Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Reading matters

I can never dwell on this topic too much but I've really noticed that the older one gets, the less time we seem to have for reading. One would think that with the dizzying number of magazines as well as the increasing number of bookstores, we would have people devoted to reading. but it seems it's not the case.  I've had writers who can't write that well simply because they haven't been reading. Hard to believe but it's true.

It seems there are a lot of diversions in our lives that keep us from dedicating even just half an hour to a good book, a favorite comic book, even newspapers. Things like surfing, chatting, or plain passive cable televiewing. Nothing wrong with these but will reading become a lost art. Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" dwelled on this, painting a future when books are contrabands, consigned to confiscation and burning. mercifully, this has not happened yet. and I pray it will never happen. The future generation deserves to experience the enriching experience of sitting down with a good book and going places with one's imagination. How often did we comment that the movie didn't capture the story as the book version did?

But we should really do something about the high cost of buying a book. Tucked somewhere in our Tondo home is the first pocketbook I've ever owned, given by a bookworm cousin ages ago.  It was the book that made me yearn to have my very own collection, the book that got me started on reading. I used to recall saving up my seemingly paltry allowance so I can go to National Bookstore along Avenida and buy a P20-25 paperback. Now, a decent one costs upwards of P300! No wonder the neighborhood kids would rather watch free or cable TV. Even if you tally the cost, a cable subscription will still be cheaper -- like a Clancy/Coelho/Brown novel will almost be equivalent to the monthly subscription. Tsk, tsk. Reading matters, and matters a lot. Food for thought on a busy Wednesday.

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