Fully booked: A love affair with books



These are twelve signs you’re a book lover:

1. You’d rather read a book than make small talk.
2. If you make small talk, it’s about a book.
3. Your heart breaks a little bit when a good book ends.
4. When that good book ends, you let the book linger in your arms and you imagine what-if scenarios should the story carry on.
5. You’d rather get books than clothes as presents.
6. You don’t need a bookmark to find your place in a book.
7. You hate being interrupted while reading.
8. Your tattoo is a quote from a book. Or if you don’t have a tattoo and plan on getting one, it will be a quote from a book.
9. You’re hardly satisfied with movies based on books.
10. You could be reading two books at the same time.
11. You’ve treated the school library as a sanctuary.
12. As you read this, you’ve got a book within arm’s reach.

If you found yourself nodding to most of these items, well hello there, kindred soul! You must love books as much as I do, if not much, much more. Tell me, what are you reading? What books do you recommend? But wait, before we engage in bookish chit-chat, let me tell you about my love affair with books. Then I would love for you to tell me yours.

 photo a_fully_booked_2_zps94cdd09b.jpgThis is how my love story with books begins.

Perhaps the biggest gift a book has ever given me is companionship. I am never alone with a good book. Growing up, I was pretty much a loner. Maybe it was the thick glasses that turned my classmates off. Maybe it was my preference to bury my nose in a book than engage in talk about boys. Books were there to always embrace me. Its pages would open wide and I’d dive into it like a toddler jumping into his Mommy’s arms. Books shielded me from the noise of parents fighting. Books comforted me when friends would come and go. Books pacified me when I’d be cross or heartbroken. They weren’t just sadness savers. Books would whisk me away to places when I was feeling adventurous. Books would indulge my curiosity when I was feeling inquisitive. Books were always the answer to almost every emotion I had growing up. Books were my solace.

The school library was a big part of my childhood. Oh how I’d hide in between shelves, sit on the floor and pore through books of various genres. During recess I’d read about the saints. During lunch I’d read about fairy tales. While waiting for my ride home I’d linger in the young adults area (formerly called the “juvenile” section). My relationship with the library intensified from grade school all the way to high school. The library subdued the noise of cliques and teenage drama.

I remember the thrill of a maxed out library card. One card must fill about twenty books, I suppose. I also remember the suspense of the card catalogue system. Yes, this gives away my generation! I do not mind at all as I enjoyed the pleasure of the search – the feel of the cardboard labels under my fingers, the buzz as I’d skip through titles to find that one perfect book I’d need. It wasn’t always fun, especially when I’d need to beat deadlines for book reports. Nonetheless, I look back at card catalogues with much fondness.

 photo a_fully_booked_3_zps49096ef6.jpgThe love for books starts at home.

I believe that if you’re raised in a family of readers, there is a high chance you’ll be an avid reader yourself. My late grandfather was huge on reading. If he weren’t reading a Reader’s Digest, he’d be reading a mystery novel. My parents are also voracious readers. My Dad’s bookish interests range from hardcore business to spirituality and wellness. My Mom’s preferences span from romance to medical books. Don’t even get me started on my sisters. One is a Library Science student (she aspires to be a librarian someday). The other is big on e-books. As for me, my room is crammed with books – books I’ve read once, twice, thrice and never.

Reading is a popular hobby at home. It’s the common interest that binds my family. My Dad loves gardening – the rest of us have black thumbs. My Mom loves piano playing – the rest of us prefer to listen to music. One sister loves baking – the rest of us would rather eat her pastries. I love writing – the others would prefer to read than put a pen on paper. Another sister enjoys travelling – the rest of us would rather cosy up at home. We have our differences, but there is one similarity that threads us all – our passion for reading. We can talk for hours about good books we’ve read, books we hate, books we wish we wrote, books we want to read, books we want each other to read… If you’re imagining that we’re a family composed of bespectacled members, you are spot on. Very much spot on!

 photo a_fully_booked_4_zps6a116222.jpg

An open bookshelf is not an open invitation.

