to read much earlier than I "officially" learned but just didn't know I could. I have always been entranced with books. Even as a baby when I was cranky and not wanting to sit still if someone sat me down with a book I was instantly quiet, instantly mesmerized. I have photos of pretty much everyone in my life reading to me at one time or another and I am always still staring at the page in front of me.
But my relationship with books isn't flawless. When I was in middle school and high school I resented how much I liked to read because it wasn't cool and if anyone found it I'd look like a nerd. So I hid it. I didn't talk about books and I tried to pretend I didn't love it. One of the best things about getting older is that you stop caring about stupid things and I happily re-embraced my love of reading at the end of high school and through college. Thankfully that phase of really intensely worrying about what people thought came to an end and never reappeared. But all this musing led me to think about what books I really loved at different stages. I was also inspired by this post from Deb Nance at Readerbuzz.
Age 0 - 5:
Baby's Birthday by Patricia Mowers, Illustrated by Eloise Wilkin - I am 36 years old but if I mention this book to either of my parents (who are divorced and haven't spoken in 10 years at least) they both will instantly respond in a sing song voice "Wake up Baby! It's your special day". Apparently this was my favorite book and one I insisted on reading on a very regular basis. I think it was really the illustrator who I really loved because almost all of my favorite books at this point were illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.
Age 6 - 10
The Babysitter's Club by Anne M. Martin - I read The Babysitter's Club right from the beginning and anxiously waited for new ones to come out. About the time I was reading these my mother was in graduate school and she would meet up with her study group at this bookstore where one of the members worked. I would sit on the floor and read at least one of these from cover to cover!
Ages 11 - 15
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I don't quite know what prompted me to pick up this chunkster of a book. It could have been seeing the movie at someone's house or it could have been that I wanted to see if I could read a book this long. Whatever the reason I end up really enjoying it and being surprised with how different it was from the book.
Ages 16 - 20
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher - I don't know why I picked this book up the first time but I do know I fell in love with it almost immediately. This was probably the first book I read that was multi-POV and while that took some getting used too I did love Penelope Keeling.
Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie - This is the first of Agatha's books that I remember really enjoying. Poirot can be a little tricky to connect with but I LOVED this one and love it as much now as I did when I was a teenager.
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell - This book pulled me in and kept me jumping at noises for quite some time! The smell of maple syrup made me nervous for awhile. Her next few were really good too but then I kind of lost interest in the series.
Ages 21 - 25
This was a busy time for me. I ended a relationship and completely redirected my life, graduated from college, got a "grown up job", and met and married my husband. I also started reading romance after a push from an IRL blogger friend (though she wasn't a blogger at the time) Lisa.
Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens - This was the first romance I ever read and I adored it. Not only that but I read it basically in one sitting. I reread it a few years ago and definitely didn't feel the same about it but I'll always have a soft spot for it!
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn - This was the first book by an author that quickly became an auto-read. This is one that still holds up pretty well after a number of years. While this isn't my favorite Bridgerton I still love Daphne and this story as a whole.
Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts - Pretty much ditto to the Julia Quinn book. This was the first book I read by a now favorite author. This is still on of my favorite of Roberts' trilogies.
Ages 26 - 36
Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright - This is a children's book but I didn't discover it until I was in my late 20s. I loved Enright's Four Story Mistake and read it countless times but I'm almost mad I didn't discover this book as a child because I would have loved it! I did enjoy it plenty as an adult so all is not lost.
One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly - This was one of the first cozies I read and really got me obsessed with the genre. This series and author are still one of my favorites
Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis - Up until this book I had primarily read historicals when it came to romance. With the exception of Nora Roberts and the occasional other author I never really seemed to find a contemporary that really stuck and seldom reached for this sub-genre.
I think my main thing going forward is that I'd like to take more reading risks - more books outside of my usual genres, more books that I think might make me cry or make me think or question or learn. But I don't want to expand so much I'm no longer reading books by favorite authors or books that make me happy.
If you're thinking back what books stand out to you in different phases of your life? Anything you want to change about the way you read?