Okay not really but I thought the title was funny.
Um. Link this blog post. Link!
This post is really about reading. And Patricia said write whatever I want so here we are, you are my captive audience while I write whatever I want about reading. Yay!
Okay, it could be trouble. But stick with me, it could also be fun.
The irony of being a writer/teacher/sometimes competition reader is the reason I became a writer in the first place was love of reading. But now, I have so much “assigned reading,” it’s hard to make time to read just for love of reading.
But I still do it.
I’ve called reading-I-have-to-do-because-it’s-the-job “assigned reading” ever since college. Then, too, there was such a heavy reading load, it was hard to steal time for just me to just read for just fun instead of for an assignment or grade or test or class. I made the time, though, then. [Like a crack addict, I’d be huddled under a desk sneaking Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.] And I still make the time now.
Somehow, somewhere, in the middle of everything, I give the assigned reading pile the finger and steal time for just me to read just for fun.
It keeps me sane. [Yes, I said “sane,” no cracks.]
TODDLERS ON CRACK TEXT
I’ve been reading since before I actually could read. I come from readers. And writers. And two grandparents were English teachers. All of the adults around me read. A LOT. And my mother read to me each night before bed when I was a little kid. As in really little, a toddler.
My mother didn’t have a lot of patience for “The Little Train That Could” so at night, at bedtime, when she pulled out books to read, they’d be The Hobbit. The Chronicles of Narnia. Mary Poppins. Peter Pan. Pinocchio. The Jungle Book.
Not the Disney versions. The original hard bound books. And we had them all. Not because there was a lot of cash in the house for big book collections. But we found them all at second hand shops. It was a hunt when we hit those shops, and a treasure find when we’d find entire collections of hard bound books and take them home.
[I was probably the only five year old on the block who knew the books and had never seen the movies.]
[I’m also still madly in love with Reepicheep.]
LOVE AND LETTERS
I learned to read following the letters on the pages of those books as my mother read them out loud to me at night before sleep. She ran her index finger below the sentences while she was reading. And I listened, watching that index finger pointing out the words and sentences each night until I dropped into asleep.
[This would later seriously piss off first grade teachers who didn’t approve of a’s with little flags on them.]
There are so many books that left impressions on me. My first experiences with a second language would be trying to read Tintin in French. I can’t get on an elevator without remembering Babar’s spats. I fell in love in a bookstore with The Violet Fairy Book and was so stuck on it, the parents bought it for me new instead of second hand.
But when I remember all those books, the one that stands out still is From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler [E.L. Konigsburg].
From the Mixed Up Files is a story about a young girl who runs away and takes her little brother with [he has a cool radio and some saved up allowance so it’s worth the added responsibility] and they live secretly in a museum. If you want to make big points with a seven year old, put it on the Christmas list. That book was a gift from my second father’s mother. Grandmother was always suspicious of me because I was not her son’s biological daughter, but she still had the kindness of heart to hand me that book as a gift and I’ll always be thankful to her for that.
[She also is one of the English teacher grandmothers and when I have to speak “proper,” boy howdy can I. I just like to cheat. Sorry, Grandmother, maybe you were right to be suspicious.]
Later I would discover science fiction and scream through the genre with an intensity that scared hell out of the local librarian. Discover Conan and Red Sonja comics. [My second father’s wife Bunny had the entire series in trunks.] And when I hit puberty fall in love with romance novels. Which a friend’s mother ordered by the crate so I would carry home paper grocery bags of books and rip through five a day. This appalled my mother who, if you caught her reading list above, had a serious thing for UK writers and also considered romance novels “trash.”
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN: THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ROMANCE NOVELS
My mother told me those romance novels would rot my brain.
I told her romance novelists made a boatload of cash and I was studying them to write them and make boatloads of cash.
This was a seat of the pants lie, [I was a manipulative child and fast on my feet] but it sounded good at the time and was enough to make her hopeful, even if I was “rotting my brain,” it might pay off in the end. I got to read romance novels without objection after that. And hey, I did become a writer in the end.
I still love romance. I’ve read most, probably all, of Patricia’s early novels. And for fun you might check out Bonnie K. Winn and Karen Rigley too. I still love science fiction. C.J. Cherryh is my favorite science fiction author. Merchanter’s Luck still rips my heart out every time I read it and I’ve read it five times — and the Cyteen series is the smartest best science fiction series ever written if you ask me. Also if you haven’t read Ursula K. LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness, well, you don’t know science fiction. I still love the UK classics I absorbed before I hit kindergarten. I love contemporary fiction, read Bobby Faye’s Very (very, very, very) Bad Day if you haven’t. It’s freaking hilarious and wonderful and written by Toni McGee Causey – who swears her problematic heroine is in part based on me but I can tell you on a stack of bibles I never once triggered a bank robbery just by walking into a bank. [Leaving, okay, but no just by walking in. Sheez.]
Also, I fell in love all over again and totally cheated on Reepicheep when I met Jamie in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldan. Don’t tell Reepicheep.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN MAY HAVE SAID THIS
Someone once said — it might be George R.R. Martin but I do not remember it could have been Samuel Clemens too internet quotes are highly problematic also I have to paraphrase here because I do not remember the quote exactly but someone once said –
A person who does not read lives one life. A person who reads lives many.
I have lived a million lives.
I wish to you a million lives.
Bio: Max Adams is an author and award winning screenwriter. She has written professionally for Columbia Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures. She has lectured and taught at University of Southern California, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Film Arts Foundation, New York Film Academy, Gotham Writers, University of Utah, and the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. She is a former Writers Guild of America online screenwriting mentor, is the founder of two international online screenwriting workshops, The Left Door and 5150, is the author of The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide; Or, Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War, is a University of Utah associate professor and is the founder of the The Academy of Film Writing. Her produced feature film projects include Excess Baggage, The Ladykillers, and One For the Money.