As we’ve now entered November, normally acknowledged as the month of Thanksgiving – and more widely celebrated, my birthday – I have decided to discuss books that I’m thankful for. Last year around this time I believe I discussed my appreciation for “Harry Potter” since it was the book series that jump-started my love for reading. This year, I want to talk about the two books – though one is technically part of a series – that acted as the gateway novels that led me to discovering two of my favorite genres.
The first book I want to mention is Stephen King’s “Dreamcatcher,” which is one of the only books I’ve reread a handful of times. I will start off by saying that this book, in my general opinion, is not King’s best work. Honestly, it’s not that great whatsoever. Though, to be fair, it’s an even worse movie. It’s one of the few works he has that should be labelled as part of the science-fiction genre rather than horror, and it focuses on four friends on their annual hunting trip that starts to go awry after the arrival of aliens. To give it a chance, I will say it started off okay with a good amount of suspense. But then King tries to shove the idea of aliens down the readers’ throats in the oddest ways imaginable and it doesn’t go well.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m even “thanking” a book I clearly don’t like all that much and are wondering why in the world I would have reread it multiple times. I’m going to be honest – I had picked this up while I was in fifth grade (approximately), and I just thought the cover and title were neat. And it sort of sounded interesting – I mean four guys battling a monster sounds interesting to most kids. I ended up reading it, not understanding most of it, and then rereading it a year or so later. After that, I thought trying some of King’s other books would be a great idea, especially since he’s the “King of Horror.” So, I soon started picking up his other works and got hooked. To this day I think I’ve read the majority of King’s works except for about five or so, which is both pretty impressive and concerning considering he has about 76 novels and short story collections. Nevertheless, it was “Dreamcatcher” that got me started on my love for horror.
Similarly, the book series I want to mention introduced me to my passion for mythology. If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’ll know that I adore mythological retellings, and like most Greek myth fans, “Percy Jackson” helped to ignite that passion. For those unfamiliar, Rick Riordan writes various series that focus on kids that have godly parents. They could be Greek, such as the case with “Percy Jackson,” or they could be Roman, Egyptian, Norse etc. depending on the series. When I was in third grade or so, a dear friend of mine had recommended the series to me, so I impulsively bought all five books to get started. And his recommendation was perfect – I loved the series and reread them countless times. I started reading the various spin-off series as well as general mythology books and ended up loving those too. As I got older, I soon found novels that featured these gods in a similar way, and it felt like coming home in a book – after all, for the most part these were myths and characters I already knew and loved. To this day, I have yet to find a retelling I have absolutely hated. And, like most mythology fans, I have “Percy Jackson” to thank for this intense love.
While these books, including the “Harry Potter” series I mentioned last year, are all very different, I appreciate them for helping me to become the reader I am today.