Books · Gothic Fiction

What Book Made You a Reader?

During my childhood, I would spend most of my time playing out of doors and watching television of an evening, so I never really spent much time reading. It was not until I discovered one book, in particular, that happened to change all of that.

That book was Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. This book would lead me to read within the Gothic genre, as well as horror from Stephen King and mysteries, such as Sherlock Holmes. Combined with my film and television viewing, where my interest was with horror and suspense movies and police dramas, it was inevitable my choice of reading material would be in the same vein.

When I discovered Dragonwyck, I was not looking for that book, let alone a book to read. Before that time, I cannot recall even reading an adult book. I came across this book merely by chance.

Frequently we would holiday down the south coast and it was when I was about ten years old that my parents eventually bought a caravan while we were down there. The previous owners had cleaned the caravan out, however, when perusing the cupboards, I stumbled upon a book lying in one of them. I donโ€™t know if they left it behind intentionally or by accident, but the book title and description caught my interest. I began reading and I was hooked.

I enjoyed the romantic aspects as well as its dark themes, such as family curses, hauntings, and murder. Dragonwyck introduced me to the Gothic genre, and it was also through this book that I became familiar with Edgar Allen Poe.

I knew that Nicholas Van Ryn was a dark and menacing character, but as a child I was unaware of some of these darker topics until I grew up. When I saw him again through adult eyes, I was even more horrified, which only heightened the terror of the novel.

Some years after reading this book for the first time, I happened to come across the film version on television. The film stars Gene Tierney of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir fame, and one of my old favourites, Vincent Price. I only saw it the once, but I do remember the ending of the film version was somewhat different from that of the book, which disappointed me. At the time I was also disappointed with Vincent Price being in the lead male role, but all these years later when I think of it, it seemed appropriate. Now whenever I read the book, I canโ€™t help but hear his voice in the role of Nicholas. Chillling! ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are a number of things I owe to this book, for not only did Dragonwyck make me a reader and introduced me to the Gothic genre, but it cemented my decision at the age of ten, that I wanted to be a writer. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

What book made you a reader? What is your favourite genre to read? Have you ever read Dragonwyck? If youโ€™ve seen the film version starring Vincent Price, what did you think?

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

11 thoughts on “What Book Made You a Reader?

  1. The first book that made me a reader was one that I picked all by myself (as opposed to Make Way for Ducklings and other birthday presents from the grownups). It was The Boxcar Children. I read the whole darn series in second and third grade. But I didn’t identify a genre I liked until I read The Exorcist at age 10. It was the first book that had an emotional impact on me. Horror is still my favorite genre.

    I’ve seen the Dragonwyck movie with Vincent Price. Oh, I thought he was brilliant in it, and what a brilliant movie! Silly me, I didn’t know it was a book. Now I’m super intrigued!

    1. Hi Priscilla. Wow, reading The Exorcist at the age of ten must have been an eye-opener for you. I haven’t read the book but I’ve seen the movie a number of times. I guess I really should read it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d love to watch Dragonwyck again as I only saw it once. Vincent Price was always one of my favourites! I hope you get to read it one day. I’d love to hear what you think.

  2. It seems that it was fate that you found that book and it led you to love reading! You were already somewhat interested in that genre which is awesome. I have always loved reading so I cannot remember what my first book was. My mom is always the one to tell me about how I would much rather read books than play with barbies, to her disappointment. Speaking of the gothic genre, have you read Frankenstein? It is truly incredible!

    1. Hi Ash. I’d like to think it was fate as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, I have read Frankenstein a couple of times now and loved it. I’m usually a slow reader, but that book I manage to read fairly quickly. I always feel sad for the monster and find it quite remarkable that Mary Shelley had written that book at so young an age. Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The right book arrives when we’re ready for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading so I can’t point to one book in particular. I had many childhood favorites, like the Little House on the Prairie series, the Anne of Green Gables series, etc. Eventually, I got my hands on creepier things. I’m pretty sure I read Stephen King’s work when I was way too young. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Madeline. I also read Anne of Green Gables when I was a kid and loved it. I especially love the adaptation with Megan Follows and probably watch it every year! I also read Stephen King at a young age; some of his earlier work really sticks into one’s brain! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. The first book that made me a reader was Animorphs when I was a kid. That and Goosebumps. Younger me was totally hooked, and I’ve never looked back! It’s amazing how influential books can be in our lives.

    1. My nephew had a few Goosebumps books some years back and I read quite a few of them. I enjoyed them and only wished that they existed when I was a kid. Instead, I went straight to Stephen King! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Oh really? Which one is your favorite? I actually can’t remember, it’s been that long. But after Animorphs I definitely plan on starting that series as well. Gotta love getting in touch with your roots, right?

        Oh nice! Which Stephen King one is your favorite so far?

        I think I’d have to say mine is probably Carrie, though this is just off the top of my head.

      2. It’s been a while since I’ve read them, but I seem to recall ‘Night of the Living Dummy’ the most. I’ve never forgotten the episode ‘The Dummy’ from The Twilight Zone and that’s creeped me out on those things ever since! As for Stephen King, I can’t really put my finger on a favourite, but I enjoy his earlier works the most, including his short stories. I’m currently listening to ‘Misery’ on audio and I’d forgotten the humour in it. It’s well worth a listen if you haven’t done so yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      3. Oh man, Slappy was his name wasn’t it? Goodness he was creepy! Creepy dolls are so freaky.

        I actually have never tried Misery yet, so I’m definitely going to have to give that one a try in the near future. I currently have Pet Sematary and The Long Walk to get through of his.

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