The Spark Project [14]: Janus

The Spark Project is a semi-regular 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? :)

Featured today on The Spark Project: JANUS

Janus is not only one of the prettiest faces on The Filipino Group at Goodreads, but she is also a voracious reader - with a special liking for the young adult (YA) genre - and an uber-talented computer graphics artist. She recently tied the knot with the love of her life, and I'm thankful that she found the time to write something for The Spark Project. Oh, and she loves dogs, too. :D

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

When I am often asked this question before, the easiest answer I could give, without any further details, were Archie Comics. But the more I think about this matter, I’d have to say there was more than one book that sparked my love for reading. Whoops! I’m such a cheater, but hear me out.

This is going to sound really silly, but the first EVER book that I read all by myself was Macmillan Very First Dictionary: A Magic World of Words. I am not kidding. I know! It’s not even a novel.

Having to grow up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I’m often stuck at home, I can’t have playmates come visit all the time, and there was only so much playing and watching cartoons a kid like me can do. So that’s where this book came into picture. I don’t remember where it came from, or how I found it but I started reading out of sheer boredom. Along with The Story of Snow White and Other Tales (I don’t know how I found this one either, and when I started picking it up too), Macmillan Very First Dictionary were the only reading materials available, and strangely enough I was content with that.

Archie Comics came in later in my grade school years, around 3rd grade. I had a random trip to a used bookstore with my dad and my older brother while my mom was doing the groceries. Again, I was bored, and while my brother was checking out stacks of Marvel and DC Comic Books, Archie unintentionally caught my eye. Since then, whenever I got the chance, or to be more precise, when my parents agree to pay for them (we don’t get allowances then, there was no need for that), I take home an issue or two.

The first actual novel that I read… err, was read to me rather, was The Secret Garden. My dad bought it from a yard sale, and a great-uncle of mine thought to read it to me since I only looked at the pictures in them. It was only after reading Full House Michelle: The Great Pet Project, and Full House Stephanie: Hip Hop Till You Drop, did I think of picking up The Secret Garden and actually read it. Yes, those two have cheesy titles, but they were the first two books without pictures that I read by myself.

I don’t know which of these truly started off my love for reading, but I think each one did its fare share that gave birth to the kind of affection I have for books.

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

These books made a tremendous impact in my life.

For one, I now realized how I came to be such a freaking book hoarder! Do you know how many Archie comics there are? Not to mention Betty and Veronica’s issues, Jughead’s… I didn’t get as crazy as other collectors but I wanted them all! Also, I aimed to complete all the Full House books. Although I didn’t get to complete them no matter how hard I tried. I think that’s where most of my allowance went to when I finally started getting some after moving back to the Philippines.

I believe The Story of Snow White and Other Tales was the biggest influence over my reading preferences. I fell in love with fairy tales, and not just the ones told by Disney. I love Young Adult novels, one main reason is that they remind me of stories I first discovered when I was a kid. I love Fantasy books because they let me experience worlds like no other.

The Macmillan Dictionary and The Secret Garden were stepping-stones to my chosen profession, because aside from reading them, and looking at the pictures, I took time drawing sketches or copying the illustrations I see, and coloring in the pictures. I think that triggered the inner artist in me, the one I had yet to discover back then.


You can read about Janus's book reviews and other book-related stuff over at The Blair Book Project

Show her some love and say hi? :)


Louize DG said…
Yay, TSP is back!
And Janus loves dogs too! :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Janus! This makes me want to read The Secret Garden. There was an ABS-CBN cartoon series of it, but you might not have seen it if you lived in Riyadh as a kid. :)

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