My History with Books

I read (and own) a lot of books.

Recently, I held a little contest on my Instagram (@alexandrathetg) asking my followers if they could guess how many books I have in my personal library. The contest has since closed and the answer was 380. I say was because I have since bought a few more books…I am closer to 400 than my previous number.

It made me think about my history with books. Where did it start and how did it develop?

This is how I remember my childhood, book-version:

My mother read books to us like ‘The Stinky Cheese Man’ and ‘The True Story of the Three Little Pigs’. It’s no wonder we ended up a little odd. The first books I read on my own in elementary school were The Boxcar Children and a child-friendly biography of Cleopatra.

Then I move up to middle school, the preteen years:

In classes, the books we had to read that I liked included The OutsidersRoll of Thunder Hear My Cry, and The Last Book in the Universe. Of course, we read books I didn’t enjoy like The Old Man and the Sea but they don’t matter. Books I read on my own included The Outsiders (at least 8 times in those three years), as many books as I could about Ancient Egypt and Egyptology, ‘Short and Shivery’ (specifically ‘Even More Short and Shivery’), the Charlie Bone series (better than Harry Potter, fight me), Edgar Allan Poe (duh), and this is when I discovered Agatha Christie (reading her entire play collection). Something else I kept up with is my children’s book genre, reading ‘The Talking Eggs’, ‘Mustafa’s Beautiful Daughters’, and ‘The Children’s Book of Virtues’.

Then I move up again to high school, the teenage years:

In classes, the books we had to read that I liked included a shit-ton of Shakespeare, Tears of a TigerFrankenstein, and ‘The Canterbury Tales’. Obviously, there were class books I didn’t enjoy, like Lord of the Flies and Jane Eyre, but they still don’t matter. Books I read on my own included The Outsiders (maybe only once a year this time), Agatha Christie’s actual novels, plays like ‘Doctor Faustus’, Peter PanAround the World in 80 Days, more Poe, and this is when I was introduced to my favorite literary character Robert Langdon via the book The Lost Symbol (totally read those out of order).

Then I move up once more to college, the young adult years:

In classes, the books we had to read (aka too many to fully remember) that I like included an even bigger shit-ton of Shakespeare, more plays than I can recall, A Monster CallsThe Family RomamovHowl’s Moving Castle, ‘Beowulf’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’, and almost all of my theatre textbooks. So many class books I didn’t enjoy but I don’t want that negativity in my life, so I kinda forgot a lot of them. Books I read on my own included the rest of the Robert Langdon books, John Green, even more Christie and Poe, I Am Not a Serial Killer, The Last Unicorn, Maximum Ride, reread Charlie Bone, and I was introduced to manga (I now own the entire collection of Ouran Highschool Host Club).

Nowadays, I still read Christie, Poe, Brown, and Shakespeare. Stuff I’ve included since was Mitch Albom’s books, autobiographies, Stephen King, DraculaI Am Legend, and a bunch of young adult pieces like StargirlLife of PiThis is Where it Ends, and The Burn Journals.

So, basically I flowed from odd to random to classic to young adult to whatever. From dumb to smart? I don’t really know. As people grow (and as classes demand), tastes change. Sometimes. I did change from Egyptology to theatre. I did change from modern books to classic to both. But my genres just grew, used to stick to one genre then added another and another. I used to be against fantasy (still prefer realistic but anyway), however, it has a place in my library and I’m in the middle of The Return of the King.

The point of this is expand. Add genres rather than dismissing. I’m not saying don’t change. If you want, change. But you know, you can enjoy multiple genres, age groups, and authors. I still have my collection of children’s books right under my Agatha Christie collection.

Expand your mind!




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