Filipino Friday 2: School of Reading

July 27 – School of Reading. We all started reading somewhere, and more often than not, we were influenced by someone. Who got you into reading? Your parents? A friend? A librarian? One teacher who always lends out his/her books? How helpful was your school in helping your reading habit / fueling your book addiction?

I saw my parents read a lot, especially in bed right before going to sleep (a habit passed down to me). That got me hooked on reading as something adult and cool to do.

School helped fuel my reading habit by providing lots of reading materials. I remember the Dr. Seuss books – particularly Green Eggs & Ham – in our school’s library. Every year too we’d have kuyas and ates from Adarna books to tell stories and sell books. I got a bunch of Philippine mythology books, I think Alamat ni Mariang Makiling was one of them. Our English textbooks also had short stories. I’d read them during summer vacation, after mom got them from enrollment and before they’d get covered in plastic. I vividly remember the story of Latona, Apollo’s mom, from one of those textbooks.

I wouldn’t say I was actively encouraged by the librarian, or that I hung out in the library often (because, you know, the field where one played Chinese Garter and 10-20 was the place to be), but in the few times I found myself there I picked up books whose contents stuck with me for life. Such as:

  • The Masque of the Read Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Grade5. Creepy, yet compelling. One in a collection of Poe stories. Nevermore was also creepy, but this one really got under my skin.
  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Grade6. I guess everyone has there encounter-with-lola-Edith story, so I will repeat them and say this book changed my life. I didn’t understand then – still don’t, actually – the raw power of the ancient myths. Yes, they were brutal and sick and sometimes irrational, but they were deeply powerful and seemed to make sense in a primeval level.
  • The Amytiville Horror, first year high school. I wish I never read this book. I couldn’t sleep for days.

Couple other things that fed by reading habit:

  • Kuya Bodjie‘s storytelling segment on Batibot. Raise your hands if you remember Pamilya Ismid!
  • My aunt Gigi. I was 12, it was summer in Cadiz (north of Bacolod), we were there going on a month, I was bored  out of my head, she had the complete Chronicles of Narnia with her and lent them to me. Loved, loved, loved them instantly.
About Author: Katrina Ramos Atienza

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