Grendel, the murderous monster in Beowulf, tells his side of the story in this John Gardner book. The first few pages speak of Grendel’s anger. He was angry at his mother, humans, their living condition. He was angry at life. I would have continued if he only haunted the moors, went on rampage and made hell on Earth. But by Chapter 2, Grendel’s anger turned into nihilistic ramblings. He began thinking, exploring and questioning the meaninglessness of life.
Then, I was worried.
Knowing my fragile mental and emotional state, I knew I wasn’t ready to take in Grendel’s troubles. I have my own existential crisis to manage. It’s the healthier choice. Me first. Perhaps one day, when life gets a little kinder, I’ll have a better reaction to Grendel’s view that “the world is nothing but a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” other than nod.
Have you tried switching books? Did you feel guilty for not being mentally/emotionally ready for a certain read? 🥺
Readers come in different sizes, shapes and preferences. Aside from a shared love of books, no two readers are alike. Some people are series junkies, others are literary snobs. Some are polygamists, others are genre loyalists. Some are faithful to physical books, others are new gen e-readers. Some read by author, others read by mood. Some skim, others underline. Most often than not, they can be any of the above mentioned at the same time.
I, for one, have my own comfort zone as a reader. As much as I try to make sure to keep my reading attitude open and flexible, there are still some walls that I find hard to take down. Like stepping into the world of paranormal fiction.
A novel could have the goriest deaths in its pages and that would be fine ─ so long as it is done by a human. Ghosts, on the other hand, make me uncomfortable and uneasy. The thought of having them in my mind scares me. And unlike movies, books have a way of staying in our memories much longer.
So what made go out of my comfort zone now? Yesterday, James and I went book hunting in two branches of Booksale (a thrift bookstore) after 6 months of quarantine. It’s like being reunited with your loved ones after years of being separated. But for some reason, I didn’t feel like looking for books that I’d normally take. I had this nagging voice at the back of my head that wanted me to take a horror novel. Long story short, I randomly picked Sophie Hannah’s The Orphan Choir (20 pesos) and Andrew Pyper’s Lost Girls (83 pesos).
I still don’t know where this decision will take me. Or if I can see these books through the end. Maybe, maybe not. That will have to wait. 😊
What’s your comfort zone as a reader? Have you tried reading out of it?
“So many books, so little time,” says a book hoarder who promised two minutes ago not to buy any more books until her TBR list gets cleared.
At the onset of 2020, I made a promise to minimize my spontaneous book buying and to start reading the ones that are piling up on my shelf. I told myself to buy books only ─ and only if ─ absolutely necessary such as coming across must-reads or hard-to-find copies. But little did I know I was bound to cheat on that faithful afternoon on February when I entered Booksale and saw Velocity by Dean Koontz.
Fast forward to September, I find myself having my highest number of book haul in a month. Six books.
I know this desire to buy more books than what I can read in a lifetime is a universal guilty pleasure for book lovers. The question is, should we feel bad about it? Are we taking away the true essence of a book which is to be read? I cannot speak for others but, in my defense, here are three reasons of what triggers me to hoard books:
1. The bookstores. Do I even have to explain this? Here in the Philippines, the biggest distributors of books are National Bookstore, Fully Booked, and Booksale. The delight of walking along bookshelf aisle, the excitement of what awaits in book pages, the smell of books, old and new. Who would not be tempted to buy a book?
2. Book rescue. I have mentioned in my previous post that buying pre-loved books is one of my bookish fetish. I am a sucker for them. Aside from frequenting Booksale, I follow legit pre-book resellers, join “pasabuy” Facebook groups, turns on notification for book listings on marketplace, and just recently included Shoppee and Lazada in my go-to sites. I have always believed that every book deserves a home and this is my little way of helping. It’s like animal rescue, only books. Plus, hey, it’s a very cheap bargain too!
3. Happy hormone booster. Dopamine? Serotonin? Oxytocin? Whenever I add another member to my growing family of books, I feel like all my happy hormones are spiked up. If I am not reading or writing, buying books is my next resort during gloomy days.
Some people would say that book hoarding is a sin or a shame. That it is just vanity and greed masked as love for books. But as long as you are doing what you enjoy the most, shrug it off.
It’s that time of the year again… Happy Book Lover’s Day, everyone!
August 9 is a day for bibliophiles, bookworms and reading addicts around the world to celebrate their love of books. Although it is an unofficial holiday, people never run out of fun ways to commemorate this day — from visiting libraries and bookstores, re-reading old favorites, hosting parties and book clubs, showcasing awesome bookshelves and book hauls, recommending must-reads, and many more. Did the quarantine help you pursue your bookish delights?
The first two quarters of the year were productive for me. I’ve read more books than I had last year which is an incredible feat. But, halfway through June, work started piling up. It dragged on and to this day, I haven’t had a decent read.
So, for now, I’m sharing my personal pet peeves and fetishes when it comes to reading. Can any of you relate?
Interruptions while reading
Having no one to talk to after reading an awesome book
Plot changes in movie adaptations
When a book got the movie poster as cover
When someone judges a book without reading it
Having your dream bookshelves
The scent of a book
Highlighting favorite quotes/intriguing lines
A good book hug after a good read
Making your own bookmarks
When you have a complete copy of your favorite series
The last time I wrote a poem, I was mad. Angry and frustrated with the world, the people, the reality — everything. And though it feels so good to pour these emotions on paper, I miss the other triggers to my writings. I miss writing about smiles, laughters, tears of joy. Even writing about heartache brings you loving memories. I miss the girl who likes spinning castle in the air. I need to call her back.
So, for now, while the ink stays dry, let’s read. 🥀❤️
These two books of poetry and prose were written by Rod Marmol, a poet here in the Philippines. How about you? What are you reading this weekend?