I LOVE reading and I love books. I’ve collected thousands of books since I discovered the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and even Bobbsey Twins in the library of my high school in our little town in Mindanao. Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne Identity” and George Eliot’s “Silas Marner” later followed.
In college, I almost failed my philosophy subjects because of Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and Yukio Mishima. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Milan Kundera later captured my imagination.
Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter Thompson became my bedside companions. Tom Clancy, Graham Greene, Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, lie beside Sionil Jose, Greg Brillantes and Danton Remoto.
There were others that are hidden under my bed with secondhand copies of Penthouse and Playboy.
There were just too many to read. Gone were the days when I can finish a Charles Dickens or a Thomas Mann novel in a week. Of course I have to struggle with textbooks, manuals and other non-fiction works that I collect from Booksale and during the annual book sale of National Bookstore.
This year, with the realization that I need to use glasses to read, I discovered audio books. I went crazy downloading the classics on my iPhone. I have the time and the chance now to enjoy “Don Quixote” and the “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” while commuting to and from the office.
Reading is now only for newly-released books like Paulo Coelho’s “Aleph” and Roy Peter Clark’s “The Glamour of Grammar” and “Help! for Writers.”
Some time ago I worried that I would not be able to read the classics in my lifetime. With technology, however, I am optimistic that there is enough time. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” will have to come after Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” next week.