30 Day Book Challenge Day 22 – The Book(s) That Made Me Fall In Love With Reading

I have in fact fallen in love with reading three times over my life, once as a young child, once as a teenager, and again, finally, as an adult. In between each of these phases, I must sadly admit I also “fell out of love” with reading. It seems madness now that this happened to me, especially as I have loved writing since a very young age as well. But I think in both cases, it came down to being forced to read books for school/university that I didn’t enjoy or didn’t want to read, and often it is very hard to recover from that. In each case, it has taken a special book to drag me back to the joy of reading, but I think I can confidently say that from this point onwards I will always love reading and it will always be a big part of my life.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This book fostered a love of both books and chocolate in me...

When I first fell in love with reading, as many of my regular followers will know from past posts, it was Roald Dahl who was the instigator of such connections to the written word – most particularly the books James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory took me to a world beyond my wildest little dreams, and would spark in me an interest in the weird and quirky for many years to come.

Don't panic!

As a young teenager though, having outgrown these books, the Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine, and having read the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, I became bored with reading as the books thrust upon me at school became less and less interesting. It took a few years, until late high school, before I fell in love with reading again, and there were a number of books that caused this. Firstly, I discovered The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its various sequels by Douglas Adams, which taught me just how funny fiction could be, regardless of genre. Then in school I studied All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, which, unbeknownst to me, had started a love for fiction set in war-time which survives to this very day. Not much later after this, I also studied Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which started a love of dystopian fiction which would eventually lead me to classic writers of this genre such as George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut.

There's only one catch...

But as I moved into a university life which was to last seven odd years, and more importantly, into adulthood, the pressure that came from the sheer amount of literature I had to read exhausted me, and I stopped reading for pleasure in my spare time again. The book which brought me back to reading for the final time was given to me by a friend, just before I started a second degree, in post-grad creative writing (good timing, really), and being her favourite book, it meant a lot to her, and so meant a lot to me before I even read it. But as it turns out, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, completely blew me away, pushed me through every emotion as I whirled my way through its pages, stunningly written, hilarious, insightful, tragic, and just beautiful. After this amazing book, set in WWII, it was as if someone had flicked a switch inside my head, and there was no turning back. It’s been a little over four years since I read this, during which time I have read somewhere between 150 and 200 books, and my love for books, and for reading and writing, has never been stronger (and I seriously owe that friend big time)!

What book made you fall in love with reading? Did you ever have to fall in love with reading all over again, like I did?

8 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge Day 22 – The Book(s) That Made Me Fall In Love With Reading

  1. Archie comics and Nancy Drew books got me into reading when I was younger. I took a break near the end of high school and was reunited with my love for reading with Margaret Atwood’s novel Oryx and Crake. It was my first dystopian novel and my college class went through it in our English course. Over the past year I am back in full force!

    • Oh wow I remember Archie comics. Actually I had forgotten that I read quite a lot of comics and similar things, I also collected Mad Magazine for a while.
      I am yet to read Margaret Atwood, though I keep hearing these great things about her. I think I have The Blind Assassin sitting on my shelf, I must get around to reading it.
      Good to hear you’re back in full force, it’s always a nice feeling when you are!

  2. I don’t think I ever ‘fell out of love’ with reading. Even after all the junk I had to read in school, I’d still fall back to the stuff I loved in my spare time. I was even able to use one of my favourites, ‘Shogun’, for a literature project. I researched the characters and linked them to real historical figures, which was a blast!

  3. Roald Dahl must be on the top of everyone’s list. What a wonderful man.

    I guess the books that really got me back into reading after my high school slump were the poetry of Sexton and Plath because it was so just…raw. I needed that honesty to find myself again.

    • Yes, I agree, he was an amazing man! The world needs more writers like him, and perhaps more than ever right now as there becomes more and more reasons for children to not read in this world (the amount of my students who tell me they don’t read at all is horrifying).
      And that’s cool that it was poetry that got you back into reading – often it’s poetry which puts people off hhahahaa. But I know what you mean, Plath is very raw, emotional but not soppy with it, just sharp and intelligent and different. Definitely appreciate her poetry more now I’m a bit older…

  4. Into the Land of the Unicorns, Bruce Coville-5th grade. It’s hard for a little girl not to love unicorns, but I became obsessed with how he created this world so different and yet so similar from our own. It was the perfect fantasy novel. Soon after, I wrote my own version of it for a mother’s day gift with colored pictures. It was only five pages long, but that’s where it truly began. I have yet to create my own fantasy world. Maybe I’ll revisit that old story and get some inspiration 😛 Love Roald Dahl and R.L. Stine so much they both revolutionized young adult literature.

    • Hahaha I know what you mean, both of my sisters loved books about horses and unicorns and things.
      That’s cute how you made that story into a mother’s day gift 😛 But it’s awesome to think back to that as being the moment where it all began for you (I likewise have a moment like that, where I wrote a story when I was about 8 or 9, it was 20 pages long and mostly about robots and space, but it was definitely the beginning moment, and I owe a lot to the teacher who encouraged me to write it and helped edit it for me!).
      And it’s funny you should mention revisiting your old story – I recently stumbled across a whole pile of stories I wrote in my late childhood/early teenage years, and was really stunned to sit there and read them. I mean, they were clearly written by somebody young, but the ideas in them surprised me, and they were so clearly me – my sense of humour has certainly never changed 😛

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