so as an introduction of myself – and because i love screaming about myself into the void – i thought one of my first post on here could be a bit of a biographical one. i want to talk about what my reading experience was like as a kid.
these days, whenever people bring up old childhood favourites and everyone gets all nostalgic together, i always feel a big left out because most of the time i didn’t read said book or author as a kid. often i barely even know what it is about. roald dahl and lemony snicket who? (side note: i had to look up the spellings of those names, that’s how disconnected i am from them lmao) this is mostly because of two reasons:
- i’m not american. i’m swedish. i live in sweden. i have always lived in sweden. the cultural difference is real. so while a lot of big children’s books probably were translated, they didn’t hold the same weight here.
- i just didn’t read. like, at all really. the last part of point one could be totally wrong for all i know, maybe i was just spurting bullshit. i could probably count the number of books i willingly read on my own before the age of 14 on two hands, so really i don’t know much about wether or not a lot of swedes my age grew up reading roald dahl or not. i don’t remember people talking about his books, but i never really payed a lot of attention either.
growing up, i really liked stories but i never liked reading on my own. when i was really small i loved barbapapa, a french series of picture books from the 70’s, and i had my parents read them to me all the time. this was before i learned how to read, though, so i think i’m excused from not doing it on my own. as i grew a bit older i got obsessed with listening to the cassettes of the 1955 norweigan book when the robbers came to cardamom town that my grandparents had. it got to the point where i didn’t just know all the songs, but i could recite pretty much the whole book and do all the voices. around the same time i also liked to listen to the audiobooks of the famous five. when i was around 11-12 i adored the secret garden, but again, i only listened to it. i didn’t get as into this on as cardamom town, but i did get to the point where instead of just listening to it from start to finish i would play a random cd and see where it brought me. you might be picking up on a pattern here, everything is from way before i was born – 1911, the 40’s to 60’s, and the 70’s. i blame this on the fact that i had no older siblings to tell me what current things were cool, and barely any friends to do so either.
now, there were two books published around the time i actually consumed them that i loved. the first is one i unfortunately can’t recall the name of, but it was about a girl who i think was called george (could be making that up, though). it was a horse book, i think she went to spend the summer with her sister or cousin or someone, and at one point she finds an old abandoned barn. i don’t remember what about this particular book made me pick it up, but i remember staying up way past my bedtime to finish it.
the second isn’t just one book, but it’s the wolf brother series by michelle paver. i like to call this series my harry potter. my brother got the first book as a birthday present from one of his classmates, and my mom used it as a read-aloud book with me and my siblings. we would gather after dinner and she’d read a few chapters to us in the kitchen. i was maybe 9 at the time, and i fell in love. we proceeded to to this with the next three books in the series, but by the time book five and six came around we were older and didn’t have time anymore. we did fix that a couple of years later when we had a long car journey, and we got the audiobooks instead. i have since listened to the whole series several times, in swedish and english, and i still love it dearly. torak and renn, the two main characters, became the first book couple i really rooted for and i still firmly believe that they’re meant for each other.
as you might have noticed, and as i said at the start of this post, i loved stories but i didn’t love reading on my own. the only one out of these books i read with my own two eyes was the one i can’t remember the name of. that’s not a bad thing, though! it’s not important how you consume the story, but that you do it. listening and doing it by ear is just as valuable.
despite this, the books were few and far in between. so what did spark my love for reading? when did i start reading more and more and more?
in the year 2008 i was a 12 year old in the 6th grade, and a vampire movie came to the cinemas. everyone went wild for it. i wasn’t allowed to go see it, you had to be 15, but i did read the book. and i read the second one. and the third one. and the fourth one. and i was hooked. so yes, the book that got me into reading was twilight.
i hope you enjoyed reading about this bit of my life! i think it’s really interesting how different it can be from person to person, so if you want to do the same kind of post please do, and let me know so i can read it! i might do a part two of this at some point, but we’ll see.
until next time!