On Becoming a Fangirl! by Heather LH.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

Next week, on November 3rd, we’ll be sharing an interview with Ann Aguirre. Today, we welcome Heather LH of “Book Obsessed”. All commenters to Heather’s guest post will be eligible for a copy of Ann Aguirre’s Doubleblind. But hurry, this contest is only good today!

Heather: I read a Meme the other day that was entitled something like ‘My Life Thru the Books I Have Read” and it got me thinking about how people come to be readers of a particular genre or sub-genres.

My own strange journey to becoming a fantasy reader began with my mother. She devoured dragon & sword fantasy; so I decided I wouldn’t read any fantasy – my little rebellion. She’d recommend books that she loved or had read as a kid, and I’d make a mental note never to read that book. Two of her favorite authors were Roger Zelazny and Piers Anthony. I hope you don’t stone me for this confession, but I still haven’t read  either of them.

So what did I read? Mysteries, for one, with cheesy titles like The Candy Striper Caper. But my favorite was Sherlock Holmes. I read The Baby-Sitters Club books 1-9. (Don’t tell anyone, because I will deny it). And don’t judge me too harshly about the Baby-Sitters Club books. I was a baby-sitter from a very young age; so I could relate. Eventually, though, and strangely, fantasy began seeping unnoticed into my non-fantasy books.

Three books in particular hold places of honor on my bookshelf: Good-Bye Pink Pig by C.S. Adler, Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy and The Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan. Good-Bye Pink Pig is about a very shy little girl and the Rose Quartz pig who becomes her best friend and magically transports her to “Little Town” where all the animals talk and there is a castle high on a mist-shrouded hill. The evil witch lives in the castle and has the ability to change anything or get rid of anybody in Little Town. And it is up to the little girl to save Little Town from the witch.

Behind the Attic Wall is the story of an orphaned young girl who has moved in with her two scary aunts and eccentric uncle. In the attic, she discovers a world of walking, talking china dolls that in the end turn out to be ghosts. Essentially, yes, it is a ghost story but it is also very much fantasy.

The Gift of Magic is about a young girl (are we seeing a theme here?) who can read other people’s minds and make them do what she wants to do. She inherited the gift of magic after her grandmother’s death. Like I said, I didn’t see any Fantasy in these books when I first read them. I thought fantasy was limited to dragons and swords, royal courts and knights. I know now that I was wrong.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIt wasn’t until I was in high school that I finally read my very first fantasy novel! I have my communications teacher to thank for it. He was horrified to learn that I’d never read Tolkien‘s The Hobbit. By this time, I was already an avid reader. You never saw me without a book, but I’d made it to the age of 14, reading 3 books a week for seven years and never read The Hobbit. He just couldn’t let that go on any longer, so he assigned me the book as homework. He was so positive that I’d love it, he didn’t even put a must-finish-reading-by-date on the assignment. He, of course. was right. I finished reading it within the week. Hooked, I graduated to  Marion Zimmer Bradley (I love Mists of Avalon!), Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Dune by Frank Herbert and many, many others.

These books are the ones that led me to what I read now. These days (like S.B. Frank) I mostly read urban fantasy, but occasionally I will still read classic fantasy novels. I will always be grateful to my high school Communications teacher for forcing me to give fantasy a chance.

Discussion Question: So what has your journey been like? What books introduced you to the wondrous worlds of fantasy? And what genre or subgenre do you read most now? Note: Periodically throughout the day, we have experienced problems accepting comments. If you would like to post comments for Heather and/or enter the contest but are shut out, please e-mail your comments to sbfrank(at)live.com and I’ll post your thoughts.  Thx for your patience.

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  1. While I was raised from an early age on Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, not to mention Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, it was in middle school that I discovered a broader range of fantasy. Robert Asprin showed me fantasy could be funny, and while I can’t remember a single thing that Elric did, or tell you any of the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, I read every swords-and-sorcery escapade of theirs, unfathomable plots and all.
    But the real revelation for me came through a young adult novel (with a name I can’t remember) that dropped elves, trolls, and all the rest into a modern setting. I didn’t know you could do that! Fantasy in the place where I lived? Then I found Neil Gaiman’s The Books of Magic, which did the same in a beautifully illustrated graphic novel, and I found the type of fantasy I still love best. The feeling that I could walk around the corner and find myself part of these stories is more powerful to me than even the most compellingly crafted worlds.

