Sunday, August 19, 2007

Love Affair

My love affair with books only began at the impressionable age of nine years old. Prior to that, I only had but mere attraction towards it. The colorful pictures, the glossy pages and the beautiful covers were enough for me to get drawn to it. However, it was only when I graduated on to young adult paperbacks that I decided I wanted books to be my Roman spring.

I've always treaded carefully with my parents when it comes to getting them to buy me books. It's not like they discouraged me from it. As a matter of fact, they urged me to get lost in it -- as long as they are appropriate. Coming from a slightly conservative family, I didn't want my mother telling me that something was "too grown up" for me to read. It was insulting and I felt discredited. I couldn't keep on reading books about happy rose petals dancing in gardens and singing whilst baking nectar cookies forever. I badly wanted to get my hands on those books without pictures -- just oceans and oceans of words that I can drown in. Every other book I had left me hungry for more. It wasn't satisfactory, it wasn't filling me up.

One day, when I discovered that I earned high enough marks in school to prod my mother to indulge me for it, I took advantage of it and took her to the bookstore. Normally, children my age would have asked for the latest toys, gadgets, gizmos, whatnot. Not I. I wanted my books, my kind of books. I was nine years old and led her to the aisle where the teen books were sitting. She bought me three of them -- Sweet Valley Twins, as I recall -- and I finished reading them before the weekend ended. Knowing the precious value of money in those days, I knew I couldn't ask for more. Surely those new books was expected to last me for a couple of weeks. Instead, I attacked our library at home and found my older sister's beloved Nancy Drew books. The hard bound matte covers deeply enchanted me -- and there were volumes of them! And the rest is history. That was when my life began. Books became my currency.

I could never imagine my life without books. I have read numerous genres -- some I liked more than others -- and truth be told, it is through reading that I learned most from. I have read about historical figures, different cultures, global landmarks, significant events, human emotions, everything. It's all there -- in every style there is. It is like getting lifted into another world without having to budge and go anywhere. And what I like most about books is that they will never run out. There will always be something to read. May they be good reads or bad reads, still something to read.

As I got older, life took a turn and started taking over more rudely. My love affair with books would hit some stale phases. It would get bumped off by relatively inane things such as movies, socializing, worldly matters -- both important and otherwise -- and traveling. However, just like a lost lamb finding Jesus again, I would eventually get found and get sucked right back in. I would remember the feeling quite vividly. It's like being famished and devouring your favorite homecooked meal. It's like not being able to get enough of it and repeatedly asking myself, "What was I thinking?"

I still go through these wild love-hate phases with books, but I know deep inside that I will always come running back. No other vice of mine -- either past or present -- could ever assuage me like they do.

Books are good. It offers me a chance to step out of my life and see the world through another set of eyes. It makes me feel less lonely and at the same time, it makes the world that much bigger. And upon coming back to my own world, I would gain a little bit every single time. And I would feel that much smarter.

To say the least, that is.

As William Ennergy Channeling has once put it so eloquently, "It is chiefly through books that we enjoy the intercourse with superior minds." Touche!

It never made sense to me why bookworms and so-called nerds were the ones who were made fun of. We should be the ones making fun of the others simply because they don't know what they're missing. Raging bastards! *twinkling eyes*


Anonymous the_walker said...

i started reading books at about the same age as you, but my parents were kinda in the dark about my love for books. i usually got em from cousins and family friends. i had very few books which i re-read again and again. i read Sherlock Holmes' complete collection about 8 times and by then i knew each story by heart...

i still love the book...

10:04 PM  
Blogger Queen of Dysfunction said...

How can someone not love books? I've never understood why book worms get made fun of either.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Behind Blue Eyes said...

I couldn't imagine not reading. It is hard for me to comprehend that others don't like to. I know this intellectually, but can't really relate. If I ever went blind I don't know what I would do. Books on tape don't cut it. I don't read Tom Clancy etc...I guess I would write my own books if I was blind.Andyway, totally related.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Princess of the Universe said...

I loved "Sweet Valley Twins" too- and of course graduated up to "Sweet Valley High".

Whenever I got in trouble, or grounded, books were one of the "privileges" that would get taken from me. I remember my friends finding that so odd. They would get TV banned from them, I would lose reading...
It was torture when it happened though!

11:34 PM  
Blogger ŋεεяѕ said...

Last para is THE truth!! I cant live without books too.Ure right its the one big source to learn from. The more we read, the wiser we get :)

Lovely post...i completely indentify with it.

11:41 PM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Fantastic post. Books are as necessary to my sanity as breathing. If I don't have books, I don't function. Of course, it means an unfortunate spin off - my bookshop addiction, and therefore my need for more bookcases. Books always take me the longest to pack when I move.

4:27 AM  
Blogger meggie said...

