As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading. My mom’s always told me that I learned to read very early. My parents didn’t even know I knew how until one day, when I was about 3, I was sitting on my dad’s lap at the kitchen table and I read part of the newspaper headline. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I remember being very confused when I was in early elementary school about why everyone else couldn’t read as well as I could. In first grade, my teacher made a reading group for myself and two others, all of us already reading simple chapter books, while the rest of the class was still learning the basics.
All through elementary school, one of my favourite things was going to book sales at the public libraries where they let you fill a bag of books and buy it for a small fee. I think it was something like $1 or $2 per bag, with as many books as you wanted. I literally brought home hundreds! It turned out that most of these were books that I never ended up reading. Many were parts of a series, or classics that I thought I should have. I also spent years collecting children’s non-fiction because, at the risk of sounding very dorky, I was annoyed with my school not covering topics I was interested in and wanted to design my own version of what should be taught instead.
I’ve always devoured books, although I ended up taking an unintentional break from reading through university and college because after reading for assignments, the last thing I wanted to do was pick up another book. I got back into it in a huge way because of reading challenges, the first of which was the PopSugar challenge two years ago. On a whim, I decided to try it to get back to reading more, and reading challenges have become a bit of an obsession.
I found this tag while browsing for new book blogs earlier today, and this was one of a few that I found most interesting. I found this tag on Kourtni Reads, link here.
1) Do you have any childhood favourites? (I’m thinking along the lines of those chapter books in elementary school)
I had many childhood favourites. I was a huge fan of anything by Dr. Seuss, Robert Munsch and Disney picture books. As I got older, I loved The Boxcar Children, the Magic Treehouse series, Nancy Drew and especially The Babysitter’s Club. And definitely the Junie B. Jones series! I also really liked the Adventures of the Bailey Schools Kids series, a chapter book series about a group of kids who kept thinking that people in their community were various paranormal creatures.
2) Is there a book/series that really got your reading hobby snowballing?
In the first place, I’d have to go with The Babysitter’s Club. That was the first series that I really remember trying to collect everything, including side series and even some of the merchandise. It was also the longest series that I ever read, and I re-read the books so many times. It definitely wasn’t the start of my interest in reading, but i it was a huge contributor since it was the first series I really committed to.
3) Are there any books you enjoyed, even though you had to read them for school?
Actually, I generally tend not to enjoy books when I am forced to read them but most of the time I like them when I re-read later. The only book I can really remember enjoying the first time I read it as a required reading was The Kite Runner, which was mandatory for my 11th grade English class. In university, I took a Children’s Literature course, and then in college, I took an elective devoted to fairy tales and fables, and these were two of my favourite classes. I enjoyed most of the reading for those classes, although to be fair, many of the children’s literature books were re-reads.
Come to think of it (which I only did when I started answering the next question), the first books that I loved because of hearing them at school were The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and Charlotte’s Web. I’ve never really considered those required reading since the teacher read them out loud to us, so I guess in my mind, I didn’t “read” them myself at school.
4) Was there a book that changed the genres you read? (ie. you were an avid reader of contemporary, but now it’s all about those dragons)
There are two specific examples I can pinpoint for this. The first is Isabel: Jewel of Castilla by Carolyn Meyer, the first book in the Royal Diaries series. This was another childhood series that I quickly became obsessed with. Ironically enough, this is one of two in the series that I never managed to buy since it went out of print by the time I started collecting them all. This was the first historical fiction that I really remember reading, and it got me very interested in the genre as a whole.
The other major one was of course Harry Potter. I’d read a few fantasy books before that, including some of the Narnia series, but I can’t remember fantasy being a genre I really reached for very often. Harry Potter was one of those series that I actively avoided because of all the hype, but once the first few pages were read to us at school as part of a “book chat” day at the library, I was obsessed. Since then, I’ve been a lot more open to reading other fantasy books and especially series.
5) Are there any other books/series that hold a special place in your heart?
One of my favourites as a child was No Such Thing as a Witch by Ruth Chew. It was a book I read over and over, about two siblings who discover their neighbour is a witch after eating some of her fudge which turns them into animals.
Actually, I loved almost any book that had to do with animals. I love stories about dogs. One of my favourites was A Boy in The Doghouse, about a young boy trying to train his new puppy so his parents will let him keep it. I remember being very upset by one particular story, which I only recently rediscovered the name of. The book was called A Dog for Jesse, about a boy who wants to adopt a three-legged dog but already has dog of his own. In the end, the boy decides to give up his dog to rescue the injured one instead, because he believed his dog would be able to find a home easily, but the injured dog wouldn’t. Now that I’m older it makes sense, but I remember feeling so betrayed by that book! I was devastated that Jesse would give up a dog he’d already had for a long time and bonded with. I’m not sure if I’d say it holds a special place in my heart, but it’s definitely memorable.
There were lots of other books that I loved. I enjoyed the Amelia Bedelia series. I loved Frog & Toad, and I especially loved the Berenstain Bears series — although spelling it that way still seems wrong! I was also a huge fan of the Little Critter series. I also read the Little Golden Book series, which were mainly Disney books. My dad used to travel quite a bit, and on several of his trips, he brought back books that would “talk” when you pushed buttons. I was obsessed with those!
6) What kind of bookworm are you now? You can mention anything. Can you easily read 100 books in 6 months? A slower reader? Are you a mood reader or do you set book goals? Do you hoard books? Do you have 79084 books on your TBR list?
I am definitely a bookworm now. My current obsession is doing reading challenges, but my main genres are YA, contemporary, historical fiction and fantasy. I can generally read about 2-3 books per week, depending on the book length and how much time I have. I generally average about 10-12 books per month, so I don’t think 100 in 6 months is realistic for me.
I would say I’m a bit of a mood reader but I also set long-term goals. When I do my reading challenges, I tentatively plan my whole year in advance but with flexibility to change things as needed, either when I lose interest or if I can’t get the book I want. I order the books from the library and suspend the holds until I’m ready to read them. I resume a set of 6 – 8 at a time to be available, usually including a variety of different lengths and genres. So I guess in that sense, my goal is to finish that set before moving on to the next, but it’s also partly mood reading since I pick which ones based on what I feel like at the time.
I definitely hoard books. My shelves are literally overflowing. I have a family member who works at the public library and can sometimes get books free or at least for cheap before they are discarded, so we manage to get a lot that way. My TBR currently has 1364 books on it.
7) Do you have a shelfie for us?
I don’t, actually! To be fair, the majority of my books aren’t even on shelves, so “shelfie” might be a bit of a broad term. I’ll have to take one at some point, but maybe when things get a little more organized.
8) Who do you tag?
This tag has been around for quite a while, so I’m sure most people have done it already. Anyone who’s interested, consider yourself tagged!
In case you haven’t done this one already, I will tag: