On the SF Squeecast they always ask their guest what the first book they remember reading on their own initiative was. Which of course have made me think about the question.
Kindred Spirits might not have been my first one, but I remember this one vividly. I had listed to a lot of DragonLance books as audiobooks the year before and finally I had run out of books. I loved the series. It was so exciting and fun and full of cool action and Tessa kicked butt. I was not at all a reader (as in reading words on paper) by then. I was twelve and I was avoiding reading as much as possible because it was hard. I had not really broken the code. I was rather put out over the fact that I had to give up the series, so I decided to give it another go and try to read the novel (which is cut into two parts in Danish). And the wonder happened I cracked the reading code on this book. I started reading novel length works. And I started reading a lot. So this is my little tribute to the DragonLance books that got me reading. This was around 1996 by the way.
I was never a good reader as a child. I had cracked the basic code around seven, but I never tried to read anything unless people conversed me into. I had no joy in reading my self. I loved stories – and I was actually quite a bookies child. But I was listing in audio-form. I have (to this day) trouble pronouncing words off the page. I don’t so much spell my way though a word as associated with a sound and a meaning – which I know is kind of backwards. Vowels especially gives me trouble – both in Danish and in other languages. While I acquired the reading skill and has no trouble reading today, I am still a shaky speller. The sound of the word translated into letters on the page confuses me. Danish has a stronger connection between sound and word than English does (English is spelled insane if you ask me) but there are a lot of pit traps. Luckily I have found a career where my ability to spell things correctly without a word processor isn’t essential. While I write on the blackboard as a teacher my students know that I make mistakes and I tell them to correct me if it bothers them (it generally don’t). Since I am not teaching a language subject it don’t really matters if I spell thing correctly. I don’t really put much stuck in the importance of spelling things correctly – to the joy of a few of my students who has troubles as well. To them I am a role model because I got my university degree in the face of having trouble spelling. However if I had not cracked the reading code my life would be so much less rich. Reading brings me so much joy and I can’t really imagine my life without books. (Another reason not to travel back in time)
I don’t remember the Meetings Sextet series as a particularly good one, it was actually rather dull – especially the later books. But I did like the first book (first two in Danish). I always loved Flint and Tasslehoff – to this day those two characters has given me a of short races in fantasy. The books have cemented my love of fantasy and all other fantasy has to be at least as good as DragonLance – ok that shouldn’t be all that hard. We all know that the golden age of science fiction is twelve, for me the golden age of fantasy was also twelve. As an adult I generally enjoy science fiction and sub-genres of fantasy more than straight epic fantasy, but it is still the genre of my heart. It is the genre I am nostalgic about.
I am planing to do a series of post about the books of my childhood. I will probably do some lists of things I recommend to that age group and yes Harry Potter is definitely on that list – even if I didn’t read it till I was 15 (it wasn’t out till then in Denmark)
I hope you enjoyed my little walk back down memory lane. What was the first book you remember to read of your own accord?