One of the cool things about being adopted when you're a little kid is that it opens up your imagination to an entire realm of possibilities regarding where you came from. I could be anybody! And I suppose most little girls fantasize that they're princesses at some point in their little girl dreams, but their reality, when it was all said and done, was that they belonged to their family, and unless that happened to be the Royal Family, then true princesses they were not. Me, on the other hand, did NOT belong to my family. I had a whole other family somewhere out there and they could be anybody I wanted them to be in my mind! Maybe that's what makes me such a romantic at heart, all those daydreams as a little girl of being some stolen princess, held captive by this cruel, uncaring family, ever waiting for my Prince Charming to come rescue me and take me back home where I belonged once more. Okay...my adoptive family wasn't really all that cruel, unless I'd been grounded or suffering some other impervious injustice and I felt so forgotten and unappreciated...oh, so woe was poor me!
I also wonder if that's where my love of great epic novels of both fiction and fantasy comes from? I can get so swept away in some stories, I almost feel like I'm living in them. I truly don't understand people who don't love to read. They're obviously not reading the right books. Boring??? Reading?? Yeah, I've read some boring books, but you toss it aside and find a new one to read! Books are endless opportunities to go exploring wonderful new worlds, meet incredibly fascinating people and creatures. Anything can happen in books! My husband, one of the great non-readers, makes fun of me when I'm crying over a book I'm reading. "It's not real," he laughs. It doesn't have to be real, it just has to be believable, imaginable, and then it becomes real in my head.
A big, fat, juicy, epic novel is my all-time favorite escape. And I never truly appreciated fantasy novels until I fell head over heels into Harry Potter. JK Rowling has created such an incredibly realistic yet fantastical world, I think part of me still lives there at Hogwarts, long after I've finished reading all seven books and indulged repeatedly in the movies. I actually go into Potter-withdrawal some days and feel almost homesick, missing the comraderie and misadventures of the world's three favorite magical characters-Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Fortunately now there's Pottermore to explore--JK Rowling's new website to enhance the reading experience of her beloved books, so whenever I need a few minutes amid the magical world, it's only a few clicks away on the laptop!
Another favorite set is Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, a sweeping saga set way back in Medieval England. Knights and kings, and monks and priests, paupers and peasants, witch hunts and beheadings are all just the icing on the cake of these two rich works, wonderfully woven around the lives of Tom Builder's family, new and old. Mr. Follett released the first of a new trilogy earlier this year with The Fall of Giants, set in the more modern twentieth century. I couldn't let go of the Pillars pair and kept wanting to link Giants in with the other two books--which certainly doesn't work. They're completely unrelated, but my mind inextricably links Ken's writing with 12th century England now. Hopefully whenever the second book of this new trilogy comes out, I'll be past that confusion. One can always hope, right?
My latest reading adventure is amid George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice fantasy series. Five books long, I'll be able to hide away in this mystical world for a good while to come. I'm already completely wrapped up in the great cast of characters--the different Houses and Great Families. There's even a breakdown of the family trees in the appendix to help sort out who's who--it does get a little confusing. But he's got my full attention--I'm in for the long haul and looking forward to a great ride.
And there's still a little part of me, that given up little girl who can picture herself in these stories, as part of these families--that's the beauty of being adopted, I guess. I can still pretend to be anybody (even though I know a good portion of my birth family now and, yeah...they're not the Royal Family...but I don't know ANYONE from my birth father's side, so the possibilities are still wide open!) Seriously, I can't believe there are people who don't appreciate getting lost in a great story! That's almost tragic to think about all that they're missing...