“You can get lost in the world of fiction even when you have a map to guide you because imagination knows no boundaries.”
– Rose Min
I started reading serious materials when I was 9 years old. It was prompted by my father’s insistence in getting added education we couldn’t possibly get in the schoolroom. You see, my dad is a big advocate of learning through reading. He also has a degree in English, therefore, he expected his children to be wide readers as well.
He started my training by introducing me to Homer, Shakespeare, the Bronte Sisters, Verne, Dickens, Hardy, Austen and many more. He heaped hardbound copies in front of me, giving me enough reading materials to last an ordinary person’s lifetime. He even set a task for me to finish at least a couple of chapters in one of the numerous prescribed books and made an effort to quiz me on it every Sunday during luncheon meals. I think he did that just to check if I’m reading or not. Of course, I did. I want my father to be happy and proud of me, just like with my oldest sister.
Several years later, after that quite semi-traumatic introduction to the written word, I developed a deep love and fascination to it. I gradually branched out to other fiction genres, dipping into anything that I can get my hands on until my journey to discovering my niche stopped.
It’s inevitable. I fell deeply in love with all sub-genres of romantic fiction as well as fantasy and science fiction.
My love of the romance genre started when I was introduced to Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Lisa Kleypas, Johanna Lindsey, Jayne Anne Krentz (a.k.a. Amanda Quick), Arnette Lamb and so on by my friendly neighborhood bookstore, my mother and my best friend — who’s also a wide reader like me. I think it’s one of the reasons we bonded so well back in high school. Up until now, we still confer to each other about books — what to read and not to read — and other stuff that interests us both.
As for fantasy, my love started when I discovered J.R.R. Tolkien and his immortal “The Lord of the Rings” masterpiece. Because of the genius of Tolkien, I collected all of his books including my favorite — The Silmarillion – the precursor to all that happened in Middle Earth and land of the Valar. How I wish Peter Jackson or someone highly creative, innovative and qualified to make a film version would do this incredible addition to mankind’s genius. I mean, forget about Harry Potter or the Twilight series, the Middle-Earth series trumps everything when it comes to imagery and compelling plots. It’s good versus evil all the way. The books even inspired George Lucas’ Star Wars! If that don’t beat all!
Now, my love of fantasy encompasses works by George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. LeGuin and Eoin Colfer. There are even some sci-fi favorites thrown in like Heinlen, Jim Butcher and Philip K. Dick. It’s really quite evolving and branching out to the visual versions.
My journey through the written word didn’t stop there. I grew to love comics and Manga. It started when I was introduced to The Uncanny X-Men. I love Marvel and Image comics. One of my classmates would often loan his copies (in bulk) for me to pore through during the weekends and I gobbled them up like a bowl of buttery popcorn. My love of Manga started when publication of my favorite Anime series’ based on Manga (Japanese comic books) became available in the market. It was quite pricey back then, but thank God there’s the Internet now and free Manga reading to boot!
From then on, I create a TBR (To Be Read) list every year so I wouldn’t miss out on things because there’s just too much to take on.
My eclectic tastes nowadays extends towards general fiction, with favorites like Steve Berry, Dan Brown, Raymond Khoury, Khaled Hosseini, Bill Napier, Paul Christopher and so on. Most likely, most of the titles I’ve read or still in my TBR list are movie tie-ins or novels that made people gaga over it.
I also love urban fantasy, with favorites like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lynsay Sands, J.R. Ward, Alyssa Day, Kerrelyn Sparks, Jeaniene Frost, Alexis Morgan and Lara Adrian to name a few. Erotic romance — a well-kept secret for years since it’s a taboo topic to discuss in close circles and no one in my immediate circle knew about it other than my best friend Hazel, but somehow, it’s gone mainstream now with EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy leading the lot, so I’m not ashamed to say it out-loud now. Yes, I like erotica. So what?
To make it into my TBR list, book titles must be readily available in the market or in e-book edition. They must have good reviews with a compelling plot and interesting characters.
I know I’ve blabbed enough, so I’ll leave you with a promise of updating this segment as much as I can with individual pages to browse through. I will launch this fully as soon as possible, so stay tuned.