  2. My journey to Fantasy reading began with teaching myself to read at 4 or so with Green Eggs and Ham and such. In grammar school I inhaled the school libraries (of four different schools) reading all the juveniles of Robert Heinlein, and especially loved C.S. Lewis (for years I thought of the Narnia books as “mine”, since no one else I knew read anything like that, it wasn’t until high school that I was surprised to find someone else who loved them.) Read SF and Fantasy all through high school, but didn’t read The Lord of the Rings until 11th grade because the small overseas military base library where my father was stationed only had book 2 for some reason. Finally found it after we returned and devoured all three books in a long weekend. Around that time I read Islandia on the recommendation of a relative. Continued with SF and Fantasy until the 90s when I got online and discovered Steven Brust, Pamela Dean and a host of other Fantasy writers, and from there to Urban Fantasy which I love so much so that I rarely read hard SF any more.

  3. Like a lot of people I read The Chronicles of Narnia and the Hobbit when I was fairly young, and by the age of 8-9 I was already an avid reader of pretty much anything. In the next couple of years I had read my way through most of the children’s section in our small local library and had convinced Mrs MacDonald our librarian that although I was only 12 and as such was only allowed to withdraw the allotted 4 books, to change my ticket type to adult so I could take out 8 at a time and and withdraw books from the adult section and so began my journey into sci-fi, fantasy and horror. My favourite authors at that point were Terry Brooks, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Piers Anthony and Douglas Adams. However it wasn’t until I went to University and found a Charles de Lint book in a second hand bookshop that I would have lived in if they had let me that I found my favourite author and my favourite fantasy genre, urban fantasy.

  4. I suppose it started with my Mum reading me Lord of the Rings (from my Dad’s book shelf) and The Chronicles of Narnia as bedtime stories. The first fantasy I can remember reading myself was everything by Enid Blyton and after that, in primary school, Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda. I read the second book first because the first was out of the library (I actually like doing this now; I started James Barclay’s Chronicles of the Raven at book 5, albeit unknowingly. I sometimes find beginnings tedious. I like to dive in and figure out what’s going on from the more subtle explanation that the writer will use later in a series. I cannot watch superhero movies for the same reason, everyone already knows the beginnings and they’re so formulaic). This series had a significant impact on me. From then on I was a fantasy reader and my dream was to be a writer of same. Deltora Quest was well written, incredibly rich with unforgettable characters. But then, I cannot help but view it so, it is lodged deep within my psyche. Through high school I read a great deal more fantasy and some SF, though the former will always be my preference (Although Ursula Le Guin’s SF makes my heart sing in unison. But still…). My favorite authors turned out to be Stephen R Donaldson (again from my Dad’s shelf), Terry Pratchett (thanks to the disturbing animated tele-movies lodging in the back fo my mind at a young age). Pratchett books are true page-turners for me and infinitely re-readable whereas with Donaldson I found myself only being able to digest bits at at time and leaving the books for long periods, but never becoming frustrated (whilst reading the last couple of books of the series I was deliberately doing this to delay the inevitable end [Then miraculously the Final Chronicles pop up, 20 years after the end of the Second Chronicles and the same year I finish them]). My favorite genre? I suppose high fantasy (though paradoxically I still haven’t read Lord of the Rings for myself). I don’t particularly like humorous anything, just Pratchett. I’ll read heroic fantasy, though. Contrary to the rest the comments listed here, I don’t particularly enjoy urban fantasy, probably not excapist enough. Sometimes I am disturbed by the irrational extent of my escapism, but then I shake it off and turn to page 500 of book 6 of 12.

  5. Hi :)
    Thanks for the fun post on fantasy reading.
    Mine began with Peter Pan & Alice in Wonderland when I was 4.
    It continued with The Hobbit & Susan Cooper’s Dark series.
    I love fantasy – be it Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Dark Fantasy, or regular Fantasy.
    Thanks for sharing,
    All the best,

  6. I came about my love of books pretty much on my own in Middle school. I started with fantasy/contemporary young adult thanks to my school’s library. It wasn’t until college when I full-stop started really reading, I didn’t do much of it High School. I love fantasy, always have, the ability to temporary live in another world is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. With that said, I have never read straight-fantasy, I read urban fantasy, mostly. The fact that most of these books are set in contemporaries cities but there’s magic, etc is amazing to me because for a little while, while I’m reading that book, it’s possible. :)

    And oh! My dad? Loves book, but he never pushed me to read anything.

