My New (Old) Obsession

I know. You don’t have to tell me. I’ve been very quiet over the last few months. Deathly quiet. What kind of fangirl is that quiet? What has she been doing? I’d like to say that I’ve been so busy doing all kinds of exciting things that I just haven’t had time to blog. That, however, would be a big, fat lie. What I have been doing is rediscovering an old love – books.

I learned to read right along with everyone else in kindergarten and first grade. I was an only child who dealt with the loneliness by imagining scenes and acting them out behind my closed bedroom door. (My fourteen year old daughter still does this. I’m pretty sure she has an acting career in her future.) When I learned to read, books became my playmates. The characters were my friends. Their worlds became mine.

I was the girl who was always reading, who had a few books at school, a few at home and could seamlessly move between them, reading whatever matched my mood. I read everything from Nancy Drew to The Bobsey Twins to Judy Blume and anything else I could get my hands on. In junior high, I read Gone With the Wind and hundreds of other books that I can’t remember. In high school, it was The Winds of War, The Caine Mutiny and The Thorn Birds and more. Reading was my passion.

That passion stayed with me into adulthood. I would go to the library and schlep home a stack of ten or fifteen books, hoping they would last a week. Many times they didn’t. As a stay-at-home mom, I would read when the kids napped or played on the living room floor. I hoped that by reading to them and around them, they would all find a love of reading, too. (Three of the four found that love.)

About two years ago, that passion for reading shifted from books to fan fiction. It started with an innocent tweet. I clicked a link and fell into a never-ending rabbit hole. I don’t remember the first fic I read, but I do remember the third, the one that really sucked me in. It was The When and The How: A Bone to Pick by MoxieGirl. It’s a Bones fic and, unfortunately, unfinished. I didn’t care that it was unfinished. I spent my time in between updates reading other fics. There are some amazing writers in fan fiction. Anyone who ridicules it, probably hasn’t read it. Over the last two years, I have read hundreds of fics, millions of words.

I’ve read fics from many fandoms, but have barely touched the massive amount of material out there. Having said that, I’d love to share some of my favorites. In the Bones fandom, I tried to narrow it down to three favs. I just can’t do that. So, I’m keeping it to five, but even at that, I’m leaving out some really excellent writing.

Need by dgschneider

Fated by sleeplessinatlanta

String Theory by Covalent Bond

The Hand You’re Dealt by casketformytears

Running on Empty by GCatsPjs

Okay, that felt like picking which child is my favorite. Seriously, if you are a Bones fan, or just like to read good stories, check these out. You can also check my list of favorites (craftyjhawk) to see what I left off of this list.

On to some other favorites, if you are a Supernatural fan, here are a few.

In Reverse by sodakey

Between the Shadows by Dawn N

If you are a TVD (The Vampire Diaries) fan, these are for you.

Bloom by vanagonne

Consumed by CreepingMuse

River Deep, Ocean Wide by Nightlightbright

The Story of Us by Beautiful1Disaster

Claiming Hearts and Spaces by morvamp

That’s just a small sampling of what I have been reading over the last two years. That changed this past May when there seemed to be a lull in new material. Desperate for something to read and having reread many of my go-to fics, I opened the Kindle app on my iPad to see what I had downloaded but never read. Just my luck, nothing really caught my attention.

What did catch my attention was another innocent tweet raving about Colleen Hoover. I had no idea who she was, but decided to give one of her books a try. I bought and read Ugly Love in less than a day. From there I moved on to Confess and the Hopeless. At that point, I decided I was hopeless in love with Colleen Hoover and quickly read through all of her books. Very quickly, like in less than a week. Seriously, if I weren’t straight and happily married, I would marry Colleen Hoover in a heartbeat. That’s what her words do to me.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. When I reached the end of the last of her books, I was at a loss. I had rediscovered my love of books, but had no idea what to read next. Thank goodness for Amazon! Their helpful “If you like Colleen Hoover, try (fill in the blank)” was my lifesaver.

Almost three months and 144 books later, I have found many authors that I love. Even though I’m a forty-something mother of four, I am addicted to the Young Adult and New Adult genres. I can’t explain the attraction, but I don’t feel the need to, either. I am all about doing what makes you happy and these books make me happy. These authors – Hoover, Corine Michaels, L.B. Simmons, Claire Contreras, A.L. Jackson, S.C. Stephens and others – make me happy, even when they are dragging me through the depths of their characters angst. Do yourself a favor. Check these authors out. You won’t be disappointed. You can also check my Goodreads list (craftyjhawk) to see whom else I’ve been reading.

The moral of this story – READ. Whether it’s highly acclaimed fiction, graphic novels or even the much-maligned fan fiction, just read. Read to your kids. Keep books around for them to read alone. Reading is a release, an escape, a stress reliever. Reading helps to keep your mind sharp as you age. Reading opens the creative centers of your brain. And when it comes right down to it, reading is just fun.