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Being a bookworm

/ 06:09 PM February 23, 2018

I entered a bookstore and took a stroll. I enjoyed picking up books, reading synopses, flipping through the pages, skimming through the recto and verso, and sniffing paper. Then I came across a copy of Haruki Murakami’s “Men Without Women.” It was sealed, so I just read the blurb. I wanted it so badly but I was reminded of the unread books sitting on my bookshelf—some brand-new, others preloved. I dread book shortage.

I consider books treasures. I particularly like novels, but poem collections also interest me. When I go to the mall, I’d rather shop for books than clothes; that’s the logic, basically. But in my busy schedule, it’s almost impossible to finish 50 pages or so in a day. A chapter would do, I guess. I’m a slow reader. I overanalyze sentences, hoping to get into the writer’s very thoughts.


So why do people read books? To enrich their word bank? To understand grammar better? To be well-versed? Perhaps. Aside from unfamiliar sentence structures, new words, mind-blowing plot twists, there is still so much more to it.

Some people say reading fiction is an escape from the daily disappointments in life. In contrast, I recall a quote that says reading is not an escape from life but a shortcut to a better one. Which one is yours? Some read for disengagement; others see it as a reality stimulator.


I began reading books, the ones available at home, when I was in grade school, but I can’t remember finishing an entire book. The very first novel I finished reading that was not a school requirement was “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which I borrowed from a neighbor. He lent me the first four books in the series. I got hooked and began memorizing some magical spells.

I could say that I got infected with Harry Potter fever. I saw the world differently. Even opening a door seemed magical.

A decade later I was introduced to Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood.” It’s unforgettable, and it became part of me. I may no longer remember the characters’ names and other details, but the soul of it stays. After “Norwegian Wood,” the more I saw the world in a different perspective: Even just stepping out of my house or seeing a black cat became somewhat metaphysical and surreal. I really liked the feeling, so I decided to purchase his other books.

In 2016 I began reading Khaled Hosseini. The reality of his stories is distressing. But still, I continued reading until his third book, not because I am a sadist but because his books taught me a lot about life. He helped me understand life situations more. He made me somehow understand different personalities.

Last year I read “A Wrinkle in Time,” a science fantasy novel and my first read that had a movie based on it due for release within weeks.

Good writers never fail to amaze me with their colorful and intricate imagination. They are so generous that they let us create our own version through imagination as well. Doesn’t it sound exciting? This book offered me a different experience. Its simplicity reminded me of the fundamentals in life.

As you grow older, reading a book serves to enhance, not just the hard skills, but more importantly, the soft skills. As a child, I used to think that people read just to impress, to look smart, but I was wrong. People read to understand life more. Living in this world doesn’t make you understand what life is about. You need to listen to other people’s voices—their mishaps, struggles, successes, circumstances, and joys. In doing so, thriving will never be impossible.


Lenie Morota, 29, works at SELC Global Center.

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