  7. I was brought over to the world of fantasy with a huge thank you to Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. I have a feeling that they brought quite a few over with their fantastic books.

    I read different subgenres, right now, I am really into the Urban Fantasy, like Ann Aguirre, Patricia Briggs, Rob Thurman, and the good old fashioned, fantasy, George RR Martin, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Marion Zimmer Bradley. I need me some good old fashioned magic, swords and wizards from time to time, a little break from vampires and weres.

  8. Anonymous /

    I have never been into too much of the traditional fantasy genre books… they were always a bit too technical for me… I am more into the urban fantasy… Briggs, McCray, Leigh, etc… more of a paranormal person but love the new series coming out from Joss Ware and Jeri Smith Readys Crow series was great too…. I basically started reading the Anne Rice books in the paranormal and segued into the urban fantasy from there

  9. Anonymous /

    Sorry wouldnt let me sign in for some reason… above comment by hockeyvampiress

  10. Anonymous /

    I have read Fantasy authors like Julliet Marillier and the likes when growing up and in my twenties the contemporary genre ruled more untill I started reading books in English language, that is when Fantasy/Urban Fantasy and Romance Fantasy returned to my shelves again. Now the paranormal/UF and Fantasy genre are my most read subgenres, romance remains a large focus for me but in said genres this does not have to occur in one book. If there is one author who became a huge incentive to read more fantasy than it is Anne Bishop, two authors who also have my preference with a somewhat more romance element in their Fantasy are C.L. Wilson and Elizabeth Vaughan.

  11. Anonymous /

    above comment is made by Leontine leontinesbookrealm (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. Andrew: I could live just on Neil Gaiman Novels! I love Urban Fantasy because of the idea that there is an entire other world right here under our noses that we don’t see because we have been trained not too.

    Nancy: I haven’t read much SF honestly. I have always loved SF TV and movies (Oh how I miss BSG & FireFly) but I couldn’t get into the books until recently. I did love Dr.Seuss though & those were the first books I ever read & collected. I had to have them all! My favorite was ‘A Wocket in My Pocket’- I had it memorized & drove everyone insane quoting it. LOL

    Angelshimmery: So I wasn’t the only one to convince a librarian that I needed the adult library card? I could never bring myself to put back any of the stack i had so finally my librarian gave up & gave me to adult card but at my local library we could take out 12 books with the adult card! WOOT!

  13. Anonymous /

    I started out with the “typical” fantasy authors too and continued to read through adulthood with Robert Jordan, George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey. All of them have touched my writing to some degree. I love Jordan’s sweeping cast and his ability to make me care about his characters so much that I stayed up over 24 hours to read book six straight through. I used to re-read every book in the series at least once a year, but I’ve been unable to keep up lately. Martin taught me how to kill characters even when I loved them. Carey taught me I can have my fantasy and my smokin’ hot scenes too!


  14. That was a great guest blog! I started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time. No one in my house read it, so I stumbled upon it in the library. I had to read the entire series! I don’t read much pure fantasy or sci fi-mainly just romance fantasy stuff.

  15. I think we fixed the commenting issue. Please let us know if that’s not the case.

  16. My own journey to fantasy started with the Oz series (Jack Pumpkinhead, etc) and then I discovered the joys of serial punning with Piers Anthony’s Xanth and went through an epic (and then a Sci/Fi) phase before discovering Urban Fantasy with the early Laurell K. Hamilton books. Thanks for the wonderful discussion everyone. It’s great to really get to know something about you guys.

  17. “I hope you don’t stone me for this confession, but I still haven’t read either of them.”

    We’ll use small rocks…so no worries it’ll only hurt a little,

    I struggled with learning to read due to Dyslexia (or so they diagnosed back then). I finally got the hang of it thanks to a dedicated teacher. Once I got started I couldn’t stop. I was reading mostly non-fiction science stuff for kids. I read a few Yound Indiana Jones Books and Choose your own adventures. I eventually stumbled onto The Hobbit when I was about 9yrs old. It was a bit over my reading level, but I had a abnormal vocabulary due to reading so much prior to that so I understood it quite well. It wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 that fantasy really became my bread and butter. I was given several boxes of SFF books, and one of them contained the first 15 or so Xanth (Piers Anthony). I read them all one right after the other. Then moved on to Gordon Dickson, and a lot of scifi then too. Once I got a drivers license I stopped reading much for several years. I still read enough to fulfill my ScienceFiction BookClub requirements, but beer had won the role of primary entertainment source at that point. I now read a lot of Urban Fantasy, and have found it quite and enjoyable mix of the fantasy I grew up loving and the modern feel of current fiction.

