A million answers fought their way up through my throat. What made her choice of literature more valid than mine? Why does sci-fi have such a stigma? Was it because I was a girl?
It also got me thinking. Why do I read genre novels? What got me into them? What was the book that started it all?
Without a doubt, Tamora Pierce's exceptional Song of the Lioness Quartet is one of the first fantasy novels I can remember reading. They were ten times more exciting than Nancy Drew books and featured a woman so kickass that I still strive to grow up to be like her. I have no idea where they came from (possibly an elementary school Scholastic booksale. Weren't those the BEST days in elementary school?), but I still have them and I read them once every year or so. Almost everything Tamora Pierce wrote is exceptional and I still have all my old, original copies of all her series. They moved me and I still find myself remembering things I learned in them to this day. The impact they made on my life is unmistakable. I probably wouldn't be the girl I am today without them.
After Tamora Pierce came every single Star Wars book published up until 1998 or so. I read everything, especially if it featured bounty hunters or Han Solo. There were Animorph books by KA Applegate, as well as her mindbending mythology-heavy urban fantasy series, Everworld. Middle school brought Anne Rice to my attention and high school gave me Neil Gaiman; authors I obsess over even now as an adult.
Today, my walls, floors and every nook and cranny in my house is full of books. They tower around me like haphazard skyscrapers. Most of them are sci-fi and fantasy novels, full of daring and dashing thieves, steampunk airship pilots, girls with magical powers and boys trying to save kingdoms. And I couldn't be happier.
I blame it all on Tamora Pierce. I can never thank her enough.
So, dearest readers, can you remember the book that got you started on the sci-fi and fantasy path? Share your stories and memories in the comments.