My Love Affair with Books
The Da Vinci Code is not the kind of book I would usually buy and read. I was tempted to buy it last year when my girl friend bought the illustrated edition. But a $30.00 book doesn’t really appeal to me. So when it came out on paperback a couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but get myself a copy. I got it for $10.99.
I wasn’t much of a reader when I was in High School. I can’t remember how I passed English in my third year when I haven’t got a hold of a copy of The Merchant of Venice. And in my fourth year, instead of reading a book, I bought a ready-made book report like some of my classmates did. I know. I am embarrassed to admit this now.
My love for books started when I was introduced to World Literature in college. I discovered the literary classics of the world. I studied the works of Rabindranath Tagore and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I enjoyed reading mythology and The Iliad by Homer. I even wrote summaries of the chapters of The Iliad. I read The Gift of Acabar because it was recommended by my Psychology teacher.
When I started earning my own money after college, I bought book after book. Sometimes I would sacrifice my lunch time just so I could go to the nearest National Bookstore to buy the next book that I wanted to read. My co-worker once teased me that I was having a lunch date with Thomas (Hardy).
I was never interested in romance novels. I always bought the classics. I thought they were worth spending the money for and worth keeping them, too. I bought books by Shakespeare, Dickens, Hugo, Hawthorne, etc. I read Romeo and Juliet and wrote a summary. I also read the other works of Shakespeare and wrote summaries. I sometimes re-read my books, but poems and plays were a pain to read. That’s why I wrote summaries.
When I migrated here in Canada, I brought all my books with me. But soon after I came here, I had my first baby and the books were neglected. I’ve also stopped buying and reading books when I started having kids. I got busy with family and there just wasn’t time to read. Whenever I was on maternity leave, I would re-read my favourites while nursing my baby.
My interest in reading was sparked again five years ago when I started working at home. This opportunity has given me more time, and since the kids were also older and needed less attention, I found more time for myself. From watching, Oprah, I have heard about Fall on Your Knees, which was written by a Canadian author, Ann-Marie MacDonald. This is the first contemporary book that I have bought and read. I’ve enjoyed it because it deals with family secrets and suspense. My family has a lot of secrets too and it was the first time I thought about writing our family stories. My oldest son, Reggie, was in sixth grade then and begged me to buy the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I also read it and got hooked. I read Frank McCourt’s memoir, Angela’s Ashes, and was amused by the way he wrote about his hardships in childhood. There are quite a few similarities in our background and that made me want to write my own memoir. I want my kids, and also others, to know about my experiences and maybe learn a few lessons from them.
Whenever we are at the mall, I’d make sure that we would drop by the bookstores and browse through books that would tickle my fancy. I’m now mostly interested in contemporary coming-of-age stories with a tinge of mystery. Some of the books I read are also influenced by Oprah or other people. And some by the cheap prices. Once in a while, I’d find Classics that are on sale and I’d still buy them. But I haven’t really read them yet. They’re collecting dust in my bookshelf.
I started reading Pride and Prejudice but was so confused with the introduction of the many characters that I dropped it. Later on, I had the chance to watch the BBC version of the movie and enjoyed it. So I don’t think that I’ll ever read the book. What for? I already know the story. I’m like that. Once I’ve seen the movie version, I am not motivated to read the book anymore. I’ve never read Anna Karenina since I’ve already seen a movie version of it. But I did see movies of A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jude, Wuthering Heights, Lady Chatterley’s Lovers and of course the Harry Potter series because I was curious to see how the words of the authors are played out on the silver screen.
There was one book that I lost in the Philippines when somebody borrowed it. And boy, did I pine for this book for a long time. I asked my cousin to look for this book in the bookstores there but to no avail. Then one day, I went searching on the internet and I found a few copies that were being sold on Amazon.com. It turned out that this book was already discontinued and there were no more publishers that are printing it. There were used copies on Amazon.com being sold at discounted prices. How lucky was I! I felt like I was reuniting with a long-lost love when I held in my hands a hardbound copy of Without Seeing the Dawn by Steven Javellana. This is the same book by which the Philippine TV series Malayo Pa Ang Umaga was based on. The TV series also popularized the song of the same title.
Lately, I have been busy with work and my children’s activities and the books that I want to read are piling up high. But when I got hold of The Da Vinci Code, I had to read it right away. I wanted to finish it before the movie comes out and so I gave myself a reading schedule. With 105 chapters, I figured that I needed to read at least three chapters a day to have it done by the movie release date of May 19. What I didn’t know was I didn’t have to worry about not finishing it before watching the movie because I got hooked right away and couldn’t put the book down. I read it every minute I got the chance. I read it during lunch break, while waiting at the doctor’s office, at the bus stop (I can’t read in a moving bus. It makes me nauseous) and made sure I read a few chapters every night.
That’s what “couldn’t put the book down” for a busy working mom like me means and not reading it in one sitting as some people do. I couldn’t comprehend how that is done. Even before I had kids, I would stay up late at night when I was engrossed with a book that I was reading but never really read a book in one sitting. So, people who read books in one sitting, please help me out. Do you just breeze through the pages and read random chapters? As for me, I like to savour every single word on each and every page.
What about you? What kind books do you read?