I didn’t actually crack the reading thing until I was about 11. But I found that this sci-fi stuff was significantly more interesting than Enid Blyton and ‘interesting’ increased the likelihood of actually reading. It was still pretty much hard going, though. I had, however, read and adored Andre Norton’s Beastmaster. I might not be faffed about reading (it was HARD), but this sci-fi had something to it…
So as a typically square peg/round hole kid, I went looking for sci-fi to read.
I could recall when I’d been tiny, Mam reading The White Dragon. I’d hung on the back of her armchair pestering her about the library book with the white dragon on the front. It was brick thick. And there were no pictures! Mam had told me about it and I’d got a bit confused, and thought that Jaxon was the dragon and Ruth was the rider, but that was irrelevant. Dragons, I had thought, back as an eleven year old, I will check out these dragons. I can remember, remembering about Anne McCaffrey’s books
At the local library, I didn’t find any of the Pern books, but what I did find was a book of short stories by Anne McCaffrey. In it was the story of Kevan The Smallest Dragonboy.
Kevan was my introduction to the worlds of Anne McCaffrey. Menolly who thought playing music was like flying a dragon. Prickly Lessa. Compassionate and brilliant Robinton. F’nor and Canth (my favourite dragon). I cried my little heart out when I read Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. I read Decision at Doona under the covers by torchlight until four o'clock in the morning. The Ship that Sang took me three goes before I understood what it was about, there was so much going on it it. I reread Anne McCaffrey's books. And I reread them. And I reread them. I came this >||< close to playing hooky as 13 year old and making my way to a local university where Anne McCaffrey was giving a lecture. I didn’t play hooky and I regretted it a lot. I did actually meet her when I was twenty four at book signing. And I got to thank her in person for many years of reading pleasure.
Anne McCaffrey’s stories were amazing – They taught me to love reading.