The first books that I really connected with were the Pippi Longstocking stories. Like Pippi, I had a father who was a sea captain and who was travelling all the time. My mother reading the Pippi books to me was how I learned to read myself.
Later I became a fan of detective stories, the sort where a group of kids solves a case before the police does. I still enjoy the occasional crime mystery these days. On my shelf you can find such writers as Elizabeth George, Kathy Reichs, and Patricia Cornwell, but also the Brittany murder mystery series by Jean-Luc Bannalec.
One of my all-time favourite reads is Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander series, though – a time-travel historic romance adventure all in one. And set in Scotland, too, at least some of it.
I was introduced to fantasy as a teen with the Alanna (Song of the Lioness) books by Tamora Pierce. Her various fantasy quartets indirectly inspired settings in the Mage Girl world when I first started out.
It still embarrasses me to admit that I only discovered Lord of the Rings in my twenties. The books were a landmark on my mother’s shelf, yet I never picked them up while living at home. And even when I finally did, I got stuck in the opening scenes twice and abandoned. This has never happened with any other book to me, and that’s saying something. (The only exception being, for some reason, The Hobbit.) It took the prospect of the upcoming movies and two good friends who both wanted to take me to the première of Fellowship of the Ring in order to finally find my way into the story – and once there, I never put it down until The End.
So what else is on my bookshelf? The complete Harry Potter, obviously, which I discovered well before he became famous. Some science fiction by Robert Heinlein, whose writings I encountered rather recently. Just about all books Monica Hughes ever wrote – in case you have not heard of her, she was a pre-eminent juvenile fiction writer with a particular focus on future scenarios. I take quite a bit of my inspiration from her, and I was lucky enough to meet her twice and correspond with her for several years before she sadly passed away in 2003.
My Kindle holds more recent releases, many of which I discovered thanks to the writing community on Twitter, among them the Shinobi mysteries by Susan Spann, the Holmes & Stoker mysteries by Colleen Gleason, and an increasing number of Middle Grade books, such as The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight, the Howard Wallace, P.I. mysteries by Casey Lyall, Takedown by Laura Shovan, Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series by Jordan Stratford.
Presently, I enjoy rediscovering children’s books and reading them with my daughter. As a preschooler, she was a great fan of Pippi Longstocking. Now she has moved on past Harry Potter to Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud.