Everything has a story and sometimes these stories stick with you for the rest of your life. I guess that’s why I want to write this entry, the story of my bookshelf and how it has grown since I first started devoting myself to reading.
My family has always been a family of readers, every room in our house has a bookshelf inside with our own personal collection of books. In one part of our house, we even have a library where every book that our family wanted to share would be placed there for everyone to enjoy. But I, being the youngest of the seven, was never fond of reading, apart from the usual Tintin comic books that we collected way back in the early 90’s, I stayed away from books and didn’t really read all that much.
But all of that changed when I picked up The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown back in 2004. Yes, it isn’t actually the best book to be inspired to read but nevertheless it helped me grow to love reading. Since then I have been buying and spending most of my money on books. At first I would try collecting series’ such as Artemis Fowl and A Series of Unfortunate Events, well mostly young adult fiction at the start since they were the easiest to read.
Later on, I would move from the young adult genre and start venturing into other types of genres. When I was in third year high school, my fondness and love for history started blossoming, because of my fondness for the subject I started collecting and reading historical fiction. Since then I’ve always made it a point to buy a historical fiction book that really interests me.
As I slowly started building my collection, I would trawl the usual sites to find new books to read such as: the New York Times bestseller lists or my good friend Emman who would recommend to me books that he thinks are worth reading. Throughout the years he has never failed to give me a list of the books I should read. It was through Emman that I grew to love James Clavell’s “Shogun” and later on this would be the basis for our conversations. But most of the time, I would just simply drop by the Power Books branch of Shangri-la Mall and spend maybe an hour and a half just browsing the shelves and the bestseller lists. Later on, when the Shangri-la acquired its own Fully Booked store, it became my go-to place for buying books since Power Books decided to do a National Bookstore.
Though there were times when I wouldn’t be able to find any good book to read. The drought of my book buying and reading sessions started during my college days. The first two years were exceptionally difficult since I just couldn’t find any book that was interesting enough to make me want it. But in my third year at the university, I experienced a renaissance, it was one moment in August that with the money that I had earned organizing a party that I found myself inside Power Books and Fully Booked looking at new things to read. I came across C.J. Sansom (The Matthew Shardlake series) and Tom Rob Smith (Child 44), historical fiction writers, that my book buying session continued. Oftentimes my visits would be sporadic, but when I do visit, I make sure that I don’t leave with just one or two books I make sure that I am carrying at least 3 or more. The most number of books that I’ve bought in one go was around five and these usually happen just before a term/Christmas/summer break.
In many ways, I am truly happy with the most of the choices that I’ve made when it comes to buying books. It’s really an eclectic mix of different genres of fiction and that the only predominant theme is historical fiction. Apart from books, I also collect graphic novels, this is because my brother and I are comic books geeks. At first it began with a graduation gift that later on bloomed to collecting interesting stories by both Marvel and DC. Some of the comics that I’ve managed to collect so far are Earth X, Civil War, Wolverine: Origins, on the DC side: Kingdom Come, Watchmen, the Batman basics (Year One, Killing Joke, DKR, and Long Halloween). Later this month, I am expecting three new ‘indie’ comics to arrive: Persepolis, Y: The Last Man and Gary DeLisle’s Pyongyang, besides those three new ones, I consider my V for Vendetta and 300 as part of the indie comic genre in my shelf.
So far I don’t see myself stopping from buying and reading books. It’s a hobby that I enjoy the most and it’s the only thing that keeps me sane after a hard days work. I truly enjoy going to bookshops and spending hours looking at the blurbs and debating which book should I get and which I should get for later. If money wasn’t a problem, I probably would have bought most of the books that I want already. In fact and to be honest, before I met my girlfriend, most of my money went to my book fund. But having Tricia around hasn’t dented my book fund in any way, in fact I am glad that she supports my hobby and loves to read as well (thank god! There are so few out there). As my collection continues to grow, I have only a few regrets when it comes to buying books, because of my intense interest in learning about the Templars (thank you Dan Brown) or a specific topic, I have amassed a few books that I regret buying and now regret ever having read it. Likewise, in any collection, I have also some books that I never got around in finishing. Usually these books are those written by Marquez (too verbose), Jack Kerouac and some literary winners. Another interesting thing about my collection is that I never got around to collecting and really getting into the classics zone. I find that the language these books use makes me fall asleep faster than my old history professor.
As I wind down this entry, I realized two things: bookstores and authors. First, bookstores, when I first began buying books from Powerbooks in Megamall, their branch was a ginormous store that was really a pleasant place to visit. But after SM decided to downsize the store and whatever management decided for Powerbooks, it has never truly been the same. Powerbooks in effect has been turned into a grocery store of poorly chosen books that stock whatever is in and has become a National Bookstore (I cannot stress that enough). When Powerbooks transformed itself, I was really disappointed and ever since, I seldom go there. My second realization is, no matter how much you love a particular author, buying his/her entire series is a bad idea. Since most of the time the sequels and those that follow come out as flops and therefore it’s always good to rely on book reviews to help you out in deciding whether you should buy the book or not.
So that’s it, that’s the story of my bookshelf and how I became a bookworm.