I remember getting hooked to reading was when I was in second grade, and I borrowed books from my cousin’s library. Of course, the books were not too intellectual, they were actually kid’s fiction (Sweet Valley Kids), created by Francine Pascal. Every other week I would visit my cousin’s house to borrow the books and return them the next time I visited. When I got older (and when I’ve finished reading all the books my cousins had on Sweet Valley Kids), I moved on to Sweet Valley Twins, then Sweet Valley High (SVH), and eventually Sweet Valley University (SVU).
I started collecting books when I read SVU, scouring the secondhand bookstores for it whenever I can. By the time I got to high school, I began reading+collecting romance novels because of my bookworm friends. One of my high school friends loved reading historical romance novels, and encouraged me to read Judith McNaught’s novels. And another friend gave me a Judith McNaught novel (Once and Always) for my birthday. Since then, I would buy (mostly secondhand, because new copies were expensive) historical romance novels.
Reading historical romance novels has always been enjoyable for me, especially when there are interesting plot twists and interactions between the main characters. And I especially like the 19th century setting, where the British peerage was still very much part of the culture. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I’m so interested in that time period, but it’s fascinating to know that people’s actions and behavior were somewhat influenced by their social status and the Ton’s definition of good manners. But I digress.
In addition to collecting novels, I also began buying a few books related to Architecture when I stepped into college. I admit I haven’t read all the books I bought back in college (even until now), but seeing the books on my shelf, I feel happy. Knowing that I can read and access the books whenever I want, I feel a sense of comfort and relief. Now I don’t need to go to a cousin’s house to borrow books, or visit libraries to check-out books (don’t get me wrong, I love libraries too) when I want to read my favorite books.
When the Internet became popular (I must’ve been in fourth grade then), I learned to surf the web and access websites. Later I found another way of reading stories—online. I got hooked to reading fanfictions (I was so into Japanese animé back then, like Sailormoon) that were uploaded to websites. The technology introduced me to the world of paperless/digital reading, and it allowed me to read fanfictions as long as I had access to a computer and the Internet.
Eventually, electronic books (or e-books) became a widely popular format for reading books. Amazon invented the Kindle, where people can read books displayed using e-ink technology. Although I was only able to get my hands on a 3rd generation Kindle (it was my cousin’s, not mine), I must say that the e-ink technology was brilliant. The text were displayed in a way that looks similar to an actual paperback. I’ve yearned to buy a Kindle, but I finally settled on a Barnes and Noble Nook Color. With the Nook Color, I can read books even at night, just before I go to sleep. Of course, there were many occasions that I slept late because I was too hooked on the story I was reading.
Indeed, the advent of technology allowed me to support my love of reading. Now, possessing a smartphone allows me to read Kindle-version books I’ve bought from Amazon. Portability has become important for me, hence the reason why I buy some books online. But I still do buy hardbound or paperback books occasionally, when I see them in bookstores. Yes, I can be a shopaholic (remember Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella?), but I find I only have that tendency when it comes to books.