First, back up a few decades. When growing up, I read quite a bit – both books and magazines. The magazines were largely of the Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and Mechanix Illustrated ilk at first, supplemented and then finally replaced by specialist car magazines like Road & Track, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, and various British motoring magazines. As well, I read a lot of comic books and humour magazines – Mad, Cracked and National Lampoon.
Books were generally of the science fiction genre – Asimov, Heinlein (in particular, his books ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ and ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ were instrumental in shaping my worldview – something that persists to the present day), Clarke (in addition to Clarke’s writings, I have to cite the Stanley Kubrick movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘ as another seminal influence on my development – I was fortunate enough to see it in the Glendale Cinerama theatre in Toronto when it was first released; quite an experience), Anderson and so on. Later on, spy thrillers and the like – le Carré et al. Non-fiction? I don’t recall any, outside of textbooks.
For quite some time (largely during my first marriage, while raising our two sons) I don’t think I was reading nearly as much – well, unless you count the innumerable readings of Richard Scarry stories and the Mr. Men/Little Miss books at bedtime. Oh, and I can’t omit Groundsel by Fergus Hall – that was one of the older son’s favourites.
After a while I did start reading more again, mainly mysteries – the Matt Scudder series and others by Lawrence Block, the Gideon Oliver series and others by Aaron Elkins (and a couple written with his wife, Charlotte Elkins), the Matt Cobb series and others by William L. DeAndrea (including a couple written under the nom de plume of Philip DeGrave – ‘fill de grave’, get it?), and so on.
And around then I also discovered Terry Pratchett’s Discworld through The Colour of Magic, the first in the series. Usually, I’d rip through a new one in a short time and then end up jonesing for another – once I’d caught up to the ones that had already been published, it was tough waiting until the next one came out. Fortunately, Sir Terry has been a prolific writer and the wait was tolerable.
Prolific, that is, until recently. Sadly, he’s been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and as a result his output – understandably – has slowed.
More and more I’ve been reading non-fiction – in part because the authors whose works I most enjoy (Elkins and Pratchett in particular) are not releasing many new works, leaving a gap to fill. I’ve tried finding fiction by other authors, but it’s been hit-and-miss, with mostly misses – there haven’t been any that really captivated me recently. Non-fiction, whether it’s a technical book that I’m reading to learn something specific or a more topical work, lets me expand my knowledge and that’s something that always interests me.
And let me end the “T” post for the A-Z Blogging Challenge by saying “Bugrit, millennium hand an’ shrimp” – this was supposed to be posted on Saturday, but the day turned out to be a busy one and by the time I got to writing it ended up running into Sunday (well, at least it is where I am – for those of you who are at least a couple of timezones to the west, it will still be Saturday…)