How did you get into literature?

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Koko » 2015-01-13, 7:49

I never had an interest in comic books. The only graphic novel I've read front to back was Robot Dreams — the author I forget — which was the absolute cutest no-dialogue story I've ever laid eyes upon.

The very first novel was Black Betty, a tale about a black horse whose story and author I essentially now forget :lol: . It was in grade two ^^ and I showed my most hated teacher that I was capable of reading something bigger than fifty pages and barely any pictures. I was the first in my grade to actually start reading, too. Small victories are the biggest when you're just over six years old. For some reason, though, Mrs. Screw-her-face thought that I couldn't read :evil: .

After, like, grade three, I believe, I've never read anything with pictures in the novel. They just screw up the mental images that make my reading experiences the greatest (and the reason I read). Even the books that are age appropriate for me that have pictures and have been recommended to me I gave up as soon as I saw the first drawing. Technically, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series counts as books with pictures, but they are entertaining and aren't really novels to me.

What got me into literature was nothing in particular. I just really loved Black Betty I guess and every book I've read since has given me such a thrill. I place myself in the shoes of the protagonist and feel as though what happens in the story is actually happening to me. That's at least why I stick to literature and stuff. Also the writing styles of so many authors and poetic devices used outside of poetry.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Varislintu » 2015-01-13, 8:02

Hmm, yeah, comics.

I got the Maya the Bee comic when I was pre-school age, and also the Swedish Bamse (World's Strongest Bear?). I pretty much taught myself to read (with early help from my dad about letters) on those things.

A bit older than that, I was a big Donald Duck fan, specifically the Pocket Book series. The Finnish Donald Duck was excellently translated, with a very colourful language. I attribute a lot of my interest in colourful expression in Finnish to those comics. (Also, Donald Duck was probably the first thing where the lack of female characters that I could in any way like or feel kinship to was noticed by me. That and TV-cartoons, of course. Donald Duck universe women are vain, vapid, stupid things -- or ugly grumpy harps. Except maybe the witch duck, I don't know her English name. She at least did adventurous things on her own initiative.)

I didn't really get much encouragement on the book front as a child, though. All my books were pass-me-downs from my cousins, and I had no say in what their themes were. Anything from Bible stories to environmental activism. I don't think I got a single book as a gift ever, before I got much older and started to ask for specific ones for Christmas. It's honestly like nobody noticed how much I enjoyed stories and reading. Or it honestly never occurred to them to develop that. It's weird. I used the library, though. Now, the next generation of kids in my extended family get books all the time, and have bookcases packed full. I don't know what changed, but I'm glad for the little ones. They get some awesome stuff. :)
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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-13, 8:36

Varislintu wrote:A bit older than that, I was a big Donald Duck fan

My brother was, too, when he was growing up. So those were the comic books I ended up reading, too, apart from this, this, and Asterix, basically (and even the Asterix issues were mostly what my parents managed to buy cheap in India. :lol: I've read some Tintin, too, but that's never appealed to me as much for some reason).
the witch duck, I don't know her English name

Magica DeSpell (= Finnish (fi) Milla Magia)?

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Varislintu » 2015-01-13, 11:34

vijayjohn wrote:
the witch duck, I don't know her English name

Magica DeSpell (= Finnish (fi) Milla Magia)?


Yes, that's her. :)
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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Prowler » 2015-01-13, 18:21

Disney comics stopped being sold here around the turn of the century. 2002 or 2003 being the last year I saw them on sale. Suddenly, in 2012, I saw them all over stores, newspaper stands and supermarkets again. They're more expensive now and the stories are shorter and have less variety, form what I've noticed, at least. Also, EVERY story is by Italian authors now. Before that each book had stories by authors form different countries. If I recall, authors were mostly Brazilian, Italian, Danish, German or French. I personally liked the stories by Brazilian authors due to a lot of them being about football and also because they had that Brazilian character Zé Carioca, whose stories I liked a lot.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-13, 20:14

Prowler wrote:Disney comics stopped being sold here around the turn of the century.

Yeah, for a while, we would get comics in the mail (because my dad made a subscription), but IIRC, not long before the turn of the century, they started raising prices, so my dad stopped subscribing, and we stopped getting them.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Prowler » 2015-01-13, 21:53

vijayjohn wrote:
Prowler wrote:Disney comics stopped being sold here around the turn of the century.

Yeah, for a while, we would get comics in the mail (because my dad made a subscription), but IIRC, not long before the turn of the century, they started raising prices, so my dad stopped subscribing, and we stopped getting them.