  18. *waves* hi Heather & SB Frank
    Well when i was little i actually read the babysitters club also. i got into Stephen King, Dean Kootz. After awhile i just lost interest in reading,King and Koontz just wasn’t doing much for me anymore.Then last year i had a few friends poke and prod me until i read the Twilight series. I have to say i love her writing. It was a great series for YA and adult if you ask me. But after reading the series i decided i would like a little more romance (adult) in a book. so i went on a search and happened upon the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and have not been able to stop reading since. So i would say now my fav genre is paranormal romance.!! But i am always open to try different genres if someone convinces me its a grab my attention book.

  19. Let’s see…I read scattered fantasy novels here and there for years before I really got hooked on the genre. I loved fairy tales as a kid, and that’s never really stopped! I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time, and I probably read it too young, because it confused me. I’ve always meant to reread it.

    As a preteen and teen, I read mostly “realistic” fiction, and like you, Heather, I read the Baby-Sitters Club and that sort of thing. Sweet Valley High, lol. As I got into my teens I started reading a lot of romance when I could sneak it past my parents, and stuff like V.C. Andrews that looked more tame than the romance but was actually way more twisted! But I also read a little bit of Jane Yolen, and there was an anthology called, I think, Enchanted Lands, that I started reading because of the beautiful cover art and ended up really liking.

    In college, I got into Anne Rice, and later read Elizabeth Hand because her covers made me think her stuff would be like Anne Rice, and I ended up loving her Waking the Moon. That got me obsessed with the idea of magic at a college, and that’s a large part of what got me reading Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, and once I started going through Terri Windling’s list of recommended books, I was a goner. I started reading stuff like Juliet Marillier, because of the fairy tale themes, and that got me reading Jacqueline Carey, who doesn’t do fairy tales but who kept getting recommended to me because I was a fan of Marillier, and the rest was history. ;)

    Around the same time, I read some Robert Jordan because my BF was into it, and also Mists of Avalon, which I liked better.

    I have a friend who got me into the “new wave” of urban fantasy (she’s a big LKH fan), and I also have a couple of friends who teamed up to get me hooked on GRRM.

  20. Hi all, I, too started reading when I was 4, 44 years ago, and began with fantasy and myth, legends and folklore, lots of fairy tales and stories from the brothers Grimm and Perrault. I moved on to CS Lewis and Tolkien by the time I was 7, and I remember reading a Wrinkle in Time when I was 8, and A Wizard of Earthsea (and all the books in that series) by Ursula LeGuin , plus Riddlemaster of Hed and Zenna Hendersons’ “The People” books at age 9. I also discovered Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury. Theodore Sturgeon and Zelazany between the ages of 8-10, and I read a ton of Science Fiction and Fantasy during those years….I became closer to the local librarians than my siblings, I was at the library so often! I loved Lloyd Alexanders fantasy series and enjoyed Marta Randall’s Journey and Dangerous Games books. I read a lot of Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I distinctly remember, as a 12 year old, finding “The Forgotten Beasts of Eld” and falling madly in love with Patricia McKillip’s glorious prose! I loved Mary Stewart’s Merlin series, and TH White’s the Once and Future King, and Robin McKinley’s re-told fairy tales, The Hero and the Crown, Spindles End, Beauty and similar books were also a joy for me to discover. Mercedes Lackey’s Elementals, Jane Yolen’s Merlin’s Booke and her retelling of the fairy tale of Rose Red were also read and enjoyed. The Crystal Child by Barbara Wersba and Beloved Benjamin is waiting were another two books I read when I was about 8 that I fell in love with. I would be into ghosts or spirits for awhile, then I’d move on to stories of space faring heroes, like “Glory Road” and then I’d read something that was more of a fairy tale or legend, like Charles De Lint’s novels, and then I’d move on to paranormal stuff, like Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde series or Anne Rices Interview With A Vampire (still her best work, IMHO). I was reading close to 300 books a year when I was a teenager and in my 20s and 30s, but since having a child and a family, I’ve slowed down considerably, to where I am lucky to get 70 books in a year read.

