A group of bloggers who are Early Reviewer members at LibraryThing are doing a weekly themed blog-o-rama, and I thought I'd jump in. This is Intro week, so I'll do my literary autobiography.
Though there was a lot of competition from television when I was a child, I did like to read and usually had a book going - Nancy Drew, Little Women or biographies like Helen Keller's or Anne Frank's diary. And I always loved my English classes and writing book reports.
College was delayed a bit for me - I did a couple of semesters just out of high school, but I was almost 40 when I started back to college. I just naturally drifted into English lit and writing classes. It opened up new worlds to me; up until then, I'd pretty much been reading best sellers. But Women's Studies, Black Studies and some other collaborative programs introduced me to literature I'd never known before, in addition to some of the classics (not as much as you'd expect though, for an English degree). I graduated in 1993 with a BA in English and a certificate in Women's Studies. I've been working in the health care area as a technical writer/web builder for the last ten years and will retire in 5 1/2 months.
Reading since college has been a mixed bag - lots of Isabel Allende, Louise Erdrich, David James Duncan, Barbara Kingsolver, Terry Tempest Williams, Alice Walker (all of whom I still read and adore) -- and probably 50-50 fiction and nonfiction.
And then (drumroll please): LibraryThing came into my life. At first I thought it was just a great place to catalog my books and peek into others' libraries. But then I discovered the Talk groups - here you find people with common interests who discuss books (and other things), recommend books, even trade books back and forth. In the last year, I've been encouraged and supported in my forays into Sense and Sensibility and War and Peace (can you believe an English major who'd never read any Jane Austen or Leo Tolstoy??) and Grapes of Wrath, not to mention all the authors and books I've been newly introduced to (Helene Hanff, Barbara Pym, Siri Hustvedt, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kazuo Ishiguro). The last six months I've been reading mostly fiction. I feel like I'm catching up with books I ought to have read years ago - and discovering new exciting authors too.
Not only that, but since I'm an Early Reviewer, publishers will sometimes send me free advanced readers books to review before they're published. Which can also be a mixed bag - some are stunning and some are - imo - not readable. But it's always nice to have someone value my opinion, for the cost of a book!
One thing's for sure: I'm reading a lot more than I ever have. And I'd be reading even more if I could stay off the computer!