It’s Friday once again and it’s time for another Filipino Friday meme. Now that we have introduced ourselves, it’s time to take on another question: Why do you read?
In essence, I’m supposed to give answers to the following: How did you become a reader? What factors influenced you to take up reading as a hobby and why do you enjoy it so much?
My Mom told me I started reading short sentences as early as two years old. My late father patiently taught me how to read. I cannot remember when I started reading actual books. I have a faint recollection of starting with dailies and weekly magazines though – Inquirer, Liwayway, Panorama, and Reader’s Digest (I grew up with mostly adults!).
That said, I barely had regular contact with children my age and I mostly kept to myself so writing (my favorite companions then were workbooks and crossword puzzles) and reading became my favorite hobbies. I lived with my eldest sister for a while and she influenced my reading hobby. The first Sidney Sheldon book I read at 10 years old was hers. The first horror/suspense books I read — Styx by Christopher Hyde and Audrey Rose by Frank de Fellita — were also hers. Eventually, I learned to loan books from our school library. We didn’t have much so book buying was confined only to Christmas, my birthday, or selected special occasions. When my sister and Dad left for the States, that’s when books started pouring in, as in balikbayan boxes full, and that’s when I learned to embrace many genres. I haven’t read them all until now and frankly, I barely remember most of those I read, but I’m proud to say they started the passion I have for books and, well, reading.
I enjoy reading so much because it enables me to live vicariously through the characters. Whether it’s a post-Cold war spy , an orphaned princess, a demi-god, an accident-prone bounty hunter, a murderous nurse, a schizophrenic, a spoiled rich girl from New York, a kickass, tattooed, damaged person from Sweden, an immortal, a talking evil cat….name it, books can bring them all to me, and I can tell myself, “So this is how it feels.” I get transported to places I want to be at, do things I can only do in my dreams. I’m not really a risk-taker by nature so books provide me with the escape I need, when I need it. No obligations, no expectations, no disappointments, and for minimal expense (just the cost of the book and cups of tea or coffee, perhaps).
I’m happy to learn a lot of things from reading. When you age, it’s natural that you become a little rusty so you have to always keep your brain wheels running and repair all squeaking sounds. While social contact is equally important, reading really does help one from slowly deteriorating. Before I end this entry, I just want to share a quote I liked. It’s something that resonated with me. Soon, I hope to overcome it. I copied this to my journal, in huge print, with hopes of telling myself one day, “I’m not like that anymore.”
“All the places I went when I read, all the adventures I had, stayed inside the books. I never came into anything on my own, really. I never ventured far from my potential. I never tested myself and tried things. I wasn’t afraid, I just wasn’t particularly daring.” – from Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani