Monday, June 6, 2016

Books I Read as a Teenager — Open Book Blog Hop

As I've mentioned on here previously, as a kid I read constantly. Frequently a book a day. So it should be no surprise that I sometimes read books that were technically above my age level. Some that i even hid from my mother, because I figured that she'd take the book away from me.

One of those books was Hawaii by James Michener. I read the book the summer after eighth grade. For those of you who have never read the book, it's a sweeping saga of the history of Hawaii, approximately 1000 pages long, sex included. I devoured it, and finished reading the book in about three days (including a weekend.)

After that, I became more "adventuresome" in my book selection, although my choices were somewhat limited because I got most of my books from the school library. A Catholic school. No sex in those books. But that was alright, because I could find books that were written for more mature readers and therefore held my attention.

My mother was also a big reader, so I also started hitting up her bookshelf. And the books that no longer fit on the shelves and were being stored in the attic. That's where I found "Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott. It's based in the era of knights and chivalry and Robin Hood. It was first published in 1820, but the copy I read was produced in 1928. How do I remember that? I don't. I now own the book. It has a few pages missing, and is definitely worse for the wear, but it now has a place on my bookshelf.

The reason Ivanhoe stuck in my mind is that it didn't have a happy ending for all the characters. Rebecca, who was quietly in love with the knight Ivanhoe, and knowing it would never work out between the two of them, gracefully bows out of the picture. I always felt bad for her, but admired her bravery.

(This isn't the edition I own, but it's in the spirit of the 1928 version.)

One last book before I close. Somewhere around my senior year of high school, i picked up a copy of Bury My Heart at Wooded Knee by Dee Brown. It was the era of the Vietnam War, but civil rights was still a very much discussed topic, but no one talked about the Indians—now called Native Americans. It was an eye opener for me, and to this day I pay more attention than many people to the ongoing battles that Native Americans have to fight to retain their culture in today's society. It may have been what influenced me to have Native American references in my first book, Wolves' Pawn.

Feel free to tell me about how the books you read as a teenager in the comments below. And to find out what our other authors have to say, follow the links below.

June 6 How the books you read as a teenager affected you. Could also be how they influence your writing now.
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  1. Michener was always too wordy for me. My mother loved him -- although it took her a while to get over some of his errors in Alaska, all of his books had a place on her bookshelves. I tried reading them and they were entertaining, but I never finished one, which tells me he was too wordy.

    I'm going to have to re-read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I read it in college with my mother, who was very proud of her Indian ancestry, but very much opposed to the unwarranted violence by the Indians at Wounded Knee, so I'll have to see if her views were influencing my impression of the book.

  2. I've never read any James Michener books, but I have heard of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I think I'll have to check that one out again...

  3. I've never read either of those books PJ, but, I will keep them in mind. I enjoy reading different genres and going back in time can be a learning experience as well as entertaining.