Without further ado, here is the week's topic:
Your Reader’s Story
How did you become a reader? What factors influenced you to take it up as a hobby? For instance, was it your mom who read to you every night? Or was it a high school friend who started lending you books? Or maybe it was a really inspiring teacher whom you wanted to emulate. Whatever it was, we hope you tell us all the story of how you became a leisure reader and what it is about reading that you enjoy so much.
From the moment I read the last pages of our hardbound copy of "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum as a small child, still lost in and mesmerized by the story and dreaming about the Yellow Brick Road and Emerald City, I was hooked on reading. No one really influenced me to take up reading as a hobby; I just fell in love with it. (Can I use the word serendipity?) And although I remember my mother reading to me during the years when I still didn't know how to read (I remember one story distinctly: "Baba Yaga and The Little Girl with the Kind Heart", author unknown), I picked up the hobby all on my own.
My parents didn't always buy books back then, but I was pretty much content with my weekly fare of Funny Komiks and Liwayway. Yes, I read those. I read the broadsheets with my father every day, and I loved our Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia set - I read every single volume, and would reread my favorite ones. I even read the newspaper pages that were used to wrap the tinapa or daing that my mother would buy from the market. My father used to chastise me for reading even at dusk ("nag-aagaw dilim at liwanag"), saying that it was one surefire way to ruin my vision. True enough, I'm now almost blind as a bat without my glasses and/or contact lenses. :)
My high school years were my Sweet Dreams phase. For those of you who are in my age group, you know the series: thin novels with large print, each one written by a different author, with book covers featuring a pretty teenage model, usually photographed to depict the (girl) protagonist in the book. I just chanced upon one book, "Questions of Love" by Rosemary Vernon (yes, I can even remember the title and the author!) on my teenage (back then) cousin's shelf, thought the girl on the cover looked pretty, proceeded to read it, and, again, I was hooked. The series has been out of print for decades now, but I'm still in the process of completing all 233 titles. (I'm around 20 titles shy.) So, while everyone else was into Nancy Drew, Frank and Joe Hardy, and Choose Your Own Adventure (although I did read a few of those, too), I was well into reading Sheri Cobb South, Janet Quin-Harkin, and Linda Joy Singleton, all of Sweet Dreams fame.
When I've outgrown the Sweet Dreams novels, I started to read the legal thrillers. My enthusiasm for the genre was borne of my interest in the law, mysteries in general, and my (then) intended profession. So I devoured John Grisham novels as fast as I can get hold of them, content with mass paperback copies I would buy for a song at Book Sale outlets. "The Firm" was one of my first favorites, and John Grisham became the author for me. As some readers would put it, Grisham became one of my "auto-buy" authors.
Eventually, friends started recommending new authors, genres, and titles as well, and I picked them up for variety. It was a pleasant surprise that I learned to love these other genres as well: fantasy, YA, occult, paranormal, children's books, classics. I also learned to keep track of the newest bestsellers that are available in the market, and read them whenever I get the chance.
So, even though I couldn't think of any one person who introduced or influenced me where reading is concerned, I wish to be able to raise my child as a reader and lover of books. I want her to be able to feel how fun it is to read, to appreciate the things that being a voracious reader can offer, to learn how to immerse herself in the stories that she reads. These, and more, are the things that I love about reading. And the first book I'm going to read to my daughter? "The Wizard of Oz".