Today, I kind of want to do a slightly different post. I was reading Tim Parks’ novel, Where Am I Reading From? for my thesis and I came across this little section where he talks about how he’s childhood bookshelf kind of prophesised where his interests would and/or wouldn’t lie in the future. And it got me thinking about how I read and what I read..the books that I tend to gravitate to, and why that’s the case. So it got me thinking even more and because of that, you get this post.
So, I went to my bookshelf and looked at it, really looked at it, like I was a stranger and what a stranger could discern from such a looking.
Here are my observations:
- Holy hell, she must love Nora Roberts a whole lot.
- Has she even read all those Classics?
- Romance and sex, okay, I approve.
- Wait, how old is she? Young Adult books are everywhere.
- A lot of poetry
- She’s a feminist, she must be.
I was having fun with it, sue me.
And I realised that the bookshelf which I have now is a kind of elaboration of the bookshelf that I had in my childhood home, the one that I shared with my parents.
What do I mean by all this, though? Well, let’s start with the bottom part of my fiction shelf. This is where the adult crime/thriller and classic supernatural/horror fiction can be found. Growing up, we had the typical Dan Brown shelf, with the mafioso-type thrillers like the Godfather, etc. We also had Anne Rice, who my mum was a super fan of, and of course, Jackie Collins. As I grew up, the shelves did too – I remember Nora Roberts making a consistent appearance as well as more True Crime novels concerning mafia-hitmen and the underbelly of Australia. And of course, the Bible. I don’t think any family with an Italian parent and Italian grandparents can escape having the Bible on their bookshelf.
I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with mum reading Anne Rice books such as the Witching Hour; but the books that I remember reading with crystal-like clarity was more ‘supernatural-like’, and they were the Mediator series by Meg Cabot. I actually read them first before the Princess Diaries, I didn’t read them until the movie came out. But I fell in love with the Mediator series! I thought that the main female character, Suz, was everything I wanted to be; she was strong and independent as hell but also loved with everything in her. I fell in love with Jesse, the ghost and got so emotionally invested in their relationship throughout the entire series. I absolutely loved it. Suz, a ‘mediator’, basically sees dead people and her job, that she takes upon herself, is to ensure that these ghosts move on.
I loved them so much holy shit.
And then I stuck with Meg Cabot for a while, never really venturing into different genres, until Nora Roberts. Now, Meg Cabot’s the Mediator series was very Young Adult whereas Nora Roberts’ books were…not so much. The first actual sex scene I read I was LIKE WHAT OMG AM I ALLOWED TO READ THIS IN COMPANY?? Now, I’m a pro. I can read chapters of sex scenes without anyone knowing at all.
It’s a gift.
But my venturing into Nora Roberts was a direct result of my mum and the bookshelf we had at home.
Now I’m a Nora Roberts fiend, I literally have two shelves of her on my bookshelf and their double packed. Like, when I say I have a ridiculous amount of Nora Roberts books, I mean it.
Storytime: When we moved houses in 2014, my mum got rid of quite a lot of books (we donated them) because we literally couldn’t take them all with us. It was heartbreaking, so my mum and dad’s copies of all the Dan Brown books was given away.
Fast forward a few years later (like one) I was on an OBSESSION STREAK. I needed to read EVERY SINGLE ROBERT LANGDON BOOK THERE WAS. So I purchased them all. You’re welcome, Dan Brown.
But for me, when I began reading Adult Fiction, I only read Adult Fiction. I think the only exception was Harry Potter, and that wasn’t until I was in highschool. I do think now that this was because Adult Fiction was more accessible to me during the period when I began to be more heavily invested in reading – say when I was around 11 or 12 years of age? So I kind of forgot that Yound Adult fiction actually existed until Twilight and then eventually, Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series.
So, I had read Harry Potter when I was in Year 7, so I was 12 or 13 and I really fucking loved it. My mum, who was at this point fostering my love of reading, went to Angus and Robertson (before all their shops bloody closed down; on a side note, do yall remember Borders?) and got Twilight. That was then what spurred my love of all things paranormal romance. Again, I tended to go to the Adult Fiction section – so I read ALOT OF J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, G. A. Aiken, just to name a few. WHICH I LOVED. I was and still am HERE FOR ALL THE ROMANCE.
But, if you look at my bookshelf now, paranormal adult fiction romance is not really the genre taking up my shelves. It’s YA lit. The only paranormal/supernatural adult books I have are those authored by Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan.
I got rid of a lot of those types of books, and I think its because I felt that I grew up? Which is funny because I grew up by broadening my reading and read Young Adult fiction, a genre typically catered to ‘younger’ audiences.
Am I the only one who sits and looks at my bookshelf and just stare and reminisce about various memories each book has? Let me know in the comments!
So, what would your bookshelf right now tell a stranger? Do you remember your childhood bookshelf? Have they changed in terms of genres, or do you see little patterns that come up when thinking about what you used to love as a child/teenager and now?
Until next time! Happy reading!
All the love,