The Spark Project [7]: MARIA

The Spark Project is a monthly blog feature where a reader and/or book blogger is invited to talk about that one book that sparked his/her interest in books and reading. He/She will tell us about the what-when-where-why-and-how of this topic, how his/her reading habits have evolved since encountering that book, and so on. Wouldn't it be fun and interesting as well to know how a fellow book lover discovered the wonderful world of books? :)

It's the last day of July (already?!), which means it's my last chance to publish this month's installment of The Spark Project. I intentionally moved the date of posting this until after the blog anniversary (+ giveaway) and the book club's discussion of The Remains of the Day over the weekend. So now that all those are done and over with, let's proceed to the featured reader/blogger for July, and that's none other than our good friend MARIA of reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac. :)

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Maria is this: that, like me, she is also a hardworking mom, and that part of our (respective) "me time" or "alone time" is heading off to a cafe for an hour or two, with a steaming cup of coffee, and a good book to keep us company. She is one of the most bubbly personalities in our book club, but she can talk sense and display intelligence when required. A quick run-through of her bookshelves will show that she enjoys young adult (YA) among all the genres. But hey, she also enjoys some literary and general fiction every once in a while: she loved two of my favorite books, Life of Pi by Yann Martel and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (yay!).

Maria will now share how she acquired her love for reading - and which book/s sparked that interest. ;)

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

Man, I couldn’t remember. It was ages ago! But I do remember the book series that started my obsession for reading: Nancy Drew. It introduced me into the kind of reading where I start and finish a book in just one sitting.

Way back in my sophomore year in high school, I went to the school library. Perhaps I was browsing for reference materials. In the shelf, I saw this long line of yellows. Intrigued, I went for that section. It was the (almost) complete collection of the Nancy Drew series. I picked one up and decided to borrow it overnight. The day after, I was changed. But of course I didn’t know I’ll be changed. All I know was that I borrowed every single book in that series everyday. I brought 2 books if it’s the weekend. When I finished all the ND books in the library, I went to the local bookstore to search for those missing books that are not available there. Unfortunately, they are expensive (boo!). I waited until college to buy them. I think I have four ND books on my shelf (yes, they are still expensive so I cannot afford the whole collection).

From Nancy Drew to Sweet Valley to Love Stories, these are my first taste at reading. Then I discovered historical romance novels from Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood. Moving on, I met Minette Walters, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Daniel Silva. Freshman year in college, I encountered Harry Potter. And so my love affair with YA fiction began.

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

(Don’t tell anyone, but books with serial killers in it are my favorites. Blame it on Caleb Carr. Although I haven’t manifested any psychopathic tendencies. Yet. Ha!)

I will always be drawn to mystery, suspense, crime, and thriller books. Even horror. If there’s something to be solved in a story, I’m in. I still have this tendency where I challenge myself to guess which of the characters the culprit is. A correct guess will lead me to pat myself in the back. It’s fun to analyze such stories! The suspense if where I get the high. But at the end of the day, I am a hopeless romantic. I want to read about other people’s love stories (fictional or not). In any genre that I read, it pleases me always if a little bit of love is incorporated in most unexpected circumstances. Really, what joy is it in reading if I can’t find positivity in it?

I read because I enjoy it. Mostly I use it as an escape. When life gets boring, I read fantasy. When it gets problematic, I read suspense. When life gets sad, I read romance. When it gets out of whack, I read sci-fi. Books will always be my teacher in “looking into someone else’s eyes”. Different stories help me understand behaviors that I don’t usually associate with myself: submission, longing, regret. Books teach me sympathy and empathy. They constantly teach me that while life will never be always good, it is never always bad, either.

Thank you, Maria!  :)


Anonymous said…
Huy Chami! It's you pala, hahaha! Are you really sure there no psychopathic tendencies are manifesting yet? :D
Lynai said…
Maria!!! Yay to Nancy Drew, SV, and Dean Koontz! I think we are on the same line there with respect to suspense and horror books. Have you read John Sanford books yet? If not, try one (especially the Prey series), and who knows, your psychopathic tendencies might surface! Haha! :P
Monique said…
BUDDY: Partida pa yan ha. Wala pang psychopathic tendencies si Chami(-chamian ko), hahaha!

LYNAI: Yay for mysteries and thrillers! :D
Peter S. said…
Hello, Monique!

I love that Maria has a lot of hardbacks in her shelves!

Maybe because I haven't met you or maybe my eyesight is just failing, but I have a difficult time distinguishing you from Maria in the few TFG F2F pictures that I've seen. Hehehehehe.
Monique said…
PETER: I think your eyesight is definitely, definitely failing. LOL!

Anyway, you'll meet both Maria and me soon enough, so I hope by then, your eyesight will have improved considerably. Hahaha! :)
Thank you for the feature, Monique! *hugs*

Chami: as far as i know, san pa ako. haha!

Lynai: *high five* haven't read any suspense books lately, but i have tons on my shelf TBR pa. LOL! will check out John Sanford. :)

Peter: Hello! I'm flattered you can't distinguish me from Monique :) Ganda ko naman! haha! I prefer hardbounds for my book collection ;)

Monique, again thank you! You and Chami influence me to read more general fiction and it's not that bad. Haha!

Monique said…
MARIA: Glad you're picking up more and more gen fic, haha. Yay! :D
Anonymous said…
Monique, this is a very good project. It's always interesting to know how fellow readers started their reading habits and how they find reading enjoyable.

Hi Maria! I'm sure reading Dean Koontz will bring out some psycho in you :) And Life of Pi has quite a disturbing perspective near the end, right? Haha. But hey, I'm with you on mysteries, plot twists and guess-who's-the-psycho kind of stories. They can be so much fun.

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