Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Time to Read, Philippines! (Or why we need to have our own version of ‘World Book Night’)

Mold. Prints. Folds. Ink.

Pages bound together. A tear in the corner of a copy loved. Adventures colliding in silence. The weight of a world in a single flip. Rejuvenating, intoxicating, surreal.

The power that a good book wields is irresistible enough as it is. But if that book is FREE, how much harder would it be for any of us to say no?

That’s exactly the kind of euphoria that World Book Night brings—250,000 free books, ten thousand volunteers, one awesome day.

Bridging the world one book at a time.

Run by The Reading Agency in the UK, World Book Night’s aim is simple—to motivate more people to read. By giving out free books and making them more accessible to everyone, this event effectively encourages those who don’t regularly read to pick up a book and turn the page. This noble cause has inspired thousands of publishers, authors, libraries, foundations, and volunteers to work together to show the public just how wonderful it is to immerse one’s self in a good story. Books have an innate ability to make a difference in a person’s life, and every year on April 23, bibliophiles eagerly share their love for books with the world.

What began in the UK and Ireland back in 2011 has become a worldwide phenomenon. Now on its 5th year, World Book Night has given away different genres of books from Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen to Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle. Thousands of volunteers hand out these beloved books annually to reach out to the 35% of the population who don’t find reading for pleasure one of the most rewarding experiences on earth. Is there a better way to celebrate the magic and wonder of a good book?

Time to read, Philippines!

It’s definitely hard to believe, then, that we don’t have a local version of this magnificent event. It’s been said that the culture of reading, or lack thereof, in the Philippines is alarming. Most foreigners like to pack a favorite novel to bring with them whenever they travel, and it’s not uncommon to see them burying their noses in a thick paperback on their daily commute. But in our dear country, books are sadly not as well-loved.

This should not necessarily be the case, so I say we petition to have our very