Frequently, during my interviews and talks, I asked this question a lot, “What did you enjoy reading when you were a kid?” so I thought I’d write a post about it.
I have been an avid reader ever since I remember. I was more of an indoorsy kid, who preferred to curl up in bed with a good book than go play out in the sun. I remember during very hot and humid summer vacations in northern India (when we did not have air conditioners), I would go to the biggest public library in the city with my grandmother every few days and stack up on books. Because the library had a small kids section, I started venturing into teens and adults much ahead of my peers. Needless to say, I would stay up late in the night when everyone was asleep and the streets were silent, escaping into a world of words and imagination.
The first books that I remember reading were the usual fairly tales about princesses, dwarfs and magic – Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, etc. My favorite book then was ‘Rumplestleskin’ by Grimms Brothers. I was fascinated how this guy could turn everything into gold!
In India, we were largely influenced by European author, not so many American. It may be hard to believe but I never heard of Dr Suess till I moved to the US!
British children’s book writer, Enid Blyton was my favorite author by third grade. A gift from my uncle, ‘Adventures of the Wishing-Chair‘ introduced me to a new love for short stories and chapter books. Then it was ‘Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators’ series, followed by Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, Nancy Drew, and Charles Dickens.
In high school, I was addicted to the intricate mysteries in adult voice written by Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, and Barbara Taylor Bradford. My friends and I would often gift each other books as birthday presents. Looking back, I feel they were probably picked out by our parents!
During my adult life, I read anything and everything I could lay my hands on – biographies, magazines, travel essays, spiritual and self help, as well as novels. I also have an addiction. If I like a particular author, I have to read every single book they have ever written! It’s like when you start watching a TV show and feel the compulsive need to watch every episode.
I also prize my books as valuable possessions. Never do I dog ear the pages, scribble on them, or allow any stains or creases. Which is why I get a lump in my throat when someone asks me to borrow one of my books 🙁
Some of my favorite authors in the past decade were Alexander McCall Smith, Barbara Kingsolver, Paulo Coelho, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dalai Lama, and Eckhart Tolle. And yes, I have read almost everything they have ever written!
Want to know what I am reading right now? Follow me on Goodreads.