Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reading phases

Anyone who has spent much of their life reading will have gone through at least a few "reading phases," periods where they focused on a particular genre or subject matter.

A few of mine:

A.) In the early 1980s, in junior high school, I went through a major fantasy phase. I lapped up the Thieves' World anthologies, Michael Moorcock, the original Dragonlance series of books, Terry Brooks' early stuff, Fafhrd and the Mouser, Anne McAffrey, and yes, I re-read The Hobbit and Rings. I read a lot of fantasy at that time, but since then I've realized I missed some great authors too. Don't worry, I'm always reading and looking to make up for that.

B.) In the late 80s I wanted to be a horror writer, so I read everything I could find by these folks: Stephen King, John Saul, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, and a handful of others. I started my first serious novel, a horror novel called "The Storm," about this time, and 20 years later I've yet to finish it (of course I haven't worked on it in 16 years, and I'm not necessarily planning to, though my notes and handwritten manuscript are in a box around here someplace).

C.) In the early 90s, I still wanted to be a horror novelist, so I brushed up on horror-related non-fiction. I scoured through tons and tons of material on serial killers, the occult, mysterious stories and odd history. I still get some strange looks from friends seeing these books on my shelves.

D.) In the mid-90s I went through a spiritual phase. No, I didn't go out searching for Jesus, but I have always had an interest in history and religion and it grew stronger about this time. I perused scores of books with subjects like "the history of Lucifer," "how God changes throughout the Old Testament," "the story of Pilate," etc. I also didn't stick with just Christianity, and I also studied some of the new age stuff (which I was slightly familiar with from my earlier occult readings). I first read the Koran during this time, and I read Robert A. Monroe's three books on out-of-body experiences. Some of my favorite reading at this point were the many books by Dr. Scott Peck, he of "The Road Less Traveled" fame.

E.) In the late 90s I went through a wild west/old west period. I've got tons of books on building log cabins, the history of newspapers in the old west, the history of saloons and prostitution in the old west, and several encyclopedic books about gunfights and gunfighters (Hollywood has almost ALL of it wrong, with a very few exceptions). I also learned a lot about historical firearms during this period, and I also read multiple books on the history of dueling (the old west gunfights were sort of considered duels, though dueling was dying out in the world at that time and most of those old west gunfights were usually more like ambushes and murders than they were true duels).

Okay, that's enough of my ramblings for now. G'night.

3 comments:

Howard von Darkmoor said...

But you left us in the late '90's! It's early double O's now, so whatcha reading these days, huh?

Ty said...

Well, about four years ago I went through a phase where I read a dozen or so books on screenwriting. Since then I haven't really been in a phase. My reading has been skipping around a lot the last year or so. If I'm in a phase, it's a "trying to finish the never-ending pile of books I own of which I have yet to read" phase.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

OK, thanks for time-traveling to my rescue and returning me to the present.

My Phases were Westerns, Fantasies, Espionage Thrillers, Adventure, Horror (very brief, very mild), Espionage Thrillers (the return), Fantasies (the return), WWII.
The last two are running concurrently at the present time, heavily favoring the Fantasies, however.

Of course, throughout each of these phases there have been inconsistencies and anomalies.

Either way, I've kept on reading for a long time and loved every second of it. Except those seconds that come right after finishing an awesome book. At that moment I'm like a helpless babe whose suckling lips have been pulled from the milky teat and keep pursing and sucking at empty air in vain effort to re-seize the busom of life!

AAhhhhhhhhhh, the nectar of the gods!