Go back to a different kind of beginning: your own ABC. What kind of books were you given as a child? What was the first book that you read in primary school, and then at high school? How has that influenced what you read now?
Many of my friends were delighted when their own children started reading the Harry Potter novels: it gave them a chance to recapture the magical stories that they were told as children. Like them, I remember reading fairy tales, dark stories of evil witches and spellbound princesses: Rumpelstiltskin, The Goose-girl, The Sleeping Beauty. For an adult taste of this kind of tale, I like to read Gothic fiction, or Angela Carter’s black fairy tales.
My much-loved French teacher gave me a life-long passion for French literature, starting simply with Le Petit Prince, then moving on to wonderfully scandalous novels; as a teenager, I loved Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Manon Lescaut. My friends who enjoyed studying biology and physics, on the other hand, developed a preference for science fiction – beginning with authors like John Wyndham and Robert Heinlein, then moving on to H. G. Wells and Margaret Atwood later in life.
I’m interested in hearing about your first encounters with reading, and how they influenced what you read now.