What Influences Your Choices?
I grew up reading Enid Blyton, Anne of Green Gables and the Shoes books. My pre-teen choices were influenced greatly by books my mum bought me, we read in school or that were suggested by older cousins. Things changed when I went to middle school; I graduated to Nancy Drew and the Point books. Slowly I was being influenced by what my friends were reading. In Year 8, I can clearly remember a contraband copy of Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews being passed around a class of 28 girls. For a whole term we were all intrigued by Chris and Cathy’s incestuous relationship! So who or what is responsible for my foray into the world of romance and chick lit? That would be my friend Anna. Being a “bigger” girl, she could pass as a 16 year old from as early as 12, which gave her a definite advantage when it came to taking library books out. She lent me my first Mills & Boon, introduced me to historical romance (I think I was the only person to have read the entire Jean Plaidy collection in our school library) and in my mind is to blame for me getting caught by a sub reading a Barbara Cartland under my desk in Maths (my first and my last!). My swooning days however, came to an abrupt halt during my A Levels when I discovered the likes of John Grisham and William Bernhardt. It wasn’t until a friend gave me a copy of Gone With the Wind as a birthday present that I realised I missed dashing heroes and beautiful, feisty heroines. Cue the authors that have become the staples on my book shelves; Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews.
Until recently I’ve stuck to reading what I know, or books recommended by friends. 6 months ago that changed when I joined a book club. Suddenly I’m reading things I would never have looked twice at like Terry Pratchet and Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. Twitter has opened my eyes still further – I’m no longer just taking recommendations from close friends or The Times Bestseller list. Now I’m connecting with other like minded people around the world – tweeting about my purchases, reading blogs, learning the lingo and watching book trailers! In the last week alone I’ve discovered 2 keepers; Kim Izzo (you can see my review on her debut novel below) and Mandy Baggot (I’ve sad 3 of hers already!)
So what influences your choice in reading and has this changed over time? Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.