Friday, April 1, 2011
I am following up on Fiz' book meme
1. Did you grow up in a book-loving household, and did your parents read to you? Pick a favourite book from your childhood, and tell me about it.
Yes I did. Books have always been important to my family, my parents would read for me, but they would also tell old folklore stories and fairy tales that weren't written down. The bedtime story telling/reading time is something I still look back on with great fondness and a tradition I continued with my own kids. I have to admit that I loved telling/reading stories for my kids just as much as I loved hearing them as a kid myself. It was a precious routine, my kids would refer to something I read and bring up topics from their day's event and we'd talk about it, just as my parents would do with me. My favorite books that my parents read to me again and again would have to be Tove Janson's Moomin tales. I loved the whole moomin universe and Little My was and still is my favorite - I've even got a tattoo of her. Jansons' books taught me about compassion, friendship, tolerance, about not giving up on your dreams. I read the old moomin stories for my own kids too, but by then there were videos and they would watch the videos and recognize the stories from the books and love them all the more.
2. What was one of the first 'grown-up' books that you really enjoyed?
That would have to be Tolkien's The Hobbit. One of my older sisters was into fantasy and had a paperback version of The Hobbit in English. She had told me about it briefly and I just couldn't help myself. I struggled through that book for 6 months and I loved every bit of it. English is a second language and back then we didn't start learning English in school until we were 10 years old. I didn't understand everything I read, so at 15 I read it again and sure enough, I loved it even more then.
3. Pick a favourite book that you read in your 20s or early 30s - especially if it's one which helped set you off in a certain direction in life.
I didn't really have much time for leisure reading in my 20s I read a lot from I was 15 - 20 that perhaps molded my way of thinking and my way of interacting with others. I can't pick one single book, I'll have to pick a genre instead. The fantasy genre was by far my favorite and because of some poor translations, I would prefer reading them in English. I went on to study English at the university and I've used English both in my work and in my free time ever since I picked up that first Tolkien book. During these years my older sister was my biggest influence in what authors I would read. In my 20s I preferred Fantasy, as I got 30 I would alternate between Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but I still can't manage Sci-Fi IF THR S 2 MHC SCIFI SPEEK Books were expensive and there were no English books at our local library, so my sister and I would agree to which books to buy and then we'd share them - this has since spread to our entire family. My sisters, my parents and my nieces and nephews and now my kids all swap books back and forth whenever we visit each other.
4. What's one of your favourite books that you've found in the last five years, and how has blogging or the reading of blogs changed your reading habits?
Again, I have trouble picking a single book, but my preferences have changed somewhat in the last 5 years. Reading blogs and discussing books on forums have had a huge impact on my choices, or perhaps it is more correct to say that they have broadened my horizon. I'll be forever grateful for all the 'new' authors my online friends and bloggers have introduced me to. I find that I now prefer a much darker type of Fantasy. Authors like Lynch, Abercrombie, Weeks, Rothfus - King and Gaiman have been long time favorites, but I wouldn't have known about many of the others if it weren't for online blogs and forums. As for my reading habits, I don't know if they've changed all that much, I still have as much trouble putting down a book I like as I have ever had. I still have to force myself to go to bed, because I need to get up early the next day. I still count minutes until I can sit down and pick up the book again. I believe that will be the case for me always.
5. For your final choice - a guilty pleasure, or a favourite that might surprise people!
Oh dear. The guilty pleasure reads -shifty eyes- I've got them alright and I think I've mentioned them somewhere too. Anne Bishop's Black Jewel series and Gena Showalter's Lord of the Underworld series, I tried one of her young adult series, but it made me throw up in my mouth, so I never finished that one... It was my niece who introduced me to Anne Bishop and I borrowed a few of her books to check them out. They were different from anything I had read. Bishop played around with the good vs bad notion. Here we have Saetan Deamon SaDiablo high lord of Hell and his sons and allies being the good guys. You have the female witches as being the ones 'on the top' while the males are plenty strong and fierce enough, the female witches are the ones holding the leash. She also uses a somewhat dark wit and sarcasm that has always appealed to me. There is explicit sex and SM and whatnot that I didn't know were allowed being sold except in porn shops and I forbid my kids to read them until they've turned 18 and/or have been in a steady relationship for more than a year. (my kids would sometimes pick books off the shelves based on the covers, so I pointed out the ones they were not allowed to even open as it was much easier - and no, they have not felt the need to go against my advice one these things yet).
Gena Showalter is another matter. I think it was the sheer madness of her mixing Greek mythology into her warped up stew that drew me into her world. Contemporary paranormal romance, I think this genre is called. It's hilarious far beyond the point of being ridiculous in so many ways that I find myself howling with laughter at times. Then there are the main characters - hotter than fire, sexy, handsome male immortals housing the demons of Pandora's box. More muscles than brain, but enough compassion to last a few lifetimes. When hubby asked me what the hell I was reading that amused me so much, I told him I had found a new genre - housewife porn for wives that aren't particularly into housework. As I sometimes use audio books, he has listened to some of it and yes, he was howling along with me, but his first question after listening the first time was: "I wonder how this female author looks like or what kind of life she's lead to be able to dream up these male characters of hers?" I told him we'd probably be better off not knowing...