As kids in a Catholic prep school, English was the medium of instruction so our spoken tongue was the Queen's language. My sister and I excelled in English so we would win most of the spelling bee contests in our school. Our prizes were books of all shapes and sizes.
As the years went by, my eyesight deteriorated so I got saddled with wearing thick eyeglasses. Not a very fabulous look to sport back then or even now for that matter. But luckily, we lived in Europe where people basically don't give a hoot what you look like and minded their own business.
French became our spoken tongue in the mid 1970s till early 1980s. Being the nerdy type, we also excelled in the language of Marie Antoinette. We spoke, read and even dreamed en Francais. But our passion for reading still prevailed and I remember raiding the WH Smith bookstores to add to our collection of Nancy Drew mystery books. Being in my tween years, I got hooked on young adult 'literature' like "Nancy Drew", "The Hardy Boys" and the "Sweet Dreams" books.
During my High School and University days, my interest in books waned as I concentrated on my studies. Thick text books were the norm as I desperately tried to memorize them for oral recitation in class. Being a meticulous student in class was the only way I knew how to shine and boost my self esteem, given that I was mostly ridiculed for my nerdy looks.
After I graduated I made an effort to improve my looks as well as widen my horizon vis a vis my reading. I developed an obsession with books which narrated about other cultures. Stories set in exotic locales like Turkey, Afghanistan, Israel and Iran would wind up in my book shelf. I noticed that I was too sarcastic to enjoy chick lit which would be laden with romance and happy endings, too unrealistically corny for my taste.
Now that I am in my 40s, I've mellowed so to speak but I would still avoid chick lit, mind you. There was a phase when I read books which were turned into movies like "The Lovely Bones", "My Sister's Keeper" and "The Time Traveler's Wife". I was curious to find out more details behind the characters in the film.
As I glance at my book shelf, I see that spy thrillers with heavy emphasis on industrial espionage and top level corruption are holding fort. I figure the best way to break the routine of my monotonous life, is to get lost within the pages of a well written novel. Most of the time, it works. Other times, I fall asleep but not due to the boring story but from fatigue.