Have you read a book lately?


(Warning: this is a free-writing kind of post)

I finished four books throughout this week. It’s not that I want to brag. It’s because of a special project: to encourage my fellow brothers to read.

My appointment as the library committee chairperson

Two months ago, I was appointed as the head of the library committee. It’s not because I am the most qualified but because there’s only two persons to choose from including myself. We don’t even have a librarian. During our initial meeting, I asserted my desire to acquire books. It’s actually strange that in the previous years, the funds for the library in book acquisition are untouched. I want my confreres to read that I bought books that I don’t prefer to read. Some fellow young brothers are even cynical of my project. But it’s okay; I’ll just feed the readers more motivation to read: purchase what they want to read.

How I developed the habit of reading?

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to reading. I started the habit when I was a senior high school student. And the secret to start the habit is just to start reading. What I did is to just begin with the books that I like: chess. The same goes for my confreres: give them the books they like. Continue reading

How I stumbled upon Ilustrado: A Novel by Miguel Syjuco

Last Monday, I went to the Filipiniana section of the Library to search for some books by Lualhati Bautista. I’m just taking a break from a dreadful reading of The Hobbit, which seems to take me a month to finish, by picking up books with less pages. In the first shelf, I saw books written by Bob Ong and Ricky Lee. While scanning, a friend approached me and imitated what I was doing. “I’m not into reading books”, my friend said in Tagalog, comparing our reading habits. Trying to convince him into the habit of reading by persuading him to read at least a thin book, I handed him the first book written by Bob Ong. I said to him that it would not take him too much time in finishing reading the whole of it. The trick seemed to work. But he immediately proceeded to the last portion of the book maybe to see on what fashion will the book will end. He laughed out loud from what he had read from a not-so-typical scenario in that public classroom setting. In case you don’t know, that scene depicts a student with a dilemma of discoloring his khaki shorts while people in the classroom learned about it because of the odor coming from it.

While we are standing there between the bookshelves, I noticed a new book inserted between non-fiction books. I recognized that it’s the one I saw in a bookstore while I roam around the airport. The book design seems to capture me just as I have habitually judged a lot of books by just looking at their cover. So, I grasped the novel written by Miguel Syjuco with the title Illustrado. Though I located it in the Filipiniana section, it seems that it has a foreign feel by just looking at its cover. I’ve finished reading it in two days even by just sitting during breaks.
The novel is about a death of a Columbia University professor named Crispin Salvador. His corpse was found floating in the Hudson river. His acolyte and only remaining friend, Miguel, tries to investigate about his sudden death. Miguel intends to write a biography about Salvador, who mysteriously died after accepting a literary award. On Salvador’s acceptance speech, he was loudly booed by the audience while proclaiming to release his new book, “The Bridges Ablaze”. By the way, Ilustrado won awards even before it was published. It won the Grand Prize for the Novel in English at the 2008 Palanca Awards and the Man Asian Literary Prize in the same year.

I honestly cannot just put the book down even though I need to attend classes. It’s so good that I plan to reread it next time. A book review will follow about it next time.

Thoughts about writing my first novel

I’m really excited to write my first novel. But before I even start to finish it, I first tried to research about it’s element by reading the very definition of novel in Wikipedia. The idea of writing my first novel started when I stumbled on a link given by Mr. Scott Berkun on his practical tips about writing a book. So upon accidentally discovering the project of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which starts at the month of November. It requires a participant to write a novel with 50, 000 words starting from the 1st day of November up until the 30th of the month. (For a quick NaNoWriMo overview, click here)

So statistically, it would mean that you need to write 1667 words a day in order to write your 50,000 words novel within the month of November. I’m not really good in creating a fictional story though.

Now going back with my wiki search, I read the genre section and it seems that writing in a form of letter, the epistolary novel genre, suits my writing style . I’ll get my inspiration from Malcolm Gladwell, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and other great story tellers. 🙂

I’m really excited with this idea of writing a novel. Join me with my novel writing journey by signing up to NaNoWrimo. The goal is 50,000 words. It depends on you if you’ll finish the novel or not for as long as you reach the mark. If you decided to join, inform me and become my writing buddy. 🙂