To start of, I began reading when I was just 10-years old. I used to indulge in the thick volumes of encyclopedias to curtail the boredom brought about by rural living. Moreover, through encyclopedias I gained a whole lot of knowledge. It was also through its glossy pages that I formed grandiose plans for my own.
Initially I was not keen on immersing myself on the lengthy and verbose narratives of novels. However, novel-reading piqued my attention on my last year in high school. Slowly gaining momentum, I got lost in the great works of some of amazing authors. Though I have read my hefty share, I have still quite a long way to go.
I rarely write about books I have read because I have no iota on the premise upon which I must write. However, through a fellow blogger, I’ve come across the NY Times By the Book Tag. I find it interesting so I decided to give it a go on my page. The NY Times By the Book Tag was started by Danish Booktuber Marie Berg on Youtube. Inspired by the book called “By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life” from The New York Times Book Review, she came up with a list of the most discussion-worthy questions:
- What book is on your night stand now?
- What was the last truly great book you read?
- If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
- What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
- How do you organize your personal library?
- What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
- Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
- What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
- If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
- What do you plan to read next?
So here’s my set of responses.
1. What book is on your night stand now?
As of the moment, I am unconsciously immersing in British literature. After completing the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I am currently engrossed with the Chronicles of Narnia series written by Clive Staples Lewis, or more familiarly, C.S. Lewis. Of course everybody recognizes the title with the movie series of the same title. The series is composed of seven (7) books and is set in the fantasy world of Narnia.
I am reading it using Harper Collins reading order. I am done with The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. However, based on original publication order, the former was published sixth of the seven books and the latter was published first. I am on the third book of the series, The Horse and His Boy which was the fifth book to be published.
2. What was the last truly great book you read?
Lately I have been having trouble appreciating books that I read. This year I’ve read great classic works like Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky but it seems that my palette has suddenly staled. However, for this question I choose the classic Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. I wasn’t able to fully grasp the book but I was inspired by Robinson Crusoe’s steely reserve to keep on surviving in spite of the adversities he faced. Moreover, I admire how he clung to his faith even though he was pushed beyond his limits. Touted as the first English book, Robinson Crusoe is so far the only classic work I’ve read this year that I was able to fully appreciate.
But the last truly great work that I deem fits this one is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It is not only because it tackles one of the more controversial topics in our current society but because also of the rawness of emotions of the main protagonists. For me, it’s true meaning lies beyond love but more on life and wisdom.
3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
ave quite a lot on this list. Sidney Sheldon is the first one to come to mind even though he was already passed away. Aside from the fact that he is my long outstanding favorite author, I want to know how he was able to overcome the challenges of bipolar disorder to become one of the truly recognized writers of his time.
Another author I want to meet is Haruki Murakami. It was just lately that I encountered his works and I was immediately enamored by his eccentric sense of writing. Amongst the surrealism, I want to grasp his works because I seem to have gotten lost in translation. I also want to understand his thought process because it seems to me
distinctively different from the more traditional writers.
Lastly, I want to meet the great Paulo Coehlo. The Alchemist. Enough said.
4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
For someone who started with the contemporary works, I have quite a lot of classic works on my shelves. It was just lately that I started investing on classic authors such as Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, T.S. Elliot, Charlotte Bronte, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Charles Dickens among others. This is because of my desire to read all, if not majority, of the books enumerated in the Top 1001 books to read. So far I have already read about 50 of these 1001 books to read.
5. How do you organize your personal library?
I don’t have any particular scheme in organizing my personal library, especially with the limitation in space that I am current faced with. Right now, I have two sets of personal library. My library in the province is currently all over the place because, sadly, I rarely visit it, hence, the ruckus. Given the time, I’d store all these books in boxes because I’ve read majority of it already. However, I hate storing my books in boxes. I always want to flaunt them. Yep, that is so vain of me. 🙂
For my Manila collection, I organize it by author. I also group the ones that I’ve read and the ones that I am still to read. Currently I have over 100 books that are still unread. 🙂 I also plan to transport some of my books to the province to free up some badly needed space. When I have my own place, I will dedicate a large space for my burgeoning collection.
6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
I’ve shied away from Stephen King works because of my aversion to horror. Some of his works are actually highly acclaimed. Because of this I am planning to read some more of his works. It or Carrie seems a good starting point. What do you think?
I feel embarrassed admitting that I am rarely into Filipino authors. My venture into Philippine literature reading is limited to
the requirements of my high school Filipino subject, such as El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere by Dr. Jose Rizal. My office boss is actually recommending Nick Joaquin works. Let’s see.
7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
I have to agree with my fellow blogger on his answer. Though funny, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler is an underwhelming read. To be honest, I was just taken in by the appearance of the book that I bought it on sight. The theme is a recurring one. The illustrations is its saving grace though.
The first and only time I put down a book before completing it is To Be The Best by English author Barbara Taylor Bradford. This is the third book of her series that starred Emma Harte in the first book A Woman of Substance, though at that time I didn’t have an inkling. I eventually finished reading To Be The Best after numerous attempts. I actually ended up loving it that I have bought and read three of the seven books of the series. Aside from this book, there are no others that I put down prematurely even for those that I initially didn’t feel like reading. I don’t know, maybe because I am a strong believer of the “finish whatever you started” mantra.
8. What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
I am fine with any kind of story but I veer mostly on adventure and mystery books. The advent of dystopian novels also brought a new brand which I ended up liking. But to be honest, I am more drawn to the more renowned authors and works. That is my one true metric in reading. However, once in a while I indulge also in the not-so-mainstream books.
As mentioned above, I am quite averse to horror stories because of the vividness of my imagination. Graphic images tend to stick on me until I sleep. I also not that enamored with young adult books that every now and then I read.
9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Surprisingly, I share a common favorite with our current leader. Among his favorite authors is Sidney Sheldon. 🙂 The question, on the other hand, is a bit tricky one knowing now how widely read our current leader is. I would require leadership books but I am pretty sure he’s had his healthy share of these books.
Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. I suppose I could require him to read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami because I find it as eccentric as he is. Or he can also try The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by the same author.
10. What do you plan to read next?
I’ve quite a lot of books on this list. As mentioned above, I am currently invested on ticking one by one the books listed under the Top 1001 Books to Read. It is a tall order indeed
So far, on top of my list are the following:
- On The Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
- The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
- Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowlings
- The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Hopefully I can finish them within the year considering how multitudinous and varied these books are. I guess that’s how I like my reading to be, varied and unpredictable. 🙂
Credits to the following for some of the photos above:
(1) By The Book Cover: https://us.macmillan.com/bythebook/pamelapaul
(2) It Cover: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_(novel)
(3) The Alchemist Cover: https://bliss-therapy.org/a-book-review-from-bliss-specialist-tammy-benwell-on-the-alchemist/
(4) Kafka on the Shore Cover: https://tomcatintheredroom.com/2011/06/02/kafka-on-the-shore-haruki-murakami/