I love to read. My favorite genres include mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, science fiction, and adventure. I read memoirs and history, newspapers, magazines, and if nothing else is handy, the cereal box. This addiction began at age four when my five-year-old brother started reading to me. I saw blotches of black lines and squiggles under the pictures. He ran his finger along the blotches, transforming them into sounds, words, sentences, and stories. I wanted that magic, that superpower.
In time, my brothers and I discovered that most magical of places—the public library! Unleashed in the children’s section, we read and read until mother dragged us out with armloads of loaners. Such riches! We could travel in time and space on adventures and learn about places far from home. Though mother probably brought us to the library so she could study in peace for her eventual law degree, she did us a huge favor. She kept us away from late afternoons of mind-numbing television.
By high school, my brothers and I launched into a competition to read the set of 100 classics in paperback that Mom had purchased. Baby brother, not to be outdone, read the Encyclopedia Britannica set as well. We teased him that only a geek reads reference books, but truth be told, I kept a dictionary by my bed to scour it for new words like syzygy and conflagration to drop into conversation. With reading comes a love for words. In my family, Scrabble is a blood sport.
In college, I studied 300 plays in depth. I had planned to work for a newspaper by day and write plays at night. Fortunately, that didn’t work out. I ended up writing for business, then for magazines, followed by a stint teaching report writing at a police academy, and then publishing my first novel. Throughout the decades, the joy of reading continued.
A website called Goodreads.com became the social media site for readers, so I set up a profile and started listing books I’d read. It would have been easier check off books from a list of classics and the most popular books in the last the thirty years than to name them from memory. Since joining the site, I have tried to rate and reviewing books as soon as I finish them. So many new authors, so many new books by my favorite authors, the to-be-read list is laughably long and considerably incomplete. May I live to read them all.
I read everything but erotica. The three erotica books I read were boring. Seriously, if Tom Clancy put a car chase in every scene, his stories would have been boring. If Stephen King put a killer clown in every story, well, forget suspense. Predictability turns me off.
I cannot imagine life without books. When someone says, “I don’t read” my first thought is “you poor thing.” No stirring of the imagination, no laughter, no seeing the world from a new perspective, no growth, no adventure, no new ideas, no passion…might as well take away color and music from the world. Do non-readers dream in gray?
Joni M. Fisher is a journalist, an instrument-rated private pilot, and an active member of the Florida Writers Association, the Kiss of Death Chapter and the Tampa Area Romance Authors Chapter of RWA, and the Women's Fiction Writers Association. Books in her Compass Crimes Series have garnered attention in Publisher's Weekly and earned recognition in the 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards, the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Awards, the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, the Sheila Contest, and earned a Reader's Favorite 5-Star Review.