by JOHN PATRICK MAGNO RANARA
There comes a time in a bookworm’s life where they lose the joyful spark of reading.
To underscore ways to make time in coming back to reading the books forgotten in their dusty, spiderwebbed shelves or to the ones waiting to be unwrapped from their glossy, plastic prison, literary enthusiasts engaged bookworms in “The Library is Open: How to Get Back into the Habit of Reading Books,” a forum held at Raffles Makati on Aug. 3 as part of the 2019 Philippine Readers and Writers Festival.
JM Cabral, Aaron de Borja, Gabby Padilla, George Evan Dungca, and Salve Villarosa all took their time to share their knowledge on getting back to reading for those who have gotten into a seemingly inescapable slump for their passion for literature.
Setting a Reading Quota
Gabby Padilla, a full-time actress, shared that she imposed a personal challenge to herself to read as much as she could within this year, hoping to get up to 50 books.
“I like reading and I like knowing that I am piling up goals […] It is a fun way to get motivated to keep reading,” Padilla said.
Aaron de Borja, a teacher in UP Diliman, also shared the importance of having a goal of reading a certain number of books.
“It is also a way of mapping experiences and mapping knowledge, and that is also interesting. You try to map the different books that you have read, where they are from, what they are about, and they also give you a map of who you are,” De Borja said.
While a little self-pressure can surely encourage many readers to push themselves further, it is also a helpful tactic to move forward from page to page and chapter to chapter.
Getting the Young Ones to Read
Bookworms have become what they are because they started enjoying reading at a young age. With the rise of technological temptations, however, it has become more difficult to get kids into dropping their smartphones and picking up books instead.
“It is important for them to marry it with their interests, especially because they are so over-stimulated with the internet and everything, so let them read something that is related to a show they watch or a game they play,” Padilla said.
For Writer George Evan Dungca, being an influence on kids is a strong factor.
“The kids are not going to read if you are not doing it, as well. Kids need role models, so if they see you reading and they see you actually enjoying it, they would actually copy you,” Dungca said.
He added that adults must always set an example to young minds, to leave footprints that could inspire them to venture into the wonderful world of literature.
Alternative Ways to Find Cheap Books
Perhaps, it would not be amiss to say that the most prevalent cause of reading slumps is that books nowadays are becoming more expensive.
In his take on the issue, JM Cabral, a book blogger, advised the audience to join online reading clubs on Facebook, where members pass a book to one another and read it within a specified time.
Another suggestion by Dungca is to visit Booksale, a bookstore where various reading materials are sold for low prices. He also supports books that come from independent publishers, such as online literary works that could be read for free.
“So what if it is not a big publisher or not bought from a big bookstore? Whatever is out there is just as valid,” he said.
Focus on What Interests You
Readers immerse themselves in books because it is what interests their vivid minds; otherwise, it could feel like merely doing a snooze-inducing homework from school with a looming deadline.
Book blogger Salve Villarosa voiced out that if a book does not match what sparks one’s literary spirit to start flipping through the pages, then it is simply going to be a waste of time.
“We can stand up here and recommend you guys books the whole day, but if you are not interested in what we are interested in or if we do not share interests, then it is not going to get you anywhere,” Villarosa said.
No matter how underwhelming a book may be, it can still be met with great appreciation as long as the reader finds it interesting, according to the bookish influencer. She added that it is important to always choose the books that would make one enjoy each and every page to the fullest.
Finding the Will to Read
Bookworms also have a life outside their imagination and sometimes, with all the buzz and responsibilities happening around them, it becomes difficult to make reading as a habit.
“I think when you are an adult, the reading experience is different. You do not get to savor the books anymore, and at some point, it starts to feel like work and I think that is what I am trying to avoid,” De Borja said.
The transition toward adulthood truly does come with a baggage of obligations that could compromise old habits, according to the literary enthusiast. It is important to always balance one’s duties in order to make time to hunt for new and exciting books again.
“But a slump can be helpful because it tries to make you reevaluate why you read,” De Borja said. “Those slumps make you confront and try to answer questions like ‘Why do I keep reading?’ and maybe the answer to that can lead to ‘Why am I in a slump?’ or ‘Why am I trying to keep moving forward?’”
Moreover, Padilla said that carrying a book when going out not only can keep readers busy when they do not have anything to do, but also can keep their love for books going. Additionally, having a book in hand can be useful whenever there is a minute to spare.
Reading, however simple or ordinary, can be an unforgettable experience that could bring the mind to new heights. Which is why in this day and age, it is ever more important to ignite the passion for books once again. F