  21. Hey Heather.
    I didn’t start directly with fantasy. My dad always was an avid reader and he loves science fiction. I adore my father so the first books I read(and I exclude Hanny & Nanny here LOL) was science fiction. I read Lem, Asimov, H.G. Wells and later Lukianenko. My sister introduced me to fantasy with Lord of the Rings and many others. At this point I was lost in the world of books and kind of found my own favorites. I mostly read pnr, uf, romance in general and of course bf’s books(mostly more scifi and lots of Terry Pratchett).

    Loved your post!

  22. I think my father introduced me to a love of fantasy through the tv shows and movies that I watched and loved with him as a child. I recall the books that got me started off the beaten track were Scott Ciencin’s vampire books and R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike. From there I just picked up anything that looked interesting and believe me once I figured out that I could check out 35 books at a time from my library as a kid,I took my brothers along just to help me carry everything. Fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres and after I met my husband he introduced me to Piers Anthony.

  23. And don’t enter me in the contest. II already read this one and someone else should get the chance to read this wonderful book.

  24. I forgot to say that the books that encouraged me towards fantasy weren’t fantasy per se but opened my eyes up to the wonder of it.

  25. I read a lot of genres, although not as much fantasy. This blog post caught my attention because of your description of your earlier reading choices being out of rebellion to your mothers. I can relate to that. My mother has always been an avid reader. Bookshelves lined every wall of our home. Her favorites were mysteries. Out of the same rebellion I chose every other book on those shelves, but mysteries. This is where I first found Sidney Sheldon and Ernest Hemingway (I know, completely opposite styles). I always thought if I wrote a book it would be a romantic comedy or a gritty literature. Turns out the first book to come out my head was a mystery. Go figure, the books we fight the hardest to avoid end up having the biggest impact on our reading choices now. Great post Heather :)

  26. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read fantasy and SciFi. From Old Mother West Wind and Freddy the Pig to No Flying in the House to Narnia to Wrinkle in Time. I started reading when I was 3, and my parents always read novels to us as bedtime stories Alice in Wonderland, The Time Machine, The Hobbit etc.. My parents subscribed to Analog magazines, and that’s where I first found Schmitz’s Telzey Amberdon – had to search through a lot of issues to find all the stories. Zenna Henderson’s People was another favorite. Andre Norton, Anne McCaffery, I still go back and re-read the Dune books every so often. Haven’t read any of the ones by his son though. I go through phases, and am finding myself reading more urban fantasy at the moment. Partly because that is the majority of what is being published at the moment. Not much into epic fantasy. Won’t read Goodkind or Jordan. I do take breaks and read a lot of mysteries as well as some regular fiction and YA stuff for my ftf bookclub. I guess I would have to say that most of my reading is Space Opera and Urban Fantasy at the moment. Liaden and the Mageworlds to de Lint and Briggs. So many books, not nearly enough reading time.

  27. I grew up disliking fairy tales, I think because I was told I had to read them before I’d be allowed to read “grown-up” books. When I first met Narnia I hated it, likewise Alice, and the Hobbit. I think I just lumped them with the Snow Queen and decided not for me. In college a wise young man loaned me Frank Herbert’s Dune just before a vacation, thus ensuing I would have to speak to him again to return it later. We later married. And I was hooked. I moved from there to Lord of the Rings, to Narnia (which I now loved) to Alice and all things related, to Swords and Sorcery and on. These days, with unpredictable demands from family on my time, I prefer shorter books, just ’cause it’s easier to put them down and pick them up again at short notice without breaking the spine. But I’m hooked.

  28. My journey into reading fantasy, and all books really, was a lonely one. From a young age I had a speech impediment. No one could understand what I was saying, not even my family. I was teased a lot at school. I had no friends. So, to not look like a total loner at recess and lunch, I would read books. I acted like I didn’t care that people hurt my feelings and didn’t want to hang out with me. I had books. Books were my friends, and there were hundreds in our local library. I read all genres as a younger girl. My favorite fantasy saga was and will always be The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. The final book, The High King, made me cry. It was wonderful watching such an amazing journey of young people who were my age. It was courageous stories like that which inspired me to keep trying to improve my speaking skills through speech therapy. Finally, when I was 14, I graduated my speech therapy classes. I could talk like everyone else. By then, though, I was in love with reading. I have been unable to stop. I still love some of my early favorites, like Alexander and E’ngles, but as I got older, I expanded to Tolkien, The Once and Future King, and Piers Anthony. Now, I find myself reading fantasy books that cross many genres, like Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series. As an adult, I read all types of books but fantasy novels are always preferred.