I love reading, & my mother was an avid reader. We used to wait till she was reading to ask for things, & she would vaguely nod yes!
I love being swept away by a book, & I usually persist even with books which seem a little hard going. It is a whole wonderful world of escape & knowledge! I enjoyed your post very much.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Sling said...

There was one rule my Father had about reading books.
We could read ANYTHING.
Granted,there wasn't the proliferation of pornography that there is nowadays,still,I read "Valley of the Dolls" when I was 10 or 11 years old.
Pops might shake his head in mock disapproval,but never once forbade me to read anything..
I'm forever grateful for that.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

Beautifully put!!! My hubby and daughter give me a hard time over how many books I have, but there's something about the heft of one in one's hand, the words written that can't be erased, the fact that these thoughts & ideas & places are portable..... Nope, nothing quite like a book. Certainly words on a computer screen will never really replace a real book. And, being one who works in a library, I hope that's true for the rest enough of the rest of the world as well.

My favorite book quote: "What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a while.... What really knocks me out is a book that when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though." --J.D. Salinger (author of _The Catcher in the Rye_ which I couldn't stand, ironically.)

9:38 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

I too started reading at about 9 when my folks moved to a place and we didn't get a TV for the first year we were there. Haven't stopped since.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Aditi said...

hmm i first fell in love with enid blyton's books.. the world that she created.. and the secret garden..

2:55 PM  
Blogger utopia said...

i started reading when i was 5. mum gave me my first book, actually it was her childhood book of fairy tales and i still remember the feel of the pages, the colourful pictures, the old musty smell emanating from its pages and the fascinating world it introduced me to. life hasn't been the same ever since :).like you said it is one fixation or addiction i'll never get over and darn i don't wanna. every birthday i'd get books and this birthday too Mum got me a book and my housemates got me books too. :)

I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books

3:56 PM  
Blogger Marni said...

Books are my life blood. It gives me a chance to escape whatever issues are facing me that day/hour/week. It is a chance to "meet" new people and explore places I wish to go.

My son isn't a reader, but my daughter is. I hope she remains that way!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Reading was my sanctuary from a very young age. As I learned so much about life and the human condition through reading. Surely, one who does not read has less cause to exercise empathy or compassion - they are poor indeed.


9:37 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Loquacious said...

I am a readaholic. :) That said, I share your love-hate relationship with books. With age has come an increasingly critical spirit when it comes to the type of books I read; so much of adult fiction is poorly written that I often find myself gravitating to the children's literature section of the bookstore.

I also find myself in phases where I have no desire to read, and then in other phases where I am driven by some mad need to immerse myself in quality contemporary literature.

Right now I feel the urge to reread the Harry Potter books. I already gobbled up book 7; I'd like to run through the entire series again, without the crazy year-long divides in between each book.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Zee said...

i grew up on sweet valley twins so i get excited whenever i come across someone who even mentions the name!!!

not been much of a reader...but have read all sweet valley twins...a lot of nancy drews...all daphne du mauriers....

12:16 AM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

Amen to that!

I've been addicted ever since I learnt to read. It started with Noddy and Paddington Bear and kiddie versions of Anderson's fairy tales ... I graduated to 'sterner stuff' as I grew older.

The best thing is that I am lucky to have parents who are extremely fond of reading and believe that having volumes and volumes of books at home looks better than anything else that is imaginable. They've never told me that I'm 'too young' to read something, although my mum has often advised me on what to try out depending on my age at that point of time (I've found her little nuggets of wisdom very helpful indeed... she's never let me down till date :]).

And yes, I always go running back to books. They were my friends when I was lonely, upset, hurt, happy, and grateful. Nothing could ever replace them!

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Januarybitch said...

i believe i started a bit earlier than you did. About three. Mine heaven is a library i believe.
Your blog rocks!

2:13 AM  
Anonymous bibliophile bear said...

A quote from my favorite author:
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Jane Austen

3:35 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

my mom is never without a book in her hand, and ever since she taught me to read at age 4, i have an open book in every room of this house!! i touched on the fact that i wondered how a person could live without any books in my blog today. and i've given my 23 yr old daughter a few books for christmas every year since she was born!!

4:38 AM  
Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

When I was in fourth grade, my mom gave me a book of Greek Myths. To which I said - I didn´t ask for this. In sixth grade - my mom gave me a dictionary. To which I said - I didn´t ask for this. Earlier this year, my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday. I told her a giftcard for B&N. She scratched her head, sighed and said - again? Sometime after the dictionary but well before now, I too fell in love with books. It´s the healthiest relationship I have.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Still searching said...

I totally relate to your love for books!! I live on books totally! People say I'm a loner because I'd rather be with my books sometimes rather than sitting with a group of people I dont relate to! But thats ok I guess, atleast for me!

