Forces of Influence

I recall reading when I was less than 10 years old. It was the typical array of books for that age range but then I just sorta stopped. Oh sure, I read for mandatory book reports but it was formulaic and about getting homework done. There was even a couple of times where I just bullshitted my way through a report after not finishing a reading. Though that only worked for the teachers who didn’t put in the effort to check the source. You have to remember, this was before the internet made that easy.

It wasn’t until I finished college ( pretty much all textbook reading there ) that I fell in love with reading. I had always seen certain books of my dads with covers of science fiction that fascinated me. My dad would recite the stories to me when I asked, but looking back they were very much the bullet points of science and fiction. Nothing like trying to explain story lines to a child to drain a parents energy.

Larry Niven was the first author I borrowed from my father. Some might say Niven isn’t the best author of character development but it was his world building that caught me in his snare. A Gift From Earth, World of Ptavvs, his short stories, and ultimately his most famous novel Ringworld.

Ringworld was his story about an alien artifact the size of Earths orbit. One of the books characters, Teela, found her mind engulfed by the sheer size of the constructed environment. Trying to imagine it myself pulled me into a similar state. It was the first time I fell into a characters situation with such weight that it affected me personally. I’ve had similar moments when reading about exploring the cosmos, but this connected to me in a realm of science magic. Even though fictional, I had an awe inspiring moment. After that, I was hooked on his work and a thirst for more books to do the same. Heinlein, Clarke, Scalzi, and Asimov. Just to name a few other authors books I have loved escaping within.

I am almost certain I have a reading disability. I’ve always had to reread paragraphs to comprehend them. At the back of my mind it kept reading as a labour instead of an escape. Sure I could get tested as an adult but now I’ve got the spark to make reading the joy it should be. It makes the re reading all the worthwhile.

I contribute to my mothers littlefreelibrary, where you share your books with others. Giving ten a chance to find that joy in reading that seems so rare in our clickbait-top10list-Internet reading world.

Not that I don’t hope to write something here people enjoy too ;). Maybe when it gets in print I will add it to my mothers library.


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