Books are friends with Summer 🙂 Whatever plans you have for a frenzied vacation, taking a book with you can overtly complement your experience in a beach while catching up some sun or when drinking your favorite summer refreshment. Even in the loneliest hang out (spending time alone that is), books are a great company.
In my case, I have these four books with me now:
1. Australian Stories for the Spirit – sixty inspirational stories from some Australian Christians who willingly share bits of their experiences to give some spiritual refreshment and meditation;
2. Young Blood – a compilation of essays written by contributors of twenty-something years of age in a section of Philippine Daily Inquirer (a national broadsheet) called “Young Blood”;
2. Reader’s Digest Classic Collection – 2011 special edition. It is a compilation of classic works published in Reader’s Digest since 1963 (all nonfiction and mostly inspirational);
4. Bridget Jones’ Diary – a comical masterpiece of Helen Fielding exposing the diary of a funny and trying-hard-to-be-a-woman-of-substance Bridget.
Whenever I go out, say malling or doing some church tasks, I would bring one or two of these books so in case dull time comes my way or if I just get tired of walking or moving around, I can sit back and flip over the pages and get something informative, inspiring or entertaining out of them.
The rain hasn’t stopped for …I didn’t notice for how long now. It pours harder each hour. But thanks heavens for the wet weather, it gives more weight to my reason of absence from today’s work. This is my third day of coughs and hoarse throat and cold. I can stand the day with the first two, but the cold? Uurrgh! I cannot think of more common disease than the common cold. It torments me with a heady feeling of phlegm, dizziness and slight fever. I can’t even taste my food, which gives me the feeling of being nauseated even without riding a plane or a ship. I hate this feeling. Maybe one of the best ways I can unload this heaviness is to write it down and share my wandering thoughts during these days I’ve been a home buddy.
It surprised me that I have finished 3 books during my sick leave. They are light reads but with weight and substance. I realized I find reading and writing as therapeutic as driving. Yes, (to April Timbol Yap) I am also one of those strange creatures that actually find driving therapeutic – regardless of the traffic situation (as how she put it in Stressed in the City: Snippets of the Lighter Side of the Urban Jungle). This is why I could highly relate to you and your thoughts on the roads while reading your work. You’re savvy. And I’d like to have that savvy brain too so I can jot down all my random thoughts and still make a lot of sense out of them. Your book is practically a compilation of everyday observations which might have come to you very randomly but I can’t stop wondering how you expertly managed to weave them through and produce a smart book as this. From frogs, cats, to MMDA signs, to urinals, to LRT and MRT, jump to the streets of Teacher’s Village, your neighborhood, the water in Metro Manila, fast-food chains, gadgets and internet, the Christmas rush, to aging and near-death experience?! (there are still topics in-between). How did you cross Point A (the rats) to Point B (near-death experience)? Ghaaad, I always have trouble with transitions. If there’s a writing class devoted to transitions, that is one subject I could study forever.
While I was having my dinner last night, I had an illusion of the shrewd-sharp-witted-satiric Jessica Zafra eating her meal at the dining hall of Morse College‘s in Yale, New York where she described her food experience this way: …to chew mechanically, and as swiftly as possible to prevent taste buds from noticing they have nothing to do, upon mysterious objects with the consistency and flavor of recycled cardboard, in order to gather sustenance to be processed into energy for negotiating vast distances on foot. Don’t get me wrong, my mom cooks good food, really good. It’s just that I have cold and my taste buds wouldn’t allow me to savor what she prepared for me. Sad! This illusion, or chimera, or how else you’d put it, came so timely…just when I had finished reading Jessica Zafra’s Twisted Travels. There she narrated her travel anecdotes, observations and yes, criticisms on whatever she’d like to criticize. I had so much fun and learning on reading her book. (I’m putting her in third person because I can imagine how she’d talk back if I’d address her just like I did with April Timbol Yap…I don’t have the guts). One thing I know, after reading Twisted Travels, my dream of travelling around the world just grew bigger. And her advice slapped me hard as if to wake me up from that dream: I’m saying that if you want to see the world, plan for it and do it as soon as possible. Wow, I could almost hear her voice in my ears. They say that travelling is the greatest form of education. Taking it from Jessica Zafra, this statement must be so true. She has a lot to say about almost everything and make metaphors, irony and hyperbole out of them and I guess some credits, or most credits go to her travelling. Venice has always been on my top list. I learned from her that Venice cannot be put to words. She just resolved to saying that Venice is too beautiful; it makes words inadequate and pathetic. Fairly, she just made a good description of the place! She’s clever enough not to say Venice is indescribable for the danger of making it describable by using that adjective. Jessica is one keen writer.
…The sky is still pouring heavy rains and I am now contemplating on Jane Mendelsohn’s I Was Amelia Earhart – a work of fiction that reveals snippets of Amelia Earhart’s life and the occurrences that (might have) happened after the fall of her Electra. Who is Amelia? Who was she? She has always been a mystery, I’m sure not only to me but to everybody else. I hadn’t known that name until I heard it in the lyrics of Someday We’ll Know from the movie “A Walk to Remember“. It says “…whatever happened to Amelia Earhart who holds the stars up in the sky…”. Then I Googled her name. She was a pilot who still has no specific date of death, Wikipedia just says disappeared:July 2, 1937. Whatever happened…whatever happened…that line suggests that there’s something that might have happened after the fall. And I can’t stop myself from wondering what if she and her handsome navigator Noonan lived? Would their lives be the same as narrated in the book? Amelia would have been 116 years old by now. But, can there be a possibility of survival in that island? Amelia really had an intimacy with the sky, with its vastness, with its loneliness, its magnificence. She even saw it as flesh. I don’t know if she nearly worshiped it. Did she ever asked how the sky came to be? Maybe if she had known it, or if she acknowledged that there’s more to flying, she would have gone beyond her last sky…
It’s been quite a long while since I last read a light read as that of April Timbol Yap’s Stressed in the City: Snippets of the Lighter Side of the Urban Jungle. And I’m re-reading it now to observe how she managed to weave through her random thoughts which made a good book as this 🙂
On the side, I’m also reading Jane Mendelsohn’s “I was Amelia Earhart” – a lyrical fiction that tells of Amelia’s life and the occurrences that (might have) followed after her plane and her body’s mystical loss. It’s a very interesting read 🙂