Am really happy to see someone share the same love! And yeah, I started with Enid Blytons too, and infact I had the idea of going to boarding school after reading Malory Towers! Haha! :))

7:00 AM  
Blogger sublimely ordinary. said...

I share the same love-hate relationship with books that u r talking abt.While reading a book it becomes very important for me to be able to relate to and identify with the characters.perhaps I suffer from a severe lack of imagination that bars me from seeing characters as they are without relating to them.But I draw my sustenance from first ever crush was Gilbert Blythe of the Anne of green gables series.:)

1:43 PM  
Blogger The Stormin Mormon said...

I have read more books than I have magazines in my life. For one simple reason: I can read a magazine in about an hour. That's not even a challenge.

Books allow me to be involved in something for hours, even days.

1:45 PM  
Blogger fifi said...

Goodness, I was THE total bookworm most of my life.

I devour books, I live my life through them, I negotiate my life through them...I always received excellent books for all occasions. MMM, I still recall the delight of reading them.

at the moment i am reading so much art theory that I am finding hard to concentrate on fiction. I have some delights saved up though.

2:33 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

I stopped reading books a few years ago, only when necessary for a course of course, but I stopped because I began to find that most peoples reality in the flesh was a book that needed to be read to be understood.



6:11 PM  
Blogger Ab said...

# all the people who read books since they were 5,
how many Brer rabbit fans?

6:34 PM  
Blogger AVIANA said...

hey there!

i was pretty similar as a kid...i loved loved loved reading books...but adolescence came in and the love dissipated...

after going to grad school and reading love affair re-emerged more strongly for the likes of "People" magazine, "Star" Magazine, "US Weekly"...the tabloids....

i try to get back into reading "real" stuff but i think i've lost the battle...:)

oh well....

have a nice day!

9:36 PM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

A love affair with books? I have more of a marriage, actually. Like all mariages, reading is starting to get on my nerves. After all, I got more books thaan bookshelf space, and that's after giving away a lot of them to friends, family and the local library--who's now hurting for space, and trying to give them back.

You can't just throw books away. They need good homes to go to.

10:22 PM  
Blogger JollyRoger said...

Nothing beats a book a snack and a comfortable couch as the best recreation / entertainment / infotainment / whatevaumaycallit / best way to spend time alone.

Great post.

11:58 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

So many books .... so little time ...

1:46 AM  
Blogger soul&body said...

Interesting post about books, I confess that I don't use to read very often, but sometimes i like to read magazines, newspapers etc..
But reading is very important because it develops your vocabulary!!! And im surprised that at the age 9 u found that passion! because usualy children prefer toys! but you were different!
but in these days children prefer pc , videogames than books, unfortunly!

3:21 AM  
Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I don't read nearly enough, poss twenty books a year, almost all non fiction.

That the isn't is Fantasy

7:08 AM  
Blogger sAssY brOwn said...

Oh I can SO relate to this post. I was just talking to my sister today about how reading was like learning to walk for me. I've done it for as long as I can remember. The only gifts my dad bought me were books: Bridge to Terabithia, Taran-Wanderer, Little House On the Prairie, The Hobbit, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Narnia. I read them all voraciously. Like you, I've had to or chosen to take breaks when life rudely interuppted. Opening a book now is like coming home for me.

12:15 PM  
Blogger William said...

I miss Noddy and Brer Rabbit!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Mitzzee said...

agreed. 100%. well said/written.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous lemonade said...

believe it or not..i started my love affair with books with the sweet valley series too!!

i totally relate to what ur talking about (the love-hate relationship with books thing) right now..i'm in an 'off" phase..waiting to get back to them though..the stupid internet seems to be taking over my life!!

3:14 AM  
Blogger nasia said...

I started off the same way.. though,, now its reduced a loooot.. i still buy a loooot of books thinking i will red it sum day, think haunts me though,..

my dads sis(may her soul rest in peace) used to read books wen her mom used to slog in the kitchen.. and they refer to it with so much.. insult.. she and her books!! while i used to admire her readin...

10:32 PM  
Blogger yellowdog granny said...

sling sent me..ahh, a fellow book lover...if i couldn't read i would die...that simple..
one of my first memories is getting my library card...and i read every thing was reading before i went to school..scared the teachers..when i was 9 i read atlas shrugged..haven't been the same sense...hope you come back soon..i like it here..js

12:03 AM  
Blogger The Exception said...

I am a voracious reader - it is just something I can not give up. There is always time to read. My mom could never punish me by sending me to my room as it was not punishment; I would pick up a book and be as happy as could be.

My daughter is getting there - she will read most anything she sees. The one thing she has is her own library. I can't help indulging this. She doesn't often get toys; doesn't often want toys; but if there is a new volume of Magic Tree house or A-Z mysteries... She will want it.

4:05 AM  

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