I've never read Disney comics by American authors except the classics by Carl Barks and Don Rosa. Other than that, I've only been exposed to Disney through TV with cartoons such as Goof Troop and Ducktales. But those were not as good as most comic stories I've read. Ducktales was still fun, though.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-13, 22:21

Prowler wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
Prowler wrote:Disney comics stopped being sold here around the turn of the century.

Yeah, for a while, we would get comics in the mail (because my dad made a subscription), but IIRC, not long before the turn of the century, they started raising prices, so my dad stopped subscribing, and we stopped getting them.

I've never read Disney comics by American authors except the classics by Carl Barks and Don Rosa.

That's most of what we have, too. :lol:

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Prowler » 2015-01-14, 2:28

vijayjohn wrote:
Prowler wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
Prowler wrote:Disney comics stopped being sold here around the turn of the century.

Yeah, for a while, we would get comics in the mail (because my dad made a subscription), but IIRC, not long before the turn of the century, they started raising prices, so my dad stopped subscribing, and we stopped getting them.

I've never read Disney comics by American authors except the classics by Carl Barks and Don Rosa.

That's most of what we have, too. :lol:

Those stories are quite some decades old, though. And every story written by them that I have come across featured either Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck or both. Disney comics have always been popular here in Europe. pretty much everyone has grown up reading them. They were released on a monthly basis and there were several different book series, each consisted of several stories of all sizes. Come to think of it, I've never heard or read about Americans discussing Disney comics. When I happen to find ones is always an old one by Carl Barks or Don Rosa. Not to mention Disney characters are WAY different in comic book format than they are on tv. Mickey is usually a detective. Goofy is sometimes a superhero,.Scrooge is a cold and calculating cheap old ma... duck, etc. There's more depth to them in the comics. Also plenty of characters in the comics either never got their own show or shorts on tv or have only been briefly featured in one or two. I've also always wondered why Donald, Scrooge and the other ducks very rarely appear in the same stories as Mickey, Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, etc. I can only think of very few exceptions to this thing that seems like an unwritten rule of Disney comics. :hmm:

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-14, 5:50

Yeah, Disney comics are definitely way more popular in Europe than here, ironically, and probably most of the ones that we have are almost a century old now. :lol: When I was growing up, my dad was baffled by how most kids here, unlike me, seemed to be into comics that looked more violent to him. I also agree about how the characters were much more complex in the comics than in the TV series.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Varislintu » 2015-01-14, 6:56

The Donald Duck monthly pocket book series featured mostly characters from the "Donald universe", but also from the "Mickey universe". The ages of the stories varied a lot -- but of course the older pocket books had older stories. (At my collector's peak I owned almost all of the first 250 pocket books -- bought second hand mostly.)

There was a side-series of thinner pocket books with Mickey's "darker" detective stories which I liked (but it was mostly too expensive for me to purchase). I liked Mickey because he was smart, calm and fair. I've heard it said that in Europe, Mickey is generally people's favourite Disney comic character, except in Finland, where everybody loves Donald, because Finns can identify with his working man's plight. :lol: I did like Donald somewhat, but especially liked his super-hero alter-ego (in Finnish Taikaviitta). Because when he was Taikaviitta, he suddenly had so much more agency and intelligence and he could land on top for once. :wink:
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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-14, 9:24

My dad and brother both seemed to be more interested in Scrooge than in any of the other characters. Somehow, I get the impression that his character as an enterprising capitalist appealed to them personally.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Prowler » 2015-01-14, 16:01

Varislintu wrote:The Donald Duck monthly pocket book series featured mostly characters from the "Donald universe", but also from the "Mickey universe". The ages of the stories varied a lot -- but of course the older pocket books had older stories. (At my collector's peak I owned almost all of the first 250 pocket books -- bought second hand mostly.)

There was a side-series of thinner pocket books with Mickey's "darker" detective stories which I liked (but it was mostly too expensive for me to purchase). I liked Mickey because he was smart, calm and fair. I've heard it said that in Europe, Mickey is generally people's favourite Disney comic character, except in Finland, where everybody loves Donald, because Finns can identify with his working man's plight. :lol: I did like Donald somewhat, but especially liked his super-hero alter-ego (in Finnish Taikaviitta). Because when he was Taikaviitta, he suddenly had so much more agency and intelligence and he could land on top for once. :wink:

Is he really? Well, I definitely prefer Donald and Scrooge by far. I found Mickey boring and preachy. Not to mention I'm not a big fan of detective stories. Swedes have told me that Donald is huge in Sweden as well.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Varislintu » 2015-01-14, 17:17

Prowler wrote:Is he really? Well, I definitely prefer Donald and Scrooge by far. I found Mickey boring and preachy. Not to mention I'm not a big fan of detective stories. Swedes have told me that Donald is huge in Sweden as well.


