Discovering the Relevance of Words
When I was about twelve years old it suddenly became very important to me that I read every book written by one Michael Crichton. It started with Jurassic Park, which I read at the public pool while I waited for my little sister to finish with her swimming lessons. I was in love with that book. I found myself fascinated by the science, reading about the magic of DNA with the smell of chlorine in my nostrils and the echoes of that bounced off the concrete walls and high ceilings of the aquatic center in my ears.
My enthusiasm for his work did begin to wane a year or two later, somewhere between Sphere and The Andromeda Strain, but not before it set a pattern for the rest of my reading life. Soon after that I read Jaws, and began my Peter Benchley phase. Three or four books about sea monsters and noble fishermen later, and it was on to Stephen King.
I don’t know if this is a universal experience among readers, or just among those who, like myself, spent their formative years watching movies and letting those movies direct their thoughts while perusing the library. I was always afraid of wasting time on a book I didn’t like. So, if a movie looked cool, I figured I’d like the book. Then, if I liked that book, I figured I’d like the other books by that author. Plus, I’m a completionist. If I find myself really appreciating an artist’s work I will go out of my way to possess all of it, just so I can say I do. It’s the same reason I own several Rolling Stones albums that I actively can’t stand.
For the record, my taste did improve. But my habits didn’t. I moved on from Benchley and Crichton to Vonnegut and Bukowski, but I still had that sometimes infuriating urge to track down all the books and slog through them whether I liked them or not.
So, I guess my question is…
Am I weird? Does anybody else cross reference events in their lives with the author they were reading at the time?
Do you go through reading phases?