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This Friday's Question:
Gateway Books: Which particular books opened you up to a new genre?
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR'S STONE by JK Rowling
This is probably a popular choice, but it is so true for me. I had heard of this series, my brother was a big fan, but I never was interested enough to try it despite all his guarantees that I would like it. I should have taken his advice, but it wasn't until I took him to see the first movie where I discovered how amazing this world was. I immediately went home and started reading the first book and the rest is history. Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone introduced me to the world of fantasy fiction as well as showing me that some children's literature can be read by all ages.
HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
This book got me interested in young adult fiction beyond contemporaries like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Princess Diaries. One day I overheard a librarian in the university library raving about this new book that was going to rock the literary world. I was interested enough to check it out of the library...strangely enough, there was no waitlist for the book yet. I took it home and read it straight through in one night. So, I have to thank Suzanne Collins for showing me how much more young adult books can do for adult readers.
THE DUKE AND I by Julia Quinn
The first book in Julia Quinn's famous Bridgerton Family series was my very first historical romance from the modern era. I had been a huge fan of Jane Austen since middle school, but never ventured beyond that little group. Then I was trying to find a book for my mother's birthday present and I found a great review online talking up Julia Quinn's stories and calling her the modern-day Jane Austen. This statement intrigued me enough to try The Duke and I. I think I glommed Quinn's entire backlist within two months and then went searching for more historicals.
Most of my romance reading, after the discovery of Julia Quinn, involved historicals and the random contemporary. I had heard about the rising paranormal romance genre, but was hesitant to try it. Then I found out about the author JR Ward who lives in my hometown and decided to give the genre a whirl. Everything clicked for me while reading Dark Lover. I have since read all of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books and eagerly await each new release. This book has also provided me a minor gateway into urban fantasy through paranormal romance.
FRUITS BASKET by Natsuki Takaya
Takaya's fantasy romance series introduced me to the fascinating world of Japanese manga. For those of you who don't know, Fruits Basket is one of most popular manga series in Japan and the United States. It tells the story of Tohru who, through strange circumstances, finds herself living with the Sohma family who suffer from an unusual curse which causes them to transform into the animals of the Chinese zodiac if they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Kinda odd sounding premise, but let me tell you it works! The story takes place over 23 volumes and is full of romance, humor, and moments that really make you think about life and one's purpose in it.