February 22, 2012

The Spark Project [2]: TINA

For the second installment of this project, the beautiful and smart TINA from One More Page will tell us about her "one book". But first, a short intro.

(YA and Chicklit) Blogger extraordinaire, fitness buff, computer whiz, and faithful Follower: all these and more rolled into one equals TINA. :)

When I signed up for GoodReads in August of 2010, Tina was one of the first people with whom I began to communicate online.  I didn't know any friends from The Filipino Group, which I had just joined, and by some forgotten twist of fate, I stumbled onto her profile. It says she's the nth of the "most followed" on GoodReads, and so I invited her as friend. A quick run-through of her shelves revealed that she has no copy of Ender's Game yet, a copy of which I almost always see at Book Sale outlets (which I am ashamed sorry to admit that I haven't read yet, either). So I sent her a private message, asked her if she wanted a copy which I could send over via snail mail, she said OK, and voila. I have ONE friend on GoodReads. :)

We always see each other at GR meetups, but because she's one bubbly and friendly personality, we only get to talk for, like, 5 minutes, tops. It was only during the last two meetups (Christmas party and 1984 book discussion) that we got to really talking, and Tina is as enthusiastic in person as she is online. She claims to be talkative, but that's an understatement, really. :D

Tina is the only female moderator of TFG-GR and - don't forget this! - will celebrate her 26th birthday this coming March 17. :)

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(1) What is the one book that sparked or kindled your love for reading? Describe the circumstances in which you found or discovered it.

Oh. Hm, this is hard. Okay this is a very rare book, and it's VERY VERY hard to find a copy of this now. In fact, I don't even know where my copy is. I don't think the book is available anywhere anymore, unless someone has a copy that they're willing to let go of it. Or perhaps in Book Sale. Or ebay. Wanna know what it is?

Sweet Valley Kids # 34: The Best Thanksgiving Ever.

I was 8 years old, I think, when I saw my classmate flipping through a book with a colorful cover during class. I borrowed one and started to read it. My classmate didn't want to lend it to me overnight (hmph), so I decided to take note of it and ask my parents for a copy. I had fully intended to get the same book I borrowed because you know, I wanted to finish it. I couldn't find it, and then I couldn't choose. Since I was still young, my mom decided to choose for me, the one with the nicest title. By "nice", that means no "romantic love" or "evil" or anything that would supposedly lead me astray. So you see why the book was the first choice because of the title. (Oh, but it was a very good book!)

That got me addicted to Sweet Valley and reading and everything else followed after that. I stuck to Sweet Valley when I was a kid, moving to Sweet Valley Twins & Friends and The Unicorn Club when I hit late elementary school. I never really transitioned to SVH or SVU, though (which is probably the reason why I read a lot of YA now). My parents and I tried to have a one book a month agreement, but I finish reading the books too soon that I end up asking for another one before the month ends. I had to promise high grades just to get a new book. :P

During high school, my best friend introduced me to Animorphs by K.A. Applegate, and OMG I loved that series with my whole heart. I loved it so much that I actually believed there were brain-infesting slugs among us. I have almost all of that complete at home (I'm not sure how they look now, though), going back to the bookstore every month to get a new copy, until I stopped collecting because I didn't read much. Then I saw the series end, and I wanted to get the books I missed. Now it's hard to find them. And I still don't have the heart to let them go.

(2) How has it affected you - both your life in general and as a reader?

Well, I remember my dad would read me different stories back when I was a kid, so the love for the written word has always been there. I never really thought of what a big impact Sweet Valley had for me, except that it made bookstores my candy store. I could browse around the SV section for HOURS back then. Oh and I guess Elizabeth Wakefield influenced me to be a writer since she wanted to be one too. But now that I think about it, I think being introduced to Sweet Valley first is a big influence on my choosing realistic stories over the speculative ones. Not that I don't enjoy fantasy now, but if you put me in a bookstore and I had to choose between the contemporary books over the fantasy/scifi/horror/insert-similar-genre here, I would go to contemporary in a heartbeat.

