I may not be human, but I was always a bookworm. Rather than meeting real people, I preferred to meet the people (or animals, in the case of the books I read to start) invented in stories, since I'd already determined they tended to be more interesting. At the behest of a concerned teacher, my parents forced me to do something social, and I was given the choice between getting on the ice with blades on my feet, colliding into people with sticks, or kicking a soft ball around on the grass. I chose the latter. It was a wonderful decision. But not because I ever became fond of the game.
I met Ryan on the soccer field. He was good and I sucked, but we hit it off. The irony here, was that in going to Ryan's house, where I was supposed to hone my soccer skills, I found his family's collection of books instead. Who knows how long it would have been before I read The Fellowship of the Ring if I hadn't found it on his bookshelf of all places—and he hadn't even read the damn thing! I borrowed it and read it in just a few nights, then immediately convinced my parents to buy me the trilogy. Convincing Ryan to read it was harder, but in time it happened. The rest is history.
My tastes shifted over the years, and I started to find I preferred the grittier type of fantasy. I still love the cheerful classics, but when Ryan and I fought over books on the list, I let him get most of those, so that I could stake a claim on my true precious: the grimdarks. I have a feeling this may cost me some votes, but maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps there's an army of like-minded readers who will put me ahead in the oh-so-important poll at the bottom of the main page. After all, modern fantasy has taken a turn toward more realistic stories, ruled by characters of grey as opposed to black and white heroes and villains. Ultimately, the winner of the poll doesn't matter. What matters is that there is a ton of great fantasy out there, and I can help to make sure you don't miss any of it.
Soccer, hockey, school, sleep. That was essentially my life before my fellow avatar and friend Chris opened my eyes to fantasy novels—a thing I resisted for quite some time. I thought I hated reading. The only things I'd read prior was stuff that I was forced to by my parents (they gave up easy) and teachers. The Lord of the Rings was not just the first fantasy book that I read, but the first book I ever enjoyed. It was an incredible experience that left me salivating for more, and to this day I cannot get enough of the thrills of other-worldly adventures.
Fantasy books have shaped my life in many ways. They've given me an immense appreciation for nature, and I love to hike around in the cold, wet forests of British Colombia, which are magical in their own right. I drag Chris along when I can, but more often than not it's just me and my rescue lab, blazing new trails to windy peaks in our own mini-adventures. There's little more exciting for a fantasy fan than to find themselves lost (literally, in some cases) in inhospitable terrain, then having to survive the frigid night and navigate back home when the sun finally rises. It's only happened quite like that once, but I'll never forget it. In addition to hiking, I also discovered a love for fencing thanks to fantasy. I find sabre to be the most fun, as it allows for edge strikes more like the swords in my favourite novels.
Typically, I like traditional fantasy. Twists, turns, and drama are great, but I do not enjoy a book that leaves me feeling depressed. Some of the new grimdark stuff is excellent, but my preference is for lighter fare, with some humour to it as well. That being said, I hate bad fantasy with a passion. Don't recommend to me that I should read Robert Newcomb due to the fact that I love Terry Goodkind for what he did for the genre. The difference is night and day.