On books and reading

I’d been doing a fair number of reading lately, and I’m slightly ahead with four books read on the third week of the year; the fourth was a re-read, which made reading quicker. I’m tracking progress on my library page, which (for now) unlinked on the main menu and updated manually. (I plan on using the Now Reading plugin for it, but until I have time to sit down and sort itself out, the manually updating WP page will have to do. (I also actually feel like changing the actual layout, but we’ll see.) Much thanks to Vega for pointing it out!) So far, I’ve read the following:

  1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (finished January 3)
  2. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (finished January 13)
  3. The Amulet of Samarkand (book one in The Bartimaeus Trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud (finished January 15)
  4. Dusk (Po-on) by F. Sionil Jose (finished January 17)

I mean to write down my thoughts of each book in particular soon. :) As for the last, it was a re-read as I wanted to finally finish the Rosales novels by the same author, and in chronological order, Dusk is the first. I’d read Dusk before, but haven’t read the rest, although I know I had picked up My Brother, My Executioner sometime but have not finished it. I’m now reading Tree, the second book according to chronology.

I’m liking the fact that having a goal for the year (50 books) is spurring me to rediscover my love for reading. I’ve always loved reading as a child all the way ’til I was in high school, but when college came and I was caught up in the Whole New World of software, web development, and of course Having A Boyfriend™ — I did not read as much as I should have (nor write, for that matter). I read here and there but I probably read only five new books a year; quite a disgrace.

Now I’ve started to slip back into reading, and I like it. My boss/friend Pao and I were talking on the way to Makati one day early this week, where I told him about my plan to read 50 books this year, and he said that it was something he regretted not doing as a child — read more books. He said he thought that reading is something you develop an interest for when you’re still a child, and once you’re grown it’s difficult to get into if you weren’t keen on reading when you were younger. And I think he’s right, and I’m grateful my parents let us have all the books we wanted (within reason) when we were kids. (My mom used to get angry with me, though, because once we bought a book from the bookstore (usually Nancy Drew) I would read them on the way home, and I’d have finished it already by the time we got home as the travel time then was around an hour and a half. Hee.)

It’s curious, though, about how people exactly get/develop that interest in reading. My older sister and I are avid readers, but our youngest, quite sadly, doesn’t. She tries to keep up with us — she’d propose we sit around and read, but after a few minutes of sitting/lying/etc still and reading, she’d start talking, or get bored with her book. I think she’s getting more interested in books now, which is great; she always wants to go to the bookstore and sit around and read. The thought intrigued me, though — how do people develop that interest in reading? Is it developed, or handed down, or a product of your environment, or…? Maybe it’s all three (or whatever else).

How did you start reading?


  • That’s interesting. I think I can see a bit of it here at home, too — when we were children, while we did watch cartoons and the occasional show, but it was regulated; my younger sister Biel has had more TV-time in her childhood than either my sister and myself.

    Rambles are good! :D

    I love rereading myself — somehow I always find new things to focus on whenever I reread books. Plus, nostalgia! XD

  • I think it’s primarily influenced by upbringing. My parents had (still have) a voluminous library and encouraged me to read from it, and also to borrow books from the library, and learn throughreading. It also helped that other forms of media were heavily discouraged while I was growing up. It’s amazing how much that influenced me: nowadays I read heavily, both books and the Internet, but I don’t miss watching things — TV has absolutely zero impact in my life. And, now that life is busier and something has to go, movies are so very easy to let go (they are now hugely diminished in my life, and I don’t really miss them), but it’ll take a bigger squeeze for me to drop books, or the Internet.
    …Anyway, I’m digressing.

    So — if someone was the opposite of me and their main form of entertainment/learning was through watching TV or movies/documentaries, that’s what they’re used to, they’ve known it all their childhood. So when they get older, I think one would tend to stick with that which is familiar, especially when one has less leisure time on their hands to devote to new, perhaps less familiar things.

    But I think reading can be developed later, and that some people, just by nature and disposition, gravitate towards one form of media as opposed to another. That’s been my observation, at least.

    Gee, that was a ramble…

    I have a funny relationship with books: I hardly reread any. (Because there are way too many books out there, and life is way too short to be spent in rereading?) So I can do without a bookstore, but a library is Absolutely Essential. I am starting to build up my personal library and it’s currently looking very eclectic, filled with books that are very different from the ones that tend to appear on my review site/booklists. *G*)

  • F. Sionil Jose is a Filipino writer, so it’s normal you haven’t heard of him. I think he’s more known in other/foreign countries than some other Filipino writers, though.

    LOL, I can relate to the “need to read slower” reprimand! I’ve heard that lots of times ;) After a while my mom wouldn’t let me open my packages until we got home. XD

    I feel the same about going to people’s houses and seeing they don’t have very many books. :(

  • That question mark in the second paragraph should have been a smiley face!

  • I have never heard of F. Sionil Jose before. I’ve been trying to broaden my reading & it sounds good so I’m adding Dusk to my Wishlist.

    I’m always wondering how people start reading so thank you for sharing your experience 

    I’ve always been a reader. My mom always joked that I was one before I was born because my dad would read to me while she was pregnant. Our house was filled with books. I feel lucky that I had parents who would not only take me to the library but would buy books. Whenever I would go to relatives’ houses, I would feel disappointed that they didn’t have very many books. Now I have a cousin who is 14 who loves to read but doesn’t have any bookshelves or very many books. She loves to come to my apartment because I have so many books. If at all possible, I always have a book with me.

    When I was younger, I used to read while walking to & from school (I’m amazed I was never ran over! LOL). Like you, I would finish books quickly. I remember one instance of traveling with my grandma from Kansas & finishing my two books on the plane and buying three Nancy Drew Files at the Denver airport (we had a layover). My grandma was really mad at me for finishing & buying more. I was informed I needed to read slower and that my parents spoiled me with books.