As for Animorphs, I realize that I DID read some scifi when I was young. I always thought I wasn't a scifi reader, but it turns out majority of my high school years were with aliens and animal-morphing humans. :P My favorite part of my Animorphs days, though, was how I was able to share it with my best friend. It made discussing theories more fun. It was also around that time when I got connected to the Internet and the Animorphs website was one of the first websites I ever visited (other than Backstreet Boys' official website LOL). Oh, and I learned how to take care of my books better with Animorphs because I learned how to cover my books properly -- they were pretty complicated to cover with plastic.

And...don't judge me, but it makes me kind of sad that the kids of today will no longer have Sweet Valley to ease them into reading. (Animorphs is going through a reprint and I've seen the new covers lately -- not as good as the old covers, IMHO) Not that Sweet Valley were really excellent books, but they were nice fluffy reads and it got me started. I always find people who grew up with Sweet Valley kindred souls. :) I have donated most of my Sweet Valley books for my book club's first outreach at Virlanie, and I hope the kids there would find fun in the fluffy world of Sweet Valley. :)

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Tina blogs about her favorite books, reviews, and other-book related stuff over at One More Page, if you didn't catch that yet. She also keeps a personal blog here, and this is where you can find her profile on GoodReads.

Thanks Tina, for agreeing to be featured in this project and for the pictures. Happiness and love always. <3 See you soon! :)


Peter S. said...

Yay! I love Tina and her blog! I've never read a Sweet Valley novel, but I was a sucker for The Bobbsey Twins when I was in grade school.

Monique said...

Hi Peter! Thanks for dropping by! :)

I love Tina and her blog, too! That's why I thought of having her guest-post; I think a lot of people would love to hear about how she started on reading. :)

Peter S. said...

Oh, I forgot to mention -- Tina and I share the same birthday! We're St. Paddy's Day babies! Hehehe.

Monique said...

Really? Wow! It ought to be a double celebration then! :)

Who's older, er, younger? Haha. :)

Anonymous said...

I felt the importance of the Sweet Valley High books while we were covering them. And yes, we all love Tina and her blog (surprise!) despite the difference in the books that we read. I visit it mostly because Tina is a wonderful writer and a humble person. (Buddy, please stop me from saying more, hahaha.)

Monique said...

ANGUS: While I didn't read Sweet Valley books during my time, I STILL read some YA books like Sweet Dreams. :)

I think we're all in agreement here: we LOVE Tina!

Shush, Buddy. Be a good girl now, haha! :P

Tina said...

Peter: Hi birthday buddy! Haha. Yay for St. Patrick's Day babies! :) I have only read one Bobbsey book when I was young -- it was the ice skating mystery if I remember correctly. I remember being amazed because they're more than one set of twins. :D

Angus: Awww <3 Don't worry, we have a few books in common. And you will read a YA book soon, yay! (I'll bring Jellicoe this weekend :D)

Monique: Thanks again for this feature. <3

Monique said...

Tina: You're welcome, and thank YOU. :) <3

Lynai said...

Yay to Tina! I love her blog too! :) And yay to Sweet Valley! I grew up with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield too. I remember feeling so heartbroken when Liz and Todd did not end up together in Sweet Valley High. Haha. :)

Tina said...

Lynai: I liked Elizabeth as a writer, but I realize when I read SV Confidential that I never really liked her that much. And I also didn't like Todd. I really liked Lila in SVT and in Unicorn Club. I didn't really read a lot of SVH so I wasn't sure who Jessica's boyfriends were but I knew Elizabeth had a few. :D

Wendy Darling said...

I will always picture our lovely Tina sitting on a couch with a secretive smile (but with a copy of Sweet Valley Twins) whenever I talk to her on GoodReads now!

Great interview, love this feature. :)

Wendy @ The Midnight Garden