My biggest pet peeve is people digging into my bookshelf without permission. I’ve experienced this several times. I’d invite some friends over to my place, turn my back on them to get some food and by the time I’d get to them, my books would be in their hands. I just want to establish that I am not selfish with my books. Okay, maybe a little. I am just very protective. It’s okay for me to dog-ear my own books, but others can’t. I can read my books with grubby fingers but others can’t. I can pull out books from my shelf whenever I want to, but others can’t. Books to me are more than just pieces of paper stuck together. They are experiences I live and relive. This is why I get upset when others dig into my stash without permission. I feel a part of me is being invaded.

 photo a_fully_zpsf7692ca1.jpgDo e-books intensify the love for reading?

When the Kindle was first introduced, I went “Baaaaah, I don’t need that.” Why would I want to miss out on the distinct scent of new and old books? Why would I want to miss out on the suspense of turning a book’s crisp pages? E-books? Pfffftttt. Well I have eaten my words many, many times. My Mom gave me her old Kindle a few years ago. I’ve read and finished three books in the two weeks since I got it. That’s already a lot coming from a mother to a little boy. Here’s the thing with mothering little kids: You can read books, but you may not necessarily finish them the soonest you want to. Somehow with the Kindle, I was able to manage reading and finishing three whole books. I remember reading a Kindle while nursing my little boy years ago. I still read while he reads. I read while he naps, without worrying that the rustling of the pages will wake him. The Kindle has intensified my love for reading.

Yes, I am a book lover.

I would rather read a book than make small talk. If we do make small talk, I’ll bring something book-related up. My heart breaks not a little but a lot when a good book ends. When that good book ends, I let the book linger in my arms and imagine what-if scenarios should the story carry on. I’d rather get books than clothes as presents. I don’t need a bookmark to find my place in a book. I abhor being interrupted while reading. If I get a tattoo, it would be the line “I feel infinite” from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I am hardly satisfied with movies based on books (except for “The Jane Austen Club”). I can read two books at the same time. I’ve treated the school library as a sanctuary. And yes, as I type this article, I’ve got about at least a dozen books within arm’s reach.

I’ve told you my love story with books. It’s your turn to tell me yours.

What’s your love affair like? What are your favorite books? Do you have any new book recommendations? C’mon, fellow book lover, let’s gush and talk the way only book lovers can.

This post first appeared on the Philippine Online Chronicles.
Photo: “Friday Evening Bokeh” by dan barbus, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Vacaciones” by Annais Ferreira, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan” by Ginny, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Books – bookcase top shelf” by Phil Moore, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading Her Kindle, After Mary Cassatt” by Mike Licht, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.

21 Comments on Fully booked: A love affair with books

  1. Aggie
    November 7, 2014 at 7:06 am (10 years ago)

    Yes, yes, yes to everything you wrote there. :)
    I grew up in a family of readers. We always say (me and my siblings) that having no TV for five years was the biggest blessing of our childhood – we learned to read, appreciated music and learned to make friends outside the house! Haha :)

    I stopped reading when my youngest was born and just recently started reading again thanks to e-books. My son has a Kindle (a hand me-down from his Uncle) and I have Kindle-envy! Hopefully if Santa is listening, he gives me a Kindle soon :)
    Aggie´s last blog post ..The 52 Project

    • Toni
      November 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm (10 years ago)

      I’ll shout extra loud to Santa for your wish! :) The Kindle has helped me catch up on my reading!!! I have so many books in my Kindle that I can’t wait to start on. :) Wishing you a Kindle Christmas!

