Okay, the title is a bit misleading. I've been an obsessive reader for a very long time. But over the past year, TV shows have profoundly impacted my reading habits.
Growing up, my genre choices were self-limited. I read large amounts of non-fiction, but few types of fiction. I would only touch contemporary and historical fiction. Granted, I did read all age groups from middle grade to YA to adult, even after I finished law school.
Then came Harry Potter and I was willing to give the occasional fantasy a try. Then came Twilight and I sucked up every YA paranormal fantasy my hungry paws could grab. Then came blogging and I discovered a true passion for high fantasy and even adult romance (which I had turned my arrogant nose up at for years).
Two genres were still closed off to me: Science Fiction and Mysteries
Sure I read the occasional mystery and enjoyed it, like the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley. And the occasional sci-fi-ish book, like the Scarlet series by Marissa Meyer. By and large though, the sci-fi and mystery novels that other bloggers raved about sat unopened on my shelves.
Enter two TV shows: Doctor Who and Sherlock (with Firefly as an honorable mention).
To say I am obsessed would be putting it mildly. I have been on a romantic whirlwind with the lovely Doctor (all 13 of them! 14 if you count 10.5 and who wouldn't want to spend a few more minutes with David Tennant) and the Consulting Detective for almost a year now.
Here are two shows that fit precisely into my hated book genres, sci-fi and mystery. Pretty soon I had to consider the shocking fact that if I like such TV shows, maybe I'd like similar books.
I started with sci-fi. I picked up Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. To my surprise, I loved it (I shouldn't have been surprised - he did write for classic Doctor Who). I began reading YA sci fi that dealt with time travel and hyperspace like All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. They were two of my favorite books in months. Thanks to Doctor Who (as well as Firefly), I understood a lot of the sophisticated discussion about time travel. I also realized that science fiction is less about science and far more about the human condition, something I should have figured out long ago.
Then I gave mysteries a try. Much to my mother's chagrin, I wasn't captivated by Nancy Drew as a child. I didn't dislike them, but I much preferred Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley Twins. The older I got, the more books with mystery as the central theme usually bored me. But given my love for Sherlock, I decided to turn to the source - the great detective writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Turns out I love the original Sherlock Holmes stories. I'm now making my way through Leslie Klinger's gigantic three volume Annotated Sherlock Holmes books. And I've fallen in love with another mystery series: Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series. I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the first in the series, on vacation and can't get enough.
A medium that was supposed to be the death-knell of books has instead been the impetus I needed to break into the last two book genres that held me at bay. I'm now attacking science fiction and mystery novels with a convert's zeal and loving every minute of it. I owe the BBC my thanks (not to mention, the handsome David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith, and Nathan Fillion. And don't forget Alan Tudyk).