All of the awkward, with only a quarter of the adventure.
I'm not one of those people that can remember the first book I read. It was probably Dr. Seuss, or something. I do remember some of the books that stuck in my head. I loved the Francis books. (When I was shelving once, I spotted a Francis book, and said out loud, "Awww Francis!" I got a lot of odd looks.) Dr. Seuss was of course high on the list because who doesn't love Dr. Seuss? I mean seriously. Although for some reason Daisyhead Maisy really disturbed me. I have no idea why. After all, it is more natural to have flowers grow out of the head than fruit, isn't it? Chrysanthemum was also high on the list, because it's fun to try and pronounce it when you're just mastering words.
I went through a time where I read a lot of nonfiction. I remember re-reading Pocahontas' biography over and over (which was why I was utterly bewildered by the Disney movie, although I still kind of like it, gross historical inaccuracies aside). I also read Jackie Robinson's biography, which started my love of baseball.
I remember a favorite of mine was The Ghost Cadet. It was beautiful, it was heartwrenching, it sparked my imagination. Then I found out critics ripped it apart because TEH SOUTH IZ ALWAYZ WRONG GUYZ.
Then...ah, then, I read The Hobbit. I laughed, I cried...it moved me
When I was in eighth grade, I started noticing all these signs about "The Goblet of Fire". The paper did a big write-up...focusing entirely on "ZOMG who is Harry going to date?"
I promptly decided that this book wasn't going to be interesting at all, and besides, I had Worst Witch.
Then, one day, my friends Raquel and Andy more or less forced me to the library to check out The Sorcerer's Stone. I grumbled, and conceded that I'd try it.
One hour later, Mom was practically dragging me to eat dinner because I couldn't stop reading.
The funny thing about Harry Potter is that now people are trying desperately to insist it was "just a fad" and they were "good books for kids just getting into reading", as though the books have no value on their own.
I was nearly a high schooler. I was already reading at the level of a college junior. But the Harry Potter books grabbed onto my mind and would not let go. I read through them quickly, and when I gave them to my family, they finished them in record time as well. We all had to fight over The Order of the Phoenix, and I recall about three different bookmarks in that book because we didn't want to wait. This led, of course, to me sampling other "children's" fiction, and finding out that Lemony Snicket is, in fact, awesome.
As I've gotten older, I've expanded my reading into other areas. I tried several types of Christian fiction. I will not talk about the Series That Shall Not Be Named, except to say that "seriously stop focusing so much on dropping anvils that the only character anyone actually likes is the Anti-Christ". Other books worked out better, even Frank Peretti, even though he has a few anvils up his sleeves. I tried romance, and found some very good examples and some very, very bad examples. I've varied the types of mysteries I read. I discovered the Pendergast series, and lo, joy came into my life. I decided to start reading horror that wasn't Poe and NOW I CAN'T STOP READING LOVECRAFT HELP.
This post is getting a bit long, but that's because to me, books are awesome. They open up entirely new worlds, new ideas, and new experiences.
Today, I'm thankful for books.