I’ve been reading for as long as I could remember, but strangely enough, I didn’t really grow up reading the classics when I was a kid. For most bookworms (especially those who are blessed to be raised in a home environment where reading is strongly encouraged), fairy tales, adventure books and classics are always their babysteps to the inevitable, bibliophilic path of geekhood. Me? I am the eldest among four children, raised by parents whose idea of pampering is showering you with thicker-than-life encyclopedias and bible stories serialized in Sunday-school-ish comics. My chef dad reads nothing but recipe and gourmet books while my mom is a hardcore hoarder of inspirational and self-empowerment literature. Yeah, I grew up with these things, and maybe the occasional pocketbook romances from my yayas that I secretly read when they’re not looking after me and my siblings.
I was in my third grade in elementary when I saw this injustice: students my age could only care less about their text books, while I, who was deprived of my own textbooks at that time, can only borrow from my classmates whenever there’s a chance. And boy, they just let me borrow these books like it’s not even worth a penny. So I read and read and read and read some more. I was inexplicably hungry for words and stories, so I make do with what is around me. I remember skipping lunches just to linger in the library; I remember reading biographies soaked to the core with highfalutin words about famous people I don’t even know. I remember reading petty doodles and vandalisms on school chairs and bathroom doors, I remember staying awake during car trips just so I could read road signs and traffic posts and banners and billboards and sidewalk scrawls. I’m not ashamed to admit that even in my late teens, I still beg my baby brother who’s in grade school to lend me his textbooks in Filipino and English because those books are rich with stories and brings back so many memories of my early days as a reader. And finally before I officially entered high school: me, chancing upon a book of poetry, stunned by the loveliness and genius of rhymes, metaphors. I was weeping because I know that the love of reading will be with me forever.
So anyway: ‘tis the season for sales again at the malls, and, well, I’ve got a job that can somehow shoulder my insanity for books. So. I ended up buying twelve brand-new gorgeous titles, all of which I’ve been dreaming of owning for as long as I could remember. They’re all now sitting beautifully on my shelf, still wrapped in glorious, shiny plastic, inanimately awaiting me. And yes, there is a reason for that dramatic prelude for this post. Like I’ve said, I only knew of classics through word of mouth and media adaptations, but I never really got around reading them in paper. Oh well, I guess most of us really started with Disney, so I’m not really alone in this particular statistic. So I figured, hey, my wallet can back me up on this, this must be the chance! And just look at these colorful, artsy covers! Irresistible, irresistible.
I can’t wait to dive towards these pages and catch up on what I missed when I was a kid. These days, after all, are the days that I need these stories the most–no I don’t need happy ever-afters; I need my kid-self who believed in them regardless of the impossibilities, my kid-self who hopes, my kid-self who sees magic in every day, my kid-self who dreams.