So I heard a lot (that other countries like Mickey) in childhood, butI don't have any backing stats. It would be interesting to find out, actually. The EU could run a study. :lol:
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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Prowler » 2015-01-14, 18:05

I also disliked Mickey's and especially Donald's voice in the cartoons. Mickey's was already bad enough, but holy cow, Donald was completely unintelligible.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Yasna » 2015-01-14, 21:15

The first thing I can remember reading that wasn't required for school was books from the Goosebumps series, which I devoured in my later years of primary school. I finished each book on the day it came out, and R.L. Stine kindly pumped out a new one almost every month. I then moved on to the Fear Street series by the same author, which I read a few of. Ironically, I now have zero interest in reading or watching anything from the horror genre.

The next book I remembered reading for fun was Heir to the Empire, a novel from the Star Wars universe that I read in 7th grade. That was the beginning of my love affair with Star Wars that continues to this day, though the relationship was on the rocks after the prequels. I have a love/hate relationship with the friend who introduced me to that novel. The hate part comes from the fact that within a few hours of confiding with him that I had a huge crush on a girl in our class, everyone else in the class also knew it. I was extremely shy back then, and was absolutely mortified by his betrayal. I read about a dozen Star Wars novels before my next, video-game-induced dry spell came along.

The next stage came near the end of secondary school when I was obsessed with learning German and decided at some point that I needed to read books in German in order to advance to a high level. I mostly read translations of English books that I could find online, and had no clue about the scope of German literature. It was during this time that I happened upon and read a Japanese->English->German translation of Murakami's 国境の南、太陽の西, called Gefährliche Geliebte in that version (it has since been translated directly from Japanese to German and given the title it should have started with (Südlich der Grenze, westlich der Sonne), but thankfully I don't rely on translations of Japanese books any more, and have since read it in the original). Murakami would return again later in my life.

During college I became obsessed with learning Japanese, and stopped reading for pleasure until I had reached a level where I could read Japanese books. Around that time I also got the idea in my head that in order to be a well-educated person, I needed to read the classics. I also became very interested in science, geopolitics, and many more languages. All of this had an impact on my reading interests. Since then, my reading interests have extended farther and farther, and reading has become a central part of my life.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Lada » 2015-01-17, 17:05

Prowler wrote:So, when did you stop reading comic books and comic strips and got into "real" books?

Children in Soviet Russia didn't read comic books, even now this is something rare in bookshops. Folk tales of different nations, fairy-tales written by Russian and foreign authors, that's what children read here.
It was fashionable to have a large home library in Soviet times so reading was always part of the local culture. I learned alphabet at the age of 3, and was reading already at 4.
The first non-fairy-tale book I was hooked by was about Незнайка (fictional character created by Soviet author Nikolai Nosov), he was my favorite hero during childhood. I was reading well known books around the world too - Karlsson-on-the-Roof, Whinny the Pooh, the Moomins etc. Then I liked all books by Jules Verne as his books are considred for children here (we usually read them at 10-12 I suppose). I read all books about Sherlock Holmes when I was 10-12 too probbaly. Some Soviet literature was also in my list, I've read books by authors like Arkady Gaidar, Konstantin Paustovsky, Pavel Bazhov and many others.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-17, 18:52

Lada wrote:Folk tales of different nations, fairy-tales written by Russian and foreign authors, that's what children read here.

Probably the first thing written in Malayalam that I was ever exposed to was a Russian book of children's folktales translated into Malayalam. :)

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby Lada » 2015-01-18, 10:02

vijayjohn wrote:
Lada wrote:Folk tales of different nations, fairy-tales written by Russian and foreign authors, that's what children read here.

Probably the first thing written in Malayalam that I was ever exposed to was a Russian book of children's folktales translated into Malayalam. :)

Cool :) Among foreign folktales I remember reading Estonian and French (that was my favourite book for some time). Oh, and I loved stories about Indians, we still have full book collection by Fenimore Cooper and of course Jack London. Generally I loved reading about nature and animals. Actually I think I've read all the most popular world and Russian books for children and may be beyond.

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Re: How did you get into literature?

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-22, 17:43

I used to read a lot of folktales when I was young, too. I also liked ghost stories, even when they kept me up all night. (The first time I ever remember staying up until dawn was after reading a book about witches that scared the bejeezus out of me.)
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