My Love Affair with Books

May 21, 2006 at 10:06 am 19 comments

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  It turned out that this book was already discontinued and there were no more publishers that are printing it.  There were used copies on 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? 

You can view a list of the literary books in my bookshelf here and pictures of some of my books on Flickr.


Entry filed under: Books, movies, music, TV, Memory Lane.

The Price of my Vanity Getting to know me

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Toe  |  May 22, 2006 at 1:23 am

    I enjoyed Angela’s Ashes too and I couldn’t stop crying. There is only one decent bookstore here and it’s very expensive. Good thing my sister sends me books from Manila. πŸ™‚

  • 2. Angela  |  May 22, 2006 at 10:35 am

    Hi Tita!

    Baka next time bigla tayong magkita sa bookstore. πŸ˜‰

  • 3. mmy-lei  |  May 22, 2006 at 11:42 am

    im guilty here.

    i got hooked early (nancy drew, hardy boys & sweet valley) then changed to romance, horror, spy, mystery, religious to contemporary new-age.

    i like Kahlil Gibran also.

  • 4. bw  |  May 22, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Close to my house, near a strip mall, there’s a second hand book store.. Talk about great collections man.. Hey – nice template sis! Real neat and soft colors – very pleasing to the eye.

  • 5. niceheart  |  May 22, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    Toe, I related to Frank McCourt so much in regards to his relationship with his alcoholic father. And telling his story from his point of view as a child really hit the mark. I've also seen the movie.

    Angela, minsan tinitingnan ko nga ang mga customers sa bookstore dahil baka kako nanduon ka. πŸ™‚

  • 6. niceheart  |  May 22, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    Mmy-lei, I think I am one of the few ones who haven’t read Nancy Drew.

    Thanks, BW. There’s also a nearby second-hand bookstore here, but they don’t have anything that interests me.

  • 7. noemi  |  May 23, 2006 at 10:08 am

    I ‘m not much of a reader. If ever I prefer non-fiction like self-help books and autobiograhies. My house is full of books though because my husband is a voracious reader.

  • 8. domestic rat  |  May 23, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    I’ll share my nerdy skeleton in the closet with u via a blog post. πŸ™‚

  • 9. niceheart  |  May 23, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Noemi, I think I should also try autobiographies.

    DR, looking forward to that. πŸ™‚

  • 10. sesame  |  May 24, 2006 at 1:58 am

    I love books! Used to buy them but now, borrowing from the library. But if there’s anything I absolutely must do in a country I visit, it is to visit the bookstore.

    I have a section on books I consume in my blog to keep track of some of the books I’ve read. My fave author is Milan Kundera and Alain De Botton. Lately, I’m into Haruki Murakami’s books. I liked Jane Austen’s books too but I don’t read them now.

    Sometimes I read a book after I see a movie I like cos the book could be better. I think I’m going to watch Da Vinci Code, then read the book.

  • 11. Toe  |  May 24, 2006 at 6:50 am

    Niceheart, really? That’s so interesting.

  • 12. vina  |  May 24, 2006 at 10:10 am

    i loved reading books from elementary till high school. then, when i went to college, i guess i got too pre-occupied with the whole studying and partying thing. now, i’m back to reading books, although i really don’t like complicated ones. james patterson is my favorite, but i also have bought a number of anita shreve novels. i still would love to explore.

  • 13. niceheart  |  May 24, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    You also have quite a list, Sesame.

    Yeah, Toe. That’s why it has become one of my best loved books.

    I’ve also been eyeing those Anita Shreve books, Vina. And like you, I also would like to try the other genres. If I only have the budget, and time, too.

  • 14. Abaniko  |  August 15, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    If you were confused with Pride and Prejudice because of the many characters involved I wonder how you’re gonna react with Toltoy’s War and Peace where many characters have the same names. πŸ˜€

  • 15. niceheart  |  August 16, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    Kind of like One Hundred Years of Solitude then. How I struggled with that book.

  • 16. Leah  |  October 5, 2006 at 10:21 am

    i love to read as well (whevever I can). i like all books written by Mauve Binchy and recently found Sophie Kinsella (Can you keep a secret and Undomestic Goddess).

    I read fast (i tend to skip prepositions) so I am able to read a book in one sitting (if my sked permits or I am not that tired or sleepy and if the book is really worth staying up for)

    I recently watched Da Vinci code and I liked it.

  • 17. niceheart  |  October 5, 2006 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Leah, thanks for dropping by. So that’s how you fast readers do it. You skip some of the words. πŸ™‚

    I wasn’t able to watch the Da Vinci Code in the theatre. I’m still waiting for the DVD release.

  • 18. cez  |  June 1, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Hi, I was actually led to your blog in my desperate search for ‘Without Seeing the Dawn’. My son needs it in his high school English class and we cannot find the book anywhere. Anyway I hope I can manage to get it from somewhere. I was reading your blog and funny but all the books and movies that you mentioned are the same books and movies that I have read and watched and are my favorites too. Please find time to finish Pride and Prejudice (I did!) and if you can, read Persuasion also. I love books and my son got his love for them from me. I have a rare Rabindranath book given to me by my Bengali (India) friend. If you like the saga type of book, East of Eden by John Steinbeck I love it so much, although it was Of Mice of Men that made him famous. You may also want to try the books of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His book, 100 Years of Solitude is surreal. It’s has a different kind of twang. All Ernest Hemmingway books I have read and in the US, no one graduates high school without reading The Old Man and the Sea. Well, have a great time reading more… everyone should read πŸ™‚ Have a good one!

  • 19. eloiseseotons  |  December 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hello everyone! πŸ™‚

    My name is Eloise and it made some weeks that I read regularly, I found lots of help and I say that as of today is for me to contribute as well.
    This is the first time that I post on a forum so I hope this is the right section to post my presentation if I’m wrong I thank in advance a moderator move the topic.

    I am 24 years old and live in your country for only eight months, I apologize for the mistakes of language that I do, feel free to correct me.

    Otherwise, in life I’m brown and the head I am a true blonde, I have a beautiful 2 year old child and I love football, big cars and playing video games and I own a small website dedicated the seotons.
    my facebook:
    That is me in a nutshell.


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