  2. Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal
    November 7, 2014 at 8:12 am (10 years ago)

    wwwaaahhh!!! I could definitely relate to the list you wrote. Hahaha! I have made a post as well about me being a bookworm. To be honest, I fell in love with reading few years ago, when I had 2 kids already. It started with the Harry Potter series, then the Twilight series… Then I stopped. Then around 2 or 3 years ago, I went back to reading again cause some of the mommy bloggers I follow at instagram were discussing 50 Shades of Gray, I got curious that I bought the first one, then I got hooked I bought the next 2 books. Then I found my love of reading all over again. I am a late Paulo Coelho fan. The first book that I read by Paulo was entitled, By The River Piedra I sat Down and Cry. And literally by the end of the book I cried. Hahaha! Then I bought almost of his book, I have his current novel, Adultery, I could say I liked it cause one will think of what kind of life you have and that no matter what you should be thankful for it. This book is really for THE adults. Hahaha! Another author that I know I am a late fan of, is Mitch Albom, the first book that I read was Time Keeper, and this book made me cry. I really don’t have a certain type of story to read, as long as it catches my attention, then I will go for it. Me naman, I am not a fan of kindle, probably because I still prefer treading books, holding them, the smell of a newly opened book. Haaay. Hahaha! Any kind of bookstore, is like a candy store for me. And when I read, I make sure I have a marker and a post it with me. One thing I hate is when a person usually asks to borrow my book, especially if I know the person, I lend the book. But what I hate the most, when I have to be the one to follow up and ask for the book again. Hahaha! So lately the same person keeps on asking if she could borrow my book/s, I don’t reply anymore. Hahaha! Selfish kung selfish but my books are my babies as well. My older daughter, who is 16 already, is a book lover too, like me. She told me one day, MOM YOU SHOULD MAKE A WILL THAT ALL OF YOUR BOOKS WILL BE UNDER MY CARE. Hahaha! That really made me laugh. It has been a while that I haven’t read. The last book I read was ADULTERY and now after reading your post, I have to look in my collection and start reading again. Thank you for this post. Sorry for the long comment. Hehehe!
    Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal´s last blog post ..1st Summer Activity: McDonald’s Kiddie Crew

    • Toni
      November 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm (10 years ago)

      You know I love long comments! 😀 Yey for reading! We have the same taste in books, so I’ll recommend that you also read Rainbow Rowell’s books. Read Attachments first. Then Landline. Then Eleanor and Park. Then Fangirl. They’re not related naman to each other, but I just ordered them from the book I most like to the least. Heehee. But all her books are good. Go read Rainbow Rowell!

      • Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal
        November 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm (10 years ago)

        I have all Rowell’s books. I love ELEANOR and Park, high school Lang ang peg. I will follow your suggestion of which book to read first.

        • Toni
          November 11, 2014 at 6:46 pm (10 years ago)

          Attachments! My fave Rainbow book ever. Kilig. <3

  3. Chrissie
    November 8, 2014 at 3:07 am (10 years ago)

    Absolutely agree with you on the Kindle (or any ebook reader, for that matter). With Miffy being the curious little critter she is, I cannot manage to read paper books without her curiously trying to grab it from me. Proof, it took me almost a month to finish the new Percy Jackson. I mean, that’s a Middle Grade book. I read the first series in a week!

    While the rustling of pages, the tactile feel of paper between your fingers, and being able to eyeball where you are in a book (percentages and locations are so deceptive) are something I miss, I’m still grateful to have an ereader because at least I’m still able to read.
    Chrissie´s last blog post ..#KitchenSizzles Book Tour Winners

    • Toni
      November 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm (10 years ago)

      I don’t think ebook readers will ever replace how paper books engage our senses, but yes, since they help us read more, yey for ebook readers!

