by A. Faris
I still remember it - the pounding of the heart, the sleepless nights, the rustling of blood in the veins. I held the corner of the page, in preparation to turn it, willing my eyes, my brain to work faster so that I can get to the end quicker. I was thirteen, and reading Issac Asimov's Foundation.
You see, my earliest memories of books were decidedly not fond. Books for young children did not interest me even then. I'd thought Enid Blyton puerile when I was six. Things have changed since but back then, all I had were Malory Towers, St. Clare's and their ilk, whose characters with their holier-than-thou attitudes I detested (still do). They were invariably good, in the sickening, unbelievable 'Perfect Peter' (of Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry) good. What can I say? I was more Horrid Henry than Perfect Peter and no books reflected that reality. Not surprising then, I detested having to read especially since it was something mandated by 'the adults'. Then, on a school visit to the library (another dreary boring trip), I picked up a book that looked vaguely interesting. Little did I know then that that book would completely change my life.
From a book hater, I read everything....because no matter how unpromising the start, it could be another love. Could be. I am still searching for that elusive feeling, that first moment of dawning realization, of utter fascination and newness. A junkie always looking for a new high, I could say, but there are worse habits to pick up. I like a good many stories, but there are very few that make me feel that way. In the ensuing years, only five did : Foundation (Issac Asimov), Dumb Martian (John Wyndham), The Rocket Man (Ray Bradbury), Hamlet (Shakespeare) and A Precious Jewel (Mary Balogh). These are the ones that I feel deeply for, every time I re-read them, even while I admire and enjoy other narratives in their many forms.
I would love to know which stories have changed your life? Or made you feel so deeply as to leave a lasting impression? It may be a movie, a book, a poem, a short story, a biopic. Anything, really.
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A. Faris is the author of time-travel paranormal romances Out of Joint, Wings of a Butterfly and Last Christmas. The Golden Harp, a re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk, is her latest release.