Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Love Affair with Books

My parents tell me that I used to read a lot when I was younger. I remember reading all the stories in our ginormous fairy tale book and other smaller versions of it. I read the stories in my older sister's English textbooks such as Basics and Beyond Reading and Open Roads to Reading. I even wished then to grow up soon so that I could have access to more stories which I thought were only for kids in grade school. By Grade 2, I already finished the Genesis and Exodus chapters of the Bible. Had I not been too bored with the statistics and figures presented in the Book of Numbers, I may have reached Revelations by end of Grade 6.

My entire elementary school life was spent on hurrying to finish my assignments because I know that my books are waiting for me. I was so fascinated with the characters and the magical kingdoms that I just cannot get enough of them. Those stories which transported me to places were the reason why I worked hard to learn to read soon, after all. It was a joyous childhood, especially because I tried to incorporate fiction with reality through the help of my playmates who didn't hesitate to take part in my role playing plans. They liked my stories as much as I did.

But then came high school. All of a sudden, I neglected my love for literature. Studying in Pisay and being separated from home at a rather early age, I felt like I had so many matters to attend to and therefore had no time for leisure anymore. Or so I thought back then. But my love for stories, luckily, didn't have to die a hopeless death. In sophomore year, I started writing my own stories. Not fiction, but accounts of my life. I religiously wrote in my journal, having more times for reflection than before. It seemed like I have been more perceptive, too. The imagination I used with books back when I was younger, I exercised in viewing life in a whole new lens. I continued my writing, but I sacrificed the reading. Just seeing one novel made me feel bored. My attempts to read again only sent me yawning and eventually rendering me asleep, nothing but drips of saliva left on the poor page.

It was a struggle. A real battle fought between my short attention span and my desire to bring back the spark. Futile, until this year.

It started with Bennard's nudges. He won't stop talking about his books and his most admired authors. He never ceased to tell me how wonderful his feeling every time he finishes a book, closing its covers with a smile. He blathered endlessly and, to be honest, I was more irritated than inspired. Perhaps it's because I'm just envious of him. At one point, he even bribed me, telling me that for every book, he gets to buy me one article of clothing of my choice. I'd be lying if I say I was unmoved. Of course I took the bait! Turns out it is effective. Maybe he already knew the outcome before I decided to accept the challenge because after I read the last pages in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, I only smiled--self-satisfied and totally oblivious of our agreement. I didn't need the dress anymore; the experience of reading such good prose was more than the compensation I asked for.

Come 2012, my mind was all set to accomplish my goal of reading a book each month. I even made a Goodreads account specifically for it. Right now, I already raised the bar to 20 books for the year from the previous 12. I've conquered eleven books now and I cannot be more pleased with myself. Even Goodreads agrees saying "Awesome, you're 3 books (13%) ahead of schedule!"

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