  4. Chrissy Caballero
    November 8, 2014 at 8:47 am (10 years ago)

    Yes to everything here especially the one re open shelves

    • Toni
      November 11, 2014 at 6:49 pm (10 years ago)

      That’s one reason why I put my books in our bedroom nalang :/

  5. Chrissy Caballero
    November 8, 2014 at 8:50 am (10 years ago)

    i also get annoyed when someone else wants to open or read a book I just bought haha. I have to be the first one to flip open the book, turn the pages and sniff through it, basking on its new book scent.
    Chrissy Caballero´s last blog post ..My little school boy {First Day High Stories}

    • Toni
      November 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm (10 years ago)

      Yes! I can relate to that. :)

  6. sheng
    November 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm (10 years ago)

    Well, I am one fan of your site and I am a lover of books as well, and I remember getting pissed off at friends who borrow books and forget about returning them all too soon. I love books, and I can never forsake them.

    • Toni
      November 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm (10 years ago)

      Naku! I had classmates like that before. They’d borrow my Sweet Valley Twins and NOT RETURN THEM. As in dinededma ako. I remember getting so irritated. I didn’t lend my books anymore that much after that. You could tell a lot about a person by the way they value books, and by the way they understand how others value books. [Did I make sense? Haha!]

  7. Tessa
    November 8, 2014 at 11:56 pm (10 years ago)

    I love books. I read everyday and nowadays my preferred genre is biography and non-fiction.

    I used to be obsessive with my books but not anymore. When i was a hoarder, i was particular with their appearance but i found it impossible to enjoy the book when i care more about preventing creases.

    i also am getting into the practice of close reading so i may find myself making annotations on the books that i will read since i need to interact with them.
    i want to be a literary critic so my lit professor encouraged me to practice by interacting with the book. Medyo nahihirapan pa ako ditto kasi i want to make my book pristine atsaka i want to know what happens kaagad. But tradeoff ito, kasi for close reading mas mabagal pero necessary siya para sa potential career na gusto ko.
    i still am a hoarder and i know it’s unambitious but one certain item on my bucket list is to finish all my books. I have over 600 actual books and over 1500 ebooks. hehe, i know. i have the kindle and iPad pero if i see a copy in fully booked, nbs, powerbooks or a second had bookstore, i buy it.

    i’m a compulsive shopper when it comes to books. i love it. really. kaya lang, i am saving up for future travel after graduation so i stay away from bookstores.

    I used to have a superior attitude towards ebooks, but it’s understandable. unang una, i see them as contingencies.

    if ever there is an emergency and i need to salvage items from our house, i will help my mom with food, water, important documents, medicine; i will get my gadgets.

    i will leave the books since they’re too many but i will come back and see what i can still recover. i saw a blog post where jessica zafra gave tips on how to care for books that were nearly destroyed by flood water and it was helpful for a lot of the users.

    i am constantly updating my books list and getting a copy on ebook and other formats. i also make a list of the books i read.

    I make comments on the books that i read so I can remember. there are excellent moments and passages in a book that will stay with you for a long time.

    the same goes for symbolisms that may seem counter to our intuition but when we think it over it works.

    i think this is one way of making the reader linger over a book after reading it.

    one writer who achieved this was arthur golden’s memoirs of a geisha.

    i kiss a book after i am deeply affected by it and if i was enormously invigorated by it.

    One sad thing about being the only reader among your peers is that you have difficulty talking about the books that you read in a level that we long for.

    so when i meet someone attractive, kind and who longs for literature the same way that i do, i tend to get emotionally attached to that person.

    only to find out that she will never bat for my team, hahaha!!

    Anyway, Toni, that last comment is to make my long comment lighter. pero to too talaga yan, nagkagusto ako sa kanya. kaya lang straight. paano ba naman, dalawang tao lang sa buhay ko ang na meet ko that had the same passion for reading and literature na halos pareho ng edad ko.

    Thanks Toni! Good night, and I love these posts of yours that’s dedicated to books.

    • Toni
      November 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm (10 years ago)

      I love your post! It’s a whole blog entry in itself.

      I love that you kiss a book if you’re enamored by it. I hug a book naman! As in bear hug. Hahaha. At least I know I’m not that unusual!

