I was having dinner with my family a few weeks ago when my parents started talking about planning a family camping trip. Somehow this led to a conversation about camping in general, and I think I made a comment about how easily bored I got on our past trips. To which my sister replied that her memories of our childhood camping trips involved me sitting around the campfire with a book in my hand.
You know what? Those are my memories, too.
I’ve loved reading since I memorized Go, Dog. Go! at age 4, but reading, for me, really took off when I discovered chapter books in elementary school. Nancy Drew, the Ramona Quimby novels, The Baby-Sitters Club…I still have the gorgeous full color illustrated copy of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess that my best friend gave me when we were kids (and it’s still one of my favorite books).
As I grew older, my tastes changed, but I never stopped reading. And now days, it’s pretty much the only time I can turn my brain off. My day job gives me a fair amount of stress, and I’m a very distracted writer, so being able to just drop into someone else’s world and stay there for a while gives me a welcome break from life. The end of the day, when I get to shut off my laptop and ignore the phone, the dishes, and everything else, where I’m curled up on the couch with a book or my Kindle – that’s my favorite time of day.
When my sister moved across the country with her now-husband, I’d loan her books from my shelves and send her pages filled with other recommendations she could get from her local library. I started a blog several years ago and posted occasional reviews of books I’d read, and my coworkers and I constantly trade book recommendations.
Those random posts and recommendations evolved into full on book reviews, and about two years ago, I joined Vampire Book Club as a reviewer. I’m a fast reader, which means I read a lot. I’ve been known to glom whole series in a span of days (I read three of the four available Fever series books by Karen Marie Moning in a 36 hour period once. Talk about a book hangover). I regularly post reviews on my own blog, Byrne After Reading. I kind of have to. When I read a book I love, I go into total fangirl mode and can’t stop yammering about it. I recently bugged my critique partner until she caved to peer pressure and read a couple of books I’d been talking about for a while. When it seemed like everyone at Vampire Book Club but me had read Written in Red by Anne Bishop, I gave in and read it, too. Then I immediately turned over my copy to a friend because it was so original and engaging that I had to talk to someone about it or I’d go nuts. The same goes for books that turn me off – I’m still warning people way from books I read years ago, they bothered me that much.
Talking about books – whether I’m recommending them or warning people away from them – is a piece of the whole for me when it comes to reading. It’s not enough to read a book. I need to talk about it, too, whether it made me smile or made me throw the book at the wall. I want people to get the same things I’m getting from those stories, and the only way that’ll happen is if I talk about it.
And I’m always on the lookout for book recs, so tell me, what are you reading now?
About Amanda K. Byrne: When she’s not plotting ways to sneak her latest shoe purchase past her partner, Amanda writes sexy, snarky romance and urban fantasy. She likes her heroines smart and unafraid to make mistakes, and her heroes strong enough to take them on. If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.