What I Read is a semi-regular guest feature in One More Page allows them to talk about what the title says: what they read. I believe that every reader has a unique reading preference and no reader is exactly the same. What I Read explores that idea, where I let the guests talk about their favorite, genre preferences, pet peeves and everything else in between. :)
I am so, so, so delinquent with this feature that it’s not even funny anymore. But I did promise to blog more (and look I have been blogging more lately, right?), so I thought I’d pick myself up and work on this. Plus, I am semi-envious of how Monique is so regular with her The Spark Project feature, so I told myself to stop being lazy and start sending emails.
So here’s the first of a series of What I Read guest posts for the next few weeks. Yes, a series — I sent a lot of emails lately. :D But if you want to be featured, you can drop me a line through the contact form or by sending an email to hello[at]tinamats.com. :) You can read other What I Read features here. :D
And now for the feature! This week I have Alexa from Code Name: Blue on the blog! I met Alexa through our book club, but I haven’t really talked to her until after our 5th Face to Face discussion (I think!). I feel especially honored because she first showed up during the Jane Eyre discussion which I moderated (which also meant I wasn’t able to talk to many people because I was too busy). Then we started gossiping/talking almost all the time over Twitter. Sometimes I forget that she’s only 17! :D Her energy is so contagious, and I think you’ll see it in today’s feature. :D
In ten words or less, what kind of books do you usually read?
I look for books that are honest, magical, and/or thought-provoking.
In your most favorite genre, what are the things you like to read about? Any pet peeves?
I never really thought about my favorite genre until now, because I like to think that I read anything. Looking at my bookshelf, though, I’d have to say speculative fiction (which just means sci-fi/fantasy, dystopia, supernatural, the works, by the way) and classics (most of my favorites are a combination of both). I know, I picked two, but I grew up with both genres and I really can’t imagine having to stick to only one. I love letting my imagination run wild and free. Speculating about what the characters will do next is fun. Whenever the setting is brilliantly portrayed, I often find myself wandering around it in my mind, and making up new characters that would fit right in. And the characters! I love it when they grow as the story progress, even for the villains. It’s so interesting to see change in them. Best of all, I love reading stuff that make me think, and force me to stretch my limits with mind-bending ideas and seemingly impossible feats. Sounds masochistic, but I enjoy torturing myself that way, haha!
Being an optimistic person, I look at the good things before the bad. However, the picky and easily-annoyed side of me sometimes wins out. This happens usually when I read a book with a forced ending, when suddenly, by some fantastical element, everyone is saved and everything is okay. Even for fantasy, I find that hard to accept. I was okay with that when I was younger, but I feel that endings like those are more often than not ill-used and don’t really add to the story. Another pet peeve would be flat characters. I absolutely hate flat characters. Ugh. (This also applies in real life.) They’re so boring. I don’t like it when I sense that the author is trying so hard to make them interesting by displaying their personalities in a single paragraph. It makes me feel robbed of the experience of discovering that character by myself. Aaand maybe this doesn’t count as a pet peeve, but I guess the reason why I haven’t read/own much YA (except in ebook format) is because of pictures of real people on the cover. I’m okay with paintings of people (like in classics) but not real people. I know it sounds stupid, but I would much rather have an edition with abstract art on it, even though it would be more expensive. I feel like the way I want to envision a character is limited because I always have to compare. I make exceptions for exceptional and highly recommended books though! (My Ender’s Game copy has the back of a boy turned to me on it, so it was okay. Besides, it’s a brilliant book so I wouldn’t have cared.) Okay, turns out I have a lot of pet peeves after all! I think that’s the bulk of it. :D
List the shelves you look at when visiting a bookstore in chronological order.
Maybe not all the bookstores have these shelves, but this is my general browsing format: I usually zero in on the discounted/on sale section (if there is one). If not, I teleport straight to the SFF section. Then I would fly the graphic novels section. I would also check out the travel and languages section, as well as the music, arts, photography, and architecture sections (I like looking at pictures). Next would be the classics and the literary winners section. The bestsellers would be next, and then the new arrivals. Then again, I usually strategize on the best way to go about the room, depending on how the shelves are situated, so I can just stroll leisurely without moving to and fro too much (lazy!).
What’s one genre you’ve never really ventured into? Would you ever try reading it?
I’m not really picky when it comes to reading books, but I noticed that of all the genres, horror and erotica are the ones I don’t really have experience in. I used to read a lot of those Goosebumps books when I was a kid, but they’re not scary, so I don’t think they count. I’m such a scaredy-cat when it comes to ghosts because they don’t make sense to me. I will definitely venture into that genre sometime, though. Maybe even within the year! About the latter, …erm. Non. Unless the point in reading it would be to enrich the mind or something, I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Maybe no. Maybe not ever. Ick. *shudders*
(WAIT. Zombies count for horror, right? Scratch everything I said. I LOVE ZOMBIES.)
Have you ever tried reading a book recommended to you that is outside of your comfort zone? Did you like it or not?
I’m actually okay with any book. I’ve had a few horror recommendations, but I don’t think I’ve really read those. Thank goodness, nobody’s recommended an erotica book to me (that would have been awkweird). A few years ago, though, my dad bequeathed to me his old books (I think it’s a ploy to share bookshelf space). He sort of book pushed a book of famous speeches and his really old copy of Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, so to please him, I read both. I ended up liking the nonfiction genre because of this, especially if they’re essays and research/crime/unsolved-mystery/science encyclopedia/teach-yourself-a-language types. There’s always something new to learn! (Did I mention that I’m not really picky? :P)
What’s your reading guilty pleasure? Come on, I know you have one. :P
To be honest, I have more than one. I feel kinda shy sharing this but oh well! First, I used to read a lot of romance books. It was mainly during the first couple years of high school. I came from an all-girls school, so when suddenly people started talking about Sophie Kinsella, I had to know what the fuss was about. And then my mum started reading those, too. Romance novels became another string in our bond, so I didn’t mind. I don’t read those in public though, because my friends would always act surprised when they see geeky boyish me being girly for once (hence, ebooks). Now, I don’t read much except for the odd one every once in a while, because plots aren’t too diverse and can be quite predictable. Second, I smell books. A lot. It seems kind of weird, but sometimes that is how I decide between two books when I’m out book shopping. I have been doing it for a very long time, apparently, because I smelled my twelve-year-old fairy tale book before I typed this and I was sure to my very bones that it was still the same, sans the tiny hints of aging. And my Harry Potter books! After ten years, Sorcerer’s Stone still smells the same. I swear by it. This is why reading for me is an all-around experience: I get to see [by reading], listen [to music, which I do a lot], touch [the spine and the cover], and smell [the pages!]. About the taste part, well, Sir Francis Bacon once wrote something about digesting and savoring the content of your reading, so it’s metaphorical. Heehee.
See that energy? Hee, I loved reading her answers! :D If you want to read more of Alexa’s thoughts on books, just hop on over to her blog, Code Name: Blue. :) Thanks so much, Alexa!