  8. ceemee
    November 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm (10 years ago)

    I want to say that I am a bookworm, a book lover, but I admit I am not very widely read. I don’t have many books before. I have Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Little Women which I didn’t finish yet. But I already read the few Sweet Valley Twins, High and Saga that I have. My mom is into cookbooks, and that’s it! My dad is into Chinese books that I had a hard time getting into because I had to use the Chinese-English dictionary most of the time. One of my brothers like business books that don’t really interest me. My other two brothers… I dunno if they read books, hehe! I have an aunt who loves books talaga, I read all of her romance novels by authors like Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught. She lives in America so I don’t know what she reads now. I am currently reading two to three books at once. I wonder if I could finish them, but I always want to have more books. I am happy to receive books as presents as well. I wish I was Belle so I could also have a library of my own.

    So, I am not sure if I really have a love affair with books or not. :-)
    ceemee´s last blog post ..Rediscovering The Blogging Mojo In 5 Weird Ways, Cymplified!

  9. Ryan
    November 14, 2014 at 1:29 am (10 years ago)

    Hi Toni,

    I’ve always wanted to start reading books again, however I fall a sleep after a few pages. I feel that I am empty and I need to get back to my reading. However, I am proud that my two kids are getting in to the habit of reading, we have more than two hundred of the hiyas/adarna/lampara childrens book. Aside from that my eldest has his own collection of books (harry potter, diary of a wimpy kid, etc.) As for me, I am a fan of Filipino literature in English (F Sionil, NVM Gonzales, etc).

    Although I like the idea of reading an e-book, the texture and the scent of book pages still wins.

    • Toni
      December 9, 2014 at 12:57 am (9 years ago)

      Hi Ryan! It’s good to hear from you. :) That’s wonderful that your kids are such great readers!

      I’m not very familiar with Filipino literature but do want to explore more of it this 2015. Do you have any recommendations? :)

  10. Ays
    November 25, 2014 at 3:25 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Toni! Oh, I Love this post! I agree with you on all points there. I absolutely love books.

    I think I developed my love for reading when, as a kid, I would go on vacation at my aunt’s house in the province. This was way back before the Internet, of course, and the only entertainment we had over there would be the TV (and I wasn’t too interested in afternoon telenovelas), and my aunt’s stack of books. I think I read a LOT of Mills and Boon during those summers. I know M&B is not exactly good reading material for a teenager, but their books back then were very tame, kind of like the old Hollywood movies, ie. Casablanca, Roman holiday. Not like now, na medyo daring na ang stories. Anyway, I read it more for the description of those exotic locations where the love stories happened — Nice, London, Spain, etc. So I got to “travel” when I immersed myself in books.

    My sisters and I are avid book readers, that even if we don’t live in our family home anymore, one of the rooms there contains our books collected over the years. They’re not hard-bound and are probably not worth very much, but we don’t intend to sell them anytime soon. My sister has a collection of Nora Roberts books, and I myself have a varied collection ranging from the classics to the more modern ones.

    I recently discovered Rainbow Rowell, and I have to say, I LOVE her books! I feel like we speak the same language, you know she took me back to the 80s(Eleanor and Park) and 90s(Attachments), I feel like I’m living those years again.

    When I read a really good book, I seriously campaign for it, ie. on Twitter, Instagram and I even call my friends to tell them to read it. Have you read “Gone Girl”? That’s the book I’ve been pitching to my friends for the past 2 years already.

    I do love my Kindle (have read a lot of books in it), but I will not let go of my paperbacks and hardbounds. My husband asks me what I will do with them when we move from Singapore to a new country, and I always say, “they are coming with me”. Haha. :)

    • Toni
      December 9, 2014 at 12:59 am (9 years ago)

      I haven’t read Gone Girl yet but it’s been on my reading list for a long time now. Thanks for reminding me, Ays!

      Agree on all points about Rainbow Rowell — I feel like she’s speaking my language too. Especially the 90s! My gosh. I’m so in love with that IT guy character. 😛

      Thanks for sharing your book-loving thoughts with me! I loved reading every word of it! <3


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