when i was young i wasn’t really like most boys. i didn’t play with action figures or remote-controlled cars. i had completely no idea what pokemon was about.

during the period from p1-p4, i read a lot. A lot. reading was never a problem for me. in the past parents had to force their children to read. i was the kind of person who would ask my mother to buy more and more books, and thinking back, it must have burned a huge hole in her pocket. my mother always told me that books were an investment, and she was always happy to buy them for me, so long as i read them.

when i was 6 i took an english language proficiency test and i was deemed to have had a very low standard of english. as such, i had to wake up earlier than usual on a normal school day, as primary schools still had afternoon sessions then, in order to report for a Learning Support Program class. this was very common back in the day, as students were chosen to attend these “remedial sessions” to brush up on their command of English to prevent them from lagging behind during normal lessons. Bear in mind this was in Primary 1. i was very frustrated and felt ostracised for being a “stupid person” when attending the lessons as i had known everything that there was to be taught. when the next diagnostic assessment came, i scored extremely well and it was then decided that the first test was probably a false positive, or there was an error in the marking, simply because the disparity between both tests was so wide. i was then discharged from the Learning Support class and i vowed never to go near or step into that classroom again because of the bad memories that i had had from the few weeks of attending that thrice-a-week morning class.

there were tons of books in me and my sister’s room. i remember reading a fiction series called The Magic Tree House. It was about two siblings who visited the eponymous magic tree house and went to places all around the world, and even back in time. i read every single book from #1 to #33, which was published in March of 2008. the series now has 51 books (the 52nd is scheduled to be released in May this year). the Magic Tree House series filled my brain with vast amounts of general knowledge. i learned about the American Civil War when i was 10. almost all of the first 30 books are about historical events such as the Titanic’s sinking, and the first Olympic games; the siblings, Annie and Jack, also meet William Shakespeare. there is a companion series, which is non fiction. each book serves as a guide to the historical events that occurred in the fiction-fantasy book. my mother bought me some of these non-fiction books but because they were too fact-laden, i lost interest in them. there was one interesting book which talked about the Liberty Bell and how it was cracked.

i also read another fiction series called A to Z Mysteries. it is written by an American author named Ron Roy, whose name is very easy to remember, just like the title of his books: The Absent Author, The Bald Bandit, The Yellow Yacht, The Zombie Zone. I read all 26 of the series. After completing all 26 books of the A to Z series, Ron Roy went on to begin another book series called Capital Mysteries, which was about the lives of a fictional President of the United States and his daughter, K.C. This was my first encounter with American politics (actually, not really, i don’t remember politics being discussed in the books). Capital Mysteries were labelled 1, 2, 3 and so on. Apparently Ron Roy also authored a third series named Calendar Mysteries, which, you might be able to guess, starts with January (January Joker) and ends with December (December has not been written yet). It’s a new series, so obviously I have not read it.

Reading is extremely exciting. I loved many of Mary Pope Osborne and Ron Roy’s books and would look forward to reading the next book before finishing the one I had in hand. They were books which I would read and re-read multiple times until I got tired of them. My favourite A to Z Mysteries book is The Lucky Lottery, and it is also the most memorable one.

My encounter with non-fiction books began early in primary school when my mother began reading Dorling Kindersley (DK) books to me. It is a British non-fiction series on a variety of topics from carnivorous plants to espionage. The books were divided into 4 levels, with 1 being the easiest and 4 being the most difficult. The colours were red, green, blue and black. I remembered being unable to pronounce Dorling Kindersley for the longest time (even till I stopped reading) because it was just a mouthful. DK Eyewitness books had a lot of photos which accompanied the text and I learned most of the stuff I know from these books. Some of the books I read were “Moon” (which talked about space missions, Neil Armstrong and Soviet/US cooperation), “Flight”, “Earth” (one of my first Level 3 books), “Shark”, etc. I can’t find most of the books that I had read in the past online. It looks like the publisher also redesigned their book covers.

As technology evolved, so did DK books. Now, their children’s encyclopaedia series is now available in e-book format. I still love reading and I will still pick up a book to read now and then. But now I try to focus on more higher-level books (of course). Speaking of which, it is time for me to substitute my regular books with 论文 books. Sigh.