For years people who came to my place for the first time and looked at my books would be confused. First of all the amount of them would freak people out as they never seem to take me for a reader anyway but also the selection. I'll pretty much read anything.
Now I haven't always been that way. When I was growing up I pretty much only read Stephen King. Sure, they made me read stuff by dutch authors in school but I only read that cause I had to. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I didn't like anything else, it just never occurred to me to try it. And why should I? There were enough books for me to read that I knew I would enjoy. So I would only add a new author to my reading list if I'd had exhausted the works of whatever author I was into at the time. So for a long time I didn't really expand my reading selection a lot. Only doing that when I had to.
Then one day when I was flying from London to Amsterdam my flight got delayed and my I finished my book before my flight was even boarding. As it wasn't sure when we would start boarding and there was no bookstore near the gate I was waiting at I was stuck without a book. Or rather, I did have some books that I picked up for a friend. She's an English girl that lives in Amsterdam and had given me a list of books to pick up (this is pre internet ordering. Yes, I'm that old ;) ). So technically I was only "without a book I like".
Now for some reason she decided to give me a list of romance novels so I was stuck with 7 of those. As the delay was taking ever longer I eventually opened one of them and started reading and... exactly as I expected, I hated it! Seriously, I forced myself to read the first chapter but then really couldn't handle it anymore. But about 30 minutes later I was so bored that I decided to give another one of the books a try. Again, a romance novel but this one was much better than the first one. I found myself actually getting into the book and before I knew it we were boarding, took off and landed and I was home having finished the book.
That moment though was when something changed. Although I have always known we can't see whether or not we like something (or can do something for that matter) until we've tried it, it wasn't until that moment that the message finally sunk in.
So after that day I changed something in my book shopping habits. I'd still go to the shop to get the books I knew I would like but I also forced myself to pick a book from an author I had never read before, preferably a genre I hadn't read before. I also forced myself to read the first 2 chapters of every book. The first chapter was usually enough for me to figure out whether or not I liked the book but I wanted to make certain that I gave them all a fair chance.
That led me to increase the number of books I read tremendously and led to the surprised looks of first time visitors. Mystery, psychology, horror, history, fantasy, photography, sci-fi, travel and yes, even romance. They all share the space on my bookshelves and do so in perfect harmony.
So based on what I said, give other genres a chance. You may have to try a couple of books/authors before you find something you like but chances are you will find eventually find authors/books that you like in all genres.
So as you probably already guessed, I decided to go with Chinese first.
There really was no other reason than "I've been thinking about it for ages". When I think about it then I have to admit it's probably the least helpful language for me to learn at this point. Then again, who said learning should be driven by necessity?
Maybe it's different in other places but when I look around me then most of the time people don't learn just for the fun of it. Sure, they often have fun while learning but they only seem to start learning when something becomes useful. And I have to admit, I went through a period like that as well. Unfortunately though it also took away part of my enjoyment related to learning. Sure, whatever I learned was helpful and the process was fun but it was often at an inconvenient moment. Because of that the learning also created additional stress and I stopped enjoying it.
About a year ago I started learning things just for the heck of it again though and I'm now actually enjoying it again. Sure, being able to say:"I want to read a book now" in Chinese is probably not very helpful but then, who cares? It's not like I have to be able to have a conversation with somebody tomorrow. I can just slowly work my way through the material.
As I mentioned in my introduction, I love to read.
I've been reading regularly for as long as I can remember. It originally started out with The Hardy Boys around 4th or 5th grade, but that all changed with two books. The first was Legend by David Gemmell and the second was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. They both blew my mind, and I quickly became addicted to anything that involved fantasy or science fiction. While my tastes have significantly expanded over the past decade (mostly out of necessity since it felt like I had read everything), fantasy and sci-fi still lie at the core of my love of reading and any short stories I write or ideas for future novels tend to dwell in those genres.
At this point, I almost always have three of four books going at the same time. Since I'm usually awake before the rest of the family, I read while I'm eating breakfast. I listen to audio books during my transit to work, and I even read in the bathroom (don't judge me). Asking me to go to sleep without reading at least 20 pages first would be just as strange as asking me to sleep on the floor.
When I moved my blog to this platform, I wanted to incorporate more book reviews.
I've done a few in the past, but they were mostly requested by the authors or publishers. While I certainly have no issues doing that, they don't come along all that often. I also believe that identifying what you like and dislike about certain books helps hopeful writers (such as myself) develop their own style and tendencies. Therefore, I wanted to start including more reviews on my site. Obviously, these are only my opinions, and I've been known to be wrong more than once (just ask my wife).