  29. I had planned to respond at least in short to each and every comment but there are so many (I am truly flattered!) that I don’t think I can so I will hit some highlights and if you are one of the people I didn’t respond to please know I have read each & every comment and have added some books to my TBR List from your faves!

    First, Hi Stephen! Thanks for commenting!!!

    My heart belongs to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles! I even have a first edition hardback of Interview with the Vampire (missing cover though). I think the best of that series though is Memnoch the Devil. I also have much love for her books Taltos & Lasher – excellent books!
    Several people have mentioned The Once and Future King & I have to say I do love that book! Well generally I love all things Arthurian related but that is one that stands out!
    Charles de Lint is an author that somehow I have never read but so many of you have mentioned him I am going to find some of his books to add to my TBR List. If anyone wants to leave a comment with which are part of series (if any) and which are stand alone – please do.
    Candacis: Glad to hear I was not the only one who read the Baby-Sitters Club books! Thank you!
    Joely, JoJo, Buckeyegirl, Susi, Wendy, Leontine & DkCallender thanks for following me over here!!!
    Here are some of my favorite UF/PNR/Dark UF authors:
    Neil Gaiman
    Jim Butcher
    Ann Aguirre (Loving the Jax Series which is really considered SF)
    Charlaine Harris
    Rachel Caine
    Seanan McGuire (Debut author of Rosemary & Rue)
    Lilith Saintcrow (It doesn’t get better than the Jill Kismet Series)
    Dakota Cassidy
    Jaye Wells
    Diana Rowland
    Elieen Wilkes
    Just to name a few…

    These are the things that pop out at me right now – I may come back later with more responses.

    Thank you everybody for telling me your stories & talking about your favorite books! It has been an awesome experience!

  30. I never was much of reader growing up except when I had to for school or a special event that library here put on that mostly used Garfield as a gimmick. You had to read a book to earn a pawprint. It wasn’t until the first Harry Potter books came out that I actually started getting into reading for fun. Then I added books of the Inheritance Trilogy that follows the story of young Dragon Rider Eragon in his quest to overthrow the evil King and fellow dragon rider Galbatorix to free all the races of Alagaesia from his dark tyranny. I moved on to read other fantasy novels such as the Meredith Gentry Series and the Chronicles of Narnia. Any books I read henceforth I become rather engrossed in possibly a weird way, happy at good parts, horrified at bad ones, and sad at tragic ones. Afterward, I started getting I into vampire books starting with the vampire Chronicles and moving into the Morganville Vampires and the twilight saga. Soon, I hope to read some of the books Stephenie Meyer makes mention of: Jane Austen’s works and Wuthering Heights.

  31. The Chronicles of Narnia is a good series. I remember reading those as a child too!

  32. I’ve always been attracted to the paranormal and fantasy. My foray into fantasy probably began with my father, he loved sci-fi and since he was stuck with 3 girls…we all got into fantasy. Movie were probably my first step like Aliens, Willow, Labyrinth etc. Now I can’t seem to get enough of PNR, UF, and Futuristic romance. I love Ann Aguirre’s Sci-fi series.

    Great Post Heather!!

  33. I didn’t read that much growing up so my 1st experience with fantasy was probably The Neverending Story & Princess Bride movies. I recently read Must Love Hellhounds and I am now venturing more & more into the world of fantasy. Another recent addition to my library, I am glad to say, is the boxset of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time :)

  34. Hi Heather!

    I don’t read a ton of fantasy. Right now I read C.L Wilson and Ann Aguirre. When I was younger I read a lot of King Arthur legends..The Mists of Avalon being a favorite of mine – one that I have reread countless times. Right now I am really enjoying books more down the dark UF line…but I like to try all sorts of things.

    Really great post!!

  35. Smokinhotbooks: I loved Willow & Labyrinth – in fact just this past weekend I was telling Hubby that we need to watch both of them because I haven’t seen them in years!

