I started reading at a very early age, a time before video games, iPhones and the thousand other gadgets that keep a large number of kids busy today. I went to school, played outside with my friends, fell off my bycicle until I achieved my full skills at riding, roller skating was the same and my mother didn´t even blink at the bruises or the bloody knees or the never ending scratches that came from climbing trees and playing in the park. With maybe thirty minutes of television three times a week, what was left to do at night? Read. The Adventures of Tintin and Asterix and Obelix were my thing, I must have been six or seven years old, Ric Hochet and Michel Vaillant came a bit later as did Blake and Mortimer. Julius Verne and Enid Blyton along with the above comics played such an important role in my love of books and reading.
By the time I came into my teens Stephen King did his job and scared the crap out of me on more occasions than I care to remember, BTW thank you for my fear of clowns Mr King. Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell made their way into my collection, in my early twenties I fell in love with John le Carré´s books, The Little Drummer Girl is one of my favourite books to this day. In my early thirties Amin Malouf impressed me with Samarkand and Dan Brown took me down another path of fiction and George Orwell´s 1984 and Animal Farm were an eye opener to society. While authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexandre Dumas and Boris Pasternak shaped my life and I treasure their books and reread them every now and again you will find books by Daniel Silva, Robert Wilson, Martin Cruz Smith, Jean-Christophe Grangé, Erik Larsson and Frederick Forsythe amongst so many more brilliant authors fill my bookshelves and I care for them like the treasure they are.
But strangely enough I now find myself in a phase of fantasy and paranormal romance.
A few years ago, I must have been in my mid-thirties, my father-in-law gave a Harry Potter book and I suppose that was my first fantasy book. I had already read Bram Stoker´s Dracula, Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein and Rip van Winkle´s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but to me these are classics and in a completely different category of my favourite fantasy authors like Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs and J.L. Murray. The classics are in a category all on their own (sorry favourite current authors). My husband was the one who questioned my choice of reading genre with a hint of mock I might add, at the time I shrugged and for a while I felt a certain amount of embarassment for enjoying these books. On the other hand I´m assuming that he found it peculiar if you look at the many authors that I have been reading over the years.
So why do I read fantasy and paranormal romance?
Because I want to, because I enjoy it and because it gives me pleasure. There is no reason why I shouldn´t read them, I will make no excuses for enjoying a fantasy world, whether it´s George R.R. Martin killing off all his characters or Charlaine Harris writing some incredibly steamy sexy scenes, I don´t care.
Does reading Anne Rice´s Interview with a Vampire make me less intelligent than if I were reading Leo Tolstoy´s War and Peace? Hmm… no, but it certainly indicates that I have very little patience for reading an utterly BORING book (apologies to those who loved the aforementioned boring book).
Yes, I love fantasy and NO, I am not embarrassed about it. I can as easily have a discussion on current world issues, (but who wants to feel depressed?) as easily as I can discuss the most ridiculous concepts of fae worlds or mythological creatures that are making their way into the many books that I read today.
Read what you want, without embarrassment and without hiccups. Enjoy a book whether it´s Leo Tolstoy or Meljean Brooks, the important thing is that you read and that what you read makes you happy and for a few brief moments of your day the rest of the world is put on hold while you take a trip somewhere far away.