“A room without a book is like a body without a soul.” – Cicero
This insight from a famous figure from antiquity is so surprising because it was created before the invention of mass printing, when every copy of a literary work was painstakingly reproduced as a manuscript.
After the simple textbooks and children’s stories we were made to read in elementary school, my first exposure to serious reading was like a huge door that, after I was able to open with great difficulty, led me into a new magical world that I could visit and revisit easier afterwards. That experience also awakened me to a lifelong love and an almost insatiable appetite for reading.
I was 11 years old and in high school when my English teacher gave us the first book report assignment. He gave us a list of recommended books for pre-teens, which included The Hardy Boys, X-Bar X Boys and Dave Dawson’s adventure series, but he also said we were free to take any other book in the school library that we liked. hold, to choose.
Since none of the suggested books really appealed to me, I went to the library to browse. There I came across some “medieval” books about kings and knights, whose exploits were a staple for kids my age because of our exposure to “classic illustrated” and Tagalog comic books featuring heroes of fantasy adventures like “Principle Amante”.
One of the books that immediately caught my eye was Ivanhoe, a novel about an English knight in the time of the Crusades. Also in the book appears the unique archer Robin Hood, who became my childhood hero when I watched the award-winning movie, The Adventures of Robin Hood, with the arrogant actor Errol Flynn.
I immediately chose “Ivanhoe” for my written report, not realizing the enormous difficulty facing the daunting volume of more than 1,200 pages, in which about half of each page consists of long marginal lines explaining the meaning of the Saxon and Norman medieval terms explained by the author, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), perhaps to improve the originality of his work. The story itself deals extensively with the ongoing conflict between the displaced Saxons and the intrusive neo-Norman cultures of the era.
When I presented the book’s title as my upcoming book report, my English teacher looked at me quizzically and asked if I really wanted it for my report. Not knowing any better, I said yes. The next few weeks were probably the hardest to read in my entire life. While my colleagues flipped through over a hundred pages of teenage adventure stories, I flipped through over a thousand pages of “medieval” texts that are only understandable by the large margins at the bottom of each page.
Against all odds, I set the deadline for a written report. It was a liberating achievement, and instead of me hating reading, it instilled in me a lifelong affinity and affinity for the written word. Today I am open to all kinds of lectures, even the most difficult ones. Needless to say, after Ivanhoe’s acid test, every subsequent writing assignment at school was a breeze.
Today, my humble home library is as eclectic as possible, reflecting the many interests and activities that have emerged at different stages of my life.
I have a section on the various sports that kept me busy from my younger days to my late teens – running, tennis, martial arts, fitness, guns, shooting, and later golf and motorcycles.
Throughout my career I have collected books on business, management, entrepreneurship, marketing and advertising. My lifelong interests are reflected in the Department of Literature, Poetry and Effective Writing. There are also shelves for volumes on history, social issues, inspirational books, Philippine affairs and literature.
But a special section of my little library reflects my lifelong search for truth in all its aspects – philosophical, moral, spiritual, pragmatic and practical. Widely varied topics include natural theology, cosmology, ethics, the work of philosophers and sages throughout history, and the teachings of various spiritual traditions and religions.
But there is also plenty of classic literature and modern fiction – from Shakespeare’s plays, Charles Dickens’ novels and science fiction by HG Wells and Arthur Clarke, to bestsellers by Dan Brown and Steve Perry. And not to forget all the books and short stories about my all-time favorite – the peerless fictional detective Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Just before his death last year, he was a dear family friend, Sr. Alfredo Ballinong, SJ (Father Freddy Us), gave me his personal book collection. Believe it or not, the books are all war stories, mostly about World War II in particular, and I had to get a separate bookshelf to accommodate them.
I’m sure Father Freddy had other books on more peaceful and spiritual subjects, and I suspect that his particular interest in World War II was sparked by the fact that his only brother was a soldier who fought in the war and during the Bataan -death march died. .
That said, I really appreciate Father Freddy’s kind gesture, and I will definitely be able to read some of the books he left me. I think he chose me to inherit his collection because he knew my love of books would ensure they were properly cared for. Thank you Father Freddy.
It can be difficult to find a true book lover who will read one exclusive book at a time.
I read many books to myself at any given time, switching from book to book to suit my mood at the moment. And like old friends that one misses, some books are worth revisiting again and again.
Below are some of the relatively recent books I am currently reading or revisiting, some of which may be of interest to readers looking for unusual or esoteric topics: “The World of Self-Awareness” (Amit Goswami); “The Physics of God” (Joseph Selby); “Quantum Theology” (Diaarmuid Omorsho); “The cosmic game” (Stanislav Grof).
Books on recent topics that I enjoy most are “The Future Is Faster Than You Think” (Peter Diamandes and Stephen Kotler); “Homo Deus” (Yuval Noah Harari); and “War and Anti-War” (Alvin and Heidi Toffler), a book written in the 1990s that has astonishing relevance in today’s chaotic world.
Books are a magical literary carpet that transports man to exciting new worlds without leaving the comfort of his home. People who develop a love of reading at a young age will have a lifelong blessing to enjoy and a trait they can pass on to their children.
Known as a lifelong avid reader, Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who have moved the world.” – Contributed