Literary Blog Hop: Beginnings

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Literary Blog Hop

It's time again for the Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase. This week's question comes from Debbie at Reader Buzz:

How did you find your way to reading literary fiction and nonfiction?

I find myself truly appreciating this question, because I've never thought about what caused me to start reading literary fiction and nonfiction. I have been a bookworm since I started to read - I didn't learn until the end of kindergarten but immediately started reading chapter books. I was a big fan of Nancy Drew and the Babysitter's Club in those days, but I do remember devouring the Great Illustrated Classics books as well. I think my real first brush with the classics came about as a result of the Accelerated Reader program. All the books in my elementary school library had difficulty levels and points assigned to them, and we were required to take quizzes on the books to attain specific point levels. I am a pretty competitive person, and when rumors of high level books (Little Women and Gone With the Wind are the ones I remember) I turned to those because the Great Illustrated Classics didn't count. (Although I do remember having my points revoked when I tried to take the Little Women quiz having just read the abridged version).

So Accelerated Reader probably gave me my first little introduction to classics. However, my grandma also encouraged me to read quality literature. She would buy me books at garage sales and give me books for my birthday. She also had a good friend who was a voracious reader, and that lady would recommend books that my grandma would pass on to me.

Despite my interest in the classics, I was a pretty devoted sci-fi/fantasy reader until high school. I still like the occasional sci-fi/fantasy novel, although after reading 20-30, they all started to sound the same to me. In my English classes in high school, I was again exposed to many classics I had never heard of. In one class, we were required to pick one book for each semester and do about 10 projects on it. I decided to read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Getting fully involved in these books showed me how rewarding the classics could be. I fell in love with the complexity of the plots and characters. Character driven novels are much more rewarding for me than plot driven novels, and I found more of what I was looking for in the classics. For a few years, into college, I almost exclusively read classics (although I made an exception for Harry Potter and Twilight!)

I have only recently begun reading mainstream, modern literary fiction. I think my first discoveries of more recent books happened in France, where I fell in with a wonderful little bookstore that sold only English books and French books translated from English books. I attempted to talk about literature in French with the owner, and he recommended several books to me. And thus my journey into literary fiction commenced. Hooray!


  1. Oh, I love the picture of the illustrated classics. It brings back memories. I remember a project in junior high where we had to pick a book and I picked Gone With the Wind and made little paper dolls with various outfits for the characters. Silly, but fun.

  2. I love how we seem so positively influenced through gifts! How wonderful that we are connected to these people in our lives through literature.

  3. This Accelerated Reader program sounds like a great idea! It's a lovely way to get people to discover the classics, I think.


  4. Interesting that AR helped you find your way to great books! My principal did not want to buy it for our school because her daughter had bad experiences with it.

    Here's my post for the Literary Blog Hop.

  5. As a bookworm from birth, possibly before, not to sure on that, but won't discount it.To me reading is like breathing.

  6. Those Great Illustrated Classics seem to be a great foundation for reading the classics later on. My 11yo son read that version of Robin Hood when he was quite young and was sobbing at the end because Robin died. :( Those things stick with you, I think.

  7. I think for me the relationship between SFF and literature didn't solidify until I was in my 20s. I always thought SFF was somehow less-than realistic fiction. Thank heavens that's not true! My thoughts are at eclectic/eccentric

  8. Sadly, my sisters and I were about the only readers in our brothers didn't want any part of books. :)

    What wonderful answers and stories from everyone.

    My story is at:


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