Sunday, August 26, 2007

Book love

I agree with Cathy Babao-Guballa when she says in today's Inquirer that book-loving parents raise book-loving kids. You can't expect to raise a child who reads if you yourself can't find the time to. It's a matter of giving kids an idea of what it means to be grown-up. It's the reason we're given toy cars to drive and oven sets to bake plastic cookies in. It's all about kids aping what their parents do.

Of course there are exceptions. I had parents who valued education but weren't exactly voracious readers outside school. Yet my brother and I became speed-reading bookworms before the fourth grade. In our case it was a matter of skill and serendipity. We learned how to read even before school and found the task easy and enjoyable.

I remember holding back in nursery when the teacher asked the class to read aloud the words on the board. While half the class can barely keep up, I was already past the "reading aloud" stage, discovering that you can read more books if you just used your eyes.

From 2nd grade onwards (when we were allowed to take out library books) I finished the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew collections in one quarter, devouring them at a rate of one per day. This was after classes. Lunchtime was spent reading comicbooks. We followed the Wolfman/Perez "Teen Titans," "Batman and the Outsiders," and "Crisis on Infinite Earths." The latter taught me to appreciate complex plotting, although I wouldn't realize it until college.

Then there was the time when the television broke down. We were at a low point financially so our parents had TV repair way below the list of priorities. I read random encyclopedia articles in between fiction.* Books were becoming an addiction especially since we discovered the National Bookstore bargain bin. To kids with indiscriminate taste and less than P50 to spend, a shelf full of P10 books was heaven.

College was Xerox heaven. Lit majors had to read an insane amount of stuff and since this was before fair use was strictly enforced by the university we just photocopied everything assigned. There was a cool copy shop that cut and bound the copies just like real books, which just made it more appealing.

My reading habits changed a bit after getting a PDA in 2000. This meant I could store dozens of books in my pocket and read them whenever I was waiting in line or eating alone. This led to my multiple book thing, which persists to this day. I'm usually in the middle of two books in my Palm ( one fiction and one non fiction), a comic series on my laptop, a book in the office (usually work-related), two more at home, and one in my bag.

So I guess it's pretty safe to say that I'll beget kids who read a lot.

*I still do. I've recently started reading a couple of random Wikipedia articles everyday.


Anonymous said...

Wow... yun lang... wow.

Buti di ka naispatan ng Promil people... haha!

missingpoints said...

Wala pa kasing Promil nung kapanahunan namin. :) S26 lang.