Every year I discover I have a different theme to the events I attend. I do not plan them out... I usually discover it upon reflection on the 2nd or 3rd day. Last year, as a new TALL Texan, I spent more time volunteering and networking than ever before. The year before that you could find me in every library advocacy or collaboration session available, trying desperately to find the silver bullet to save my job. Previous years' targets include technology integration, early childhood programming, and yes... even securing free items from the vendors.
This year I thought I would be into technology and apps, but it has been all about authors. Being out of the library and on the road for the past two years, I have lost touch with books. It is a rare day that I recommend books to students. The lessons I taught this year have all had either a technology and/or research focus (usually both!). But my literacy lessons and book talk hats have been left hanging on their hooks.
This year I found myself migrating to the author sessions... Most of them YA authors... And they have been wonderful...
Kristin Cashore, Brent Crawford, Patricia McCormick, Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Sara Zarr were on a panel together and the first question posed to them asked what they read as young adults. This made me ask myself what I read as a young adult.
Digging into my memory bank, I realized that as a high school student I NEVER visited the library for recreational reading. NEVER. Not once. Nor in college. EVER. My YA fiction selections were all word-of-mouth recommendations.
Here is what I can remember:
- V.C. Andrews... Started with My Sweet Audrina and continued through the Flowers in the Attic series. This was my introduction to hard issues like rape and incest.
- Stephen King... My boyfriend passed on Pet Sematary to me, followed by Christine. I was instantly hooked by Stephen King's style of writing and his ability to scare me. I read a steady stream of his books and was totally creeped out by "It" while in college, afraid to leave my dorm room after dark for a couple of weeks.
- To contrast Stephen King, I also read the Christian book series by Janette Oke, beginning with "Love Comes Softly"
- The majority of my YA reading, though, came from the genre "harlequin romance," namely First Love from Silhouette, ordered through the mail. My all-time favorite were the Blossom Valley Books.