    Mel: Another great one that I will never forget The Neverending Story – I got to go see it in the theater & take a friend for my 10th birthday (dating myself here). And seriously is there anybody who doesn’t love The Princess Bride? “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Best line ever – to this very day!!! I am glad to hear that you are venturing into more into the Fantasy Realms. There is so much to see, hear, touch, taste and smell in all those universes!

  36. Wow, thanks for bringing back memories. I loved Good-bye Pink Pig. Lets see I started with my mother patiently reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings out loud. That started me reading in general. Then I was in I think 3rd grade she gave me The Chronicles of Narnia for my birthday and that was it. From there I went to Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Susan Cooper, Mercedes Lackey, Piers Anthony…way too many others to name. Now I don’t think I have one particular sub-genre I read more then any others. I know that publishing seems to move in cycles but I have all my old favorites still :D

    Please don’t enter me in the contest because I have already purchased and enjoyed Doubleblind

  37. Erika, Thank you for being the only other person all day who has even heard of Good-Bye Pink Pig!

  38. My dad was a big sci-fi reader and I used to steal his books the moment he put them down (unfinished cuz he was, you know, working and had kids) and then not give them back until I was done (luckily for him I was a fast reader and I wasn’t, you know, working or having kids). I’m not sure if that’s where I picked up the bug or not. By second grade I was reading all the Danny Dunn’s (sci-fi that turned out to be fantasy eventually) and all the biographies of American Presidents (history that turned out to be fantasy eventually). After that sci-fi and fantasy became my twin literary loves. If you looked at any Andre Norton library check-out card (I’ll explain what that is later kids) you would have seen my name on their multiple times. Often I remember it would be my name three or four times in a row before somebody else’s showed up. Norton, Heinlein, Asimov warred for time with the Borrowers, Narnia, and of course Tolkien.
    There is nothing like those early rushes and responses to books as a kid. I can close my eyes even now and call up the dark wood and enclosed space of our town library, the smell, the steps that led downward to the children’s area, looking for those books with the atom symbol on them (how the library marked sci-fi), the piling of books that ran vertically from my linked palms up to my nose. Periodically I pick up one of those books I loved and I have a pretty good collection of them now (I shudder to admit how much I paid for “Peril on Mars”, a book I must have checked out at least a dozen times during my three years in elementary school). I envy my 8-yr-old what’s coming.

  39. For de Lint, if you want a stand alone, read Jack of Kinrowan or The Mystery of Grace. For an introduction to Newford, which is the setting for most of his work, read either Dreams Underfoot, which is a short story anthology, or Someplace to be Flying, which is a novel.

    As for the books that got me reading fantasy, Henderson’s The People, James Schmitz’s The Witches of Karres and Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows of the Queen series, along with the above mentioned Jack of Kinrowan. The deLint book got me started with Datlow and Windling’s excellent retold fairy tale series, which turned me on to Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin which I still go back and reread every few years.

  40. The winner of the Doubleblind giveaway is Mandy, the only person besides Heather, apparently, who has ever read Goodbye Pink Pig. Doubtless, that’s not true but I tried finding the jacket art on Amazon and it wasn’t there. Hm… are we sure there even is a magical pink pig? Mandy to claim your prize, please e-mail me your mailing address at sbfrank(at)live.com. And Congratulations!

  41. I have so many comments to add in response to some more of the comments posted yesterday! I am blown away & honored by the response my guest post got yesterday!

    Right now I am in a rush because I have to head out for a bit but, first I must respond to Stephen aka SB Frank.

    It was Erika who was the only person besides me who had ever read Good-Bye Pink Pig by C.S. Adler (not Mandi) & I am sure you are right that its not true – somebody else must have read it! Also I am including a link to LibraryThing.com’s page that proves my magical pink pig is real – 1) to prove Erika & I are not completely insane & 2) In case anyone wants to read it or had a young daughter they’d like to give it to. It is a great book especially for shy little girls/shy middle schoolers since it takes place in middle school.
    Hope it is okay for me to post a link here if not I ask forgiveness in advance. :)

    Be back later to respond some more and then I’ll leave you all to the other great posts on this wondrous blog! Wouldn’t want you all to get tired of hearing from me. ;)

  42. Heather,
    Thanks for entertaining us so well!!

  43. Hi Kat!
    Thanks for having me over! It really has been a wonderful experience and you guys have a wonderfully welcoming community of followers!!!

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