What literature influenced you at different times in your life? Describe each period of influence that you experienced.
As a young child, I memorized two books – Ferdinand & Are You My Mother? I remember really making a connection to these books, I truly loved those stories.
My grandmother was a teacher for 42 years. She had books everywhere in her house. I remember visiting her and feeling like I was in the library. In 4th grade she encouraged me to read Heidi. This book opened up the world of chapter books. I remember reading the following series: Ramona, Babysitters Club, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Narnia especially was an influence in the genre of fantasy, and introduced Christian allegory.
In junior high my parents required summer reading and visits to our local library once a week. Now these rules might seem strict, but I treated this time as a gift – my siblings not so much! I read all kinds of books Anne of Green Gables being one, but most weren’t in a series. I rarely checked out non-fiction. I preferred reading contemporary fiction, with characters that dealt with realistic situations. I remember checking out a larger chapter book and then asking my dad if I could keep it for more than the required one week, because I hadn’t finished it – he just smiled.
In high school I continued to devour books – I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Inherit the Wind, & Of Mice and Men my junior year. I loved that English class. My senior year, I read Things Fall Apart, a novel I HIGHLY recommend. It influenced me and opened my eyes to another culture and how it was suppressed and eventually annihilated.
I had a hard time deciding on a major in college. I loved many of my undergrad classes. When I looked at my schedule and courses, I realized I had taken two extra literature classes than what was required. It took seeing this in print form for me to finally recognize that I LOVED literature, so English would be an ideal major. In college I read too many books to pick favorites (The Awakening, The Sound and the Fury, Great Expectations, Regeneration, many Shakespeare plays – my favorite “Titus”, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and the list goes on and on). I really enjoyed my Witches & Wise Women in Renaissance Literary History class – it was fascinating to read about witchcraft and the projection of that in history and literature of that time period. I continue to be amazed at how timeless literature is, how hundreds of years later it can still be relevant and contain issues that people still deal with regularly.I can say that I enjoyed every second of going to The Globe Theatre in London and seeing “The Merry Wives of Winsor” performed. It was so surreal, I cried…I know it’s sappy, but I LOVE BOOKS!