Why do you love books?
Ashley: If I had to choose, the biggest reason I love books is because it helps me grow as a writer. I may not be a novelist or write books of any kind–though I’d love to–but I still learn a lot from authors. One piece of advice I’ve heard a good amount in decent years is to be a good writer, you need to read a lot. It’s more than just practicing your craft by writing constantly.
Aside from that, though, books are a great way to learn about people, the world, and different viewpoints while offering you a new experience.
Amanda: Honestly, what’s not to love? There’s a book out there for everyone. Books are entertaining and informing. Novels and fiction books can transport you to other worlds and take your mind off of reality. Nonfiction books can teach you so much you didn’t know before or bring back memories. As an introvert and a 20-something grandma, I just really appreciate a good book and how books/reading will always be a classic, simple form of entertainment or way to spend your time.
Carly: Books are a great way to get out of your head and dive into a whole new world. They are a great way to expand your horizons, see things from a new perspective, and learn! It is such a simple activity, and a great way to fill time. I really appreciate that it brings me a sense of stillness no matter where I am or what I am doing. As an introvert, I really value being able to pick up a book and engage myself in something exciting for a few hours!
What is a book you didn’t expect to love but did anyway?
Ashley: I probably use this as an answer too often, but I never expected to love If You Feel Too Much but Jamie Tworkowski in the way I’ve come to now. When I preordered it, I wasn’t even super into To Write Love on Her Arms, the nonprofit organization Jamie founded, yet–though I’d been familiar with it for nearly a decade already. I just thought it was really cool that Jamie wrote a book, and I wanted to support him.
I was in a tough place mentally around that time, so, by the time I got the book, I found myself relating to so much of what Jamie wrote. I fell in love with the book and his words.
Amanda: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park. It was just a book I found on amazing that seemed quite intriguing and had a rather unique story. I ended up really connecting with the protagonist, Allison, and wanting to cry like 10 different times while reading it because I could relate to her and just because of what was happening in the book.
Carly: I didn’t expect to love the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins when I first picked it up back in 7th grade. No one else was reading it at the time–it didn’t have anywhere near the popularity it does now. The only reason I had a copy was because my Language Arts teacher, who I adored, told my class how good it was. After reading the description, I was really hesitant to get it. At the time I didn’t really know what dystopian meant, and I certainly didn’t want to read about people killing each other. But after reading through a couple chapters I was TOTALLY hooked. It was so interesting and so different from anything I had ever read. I found the writing style to be super engaging and the plot was never dull. Now the book has been turned into a huge franchise, but I still like to think about those nights I spent reading about an epic female heroine named Katniss.
Around what time did your love for books start?
Ashley: I’m definitely a very late bloomer in that I didn’t truly develop a love for books until very recently–as in last summer.
Growing up, I didn’t necessarily dislike reading. I was just a slow reader and didn’t find enjoyment in it. I think it took the combination of being done with school and being a writer for me to truly become a book lover. I say this because reading often felt like too much of a chore for me while I was in school–even if it was for enjoyment. All I could manage to read for enjoyment were sports articles and books. But even then, I always had schoolwork, much of which required excessive reading, to worry about, so I rarely felt like reading books in my free time.
Now, though, as I’ve grown as a writer, I’m so much more eager and interested in reading books both as a learning tool and a form of enjoyment.
Amanda: Probably in fifth or sixth grade. That’s when I remember starting to read a lot. It likely started with The Chronicles of Narnia, then I later moved on to The Clique series and Gossip Girl.
Carly: I was an early reader and can remember wanting to read books like Angelina the Ballerina even though I could only read some of the words. I don’t think I really became an intense reader until the 3rd grade when I could finish chapter books like the Magic Tree House or Junie B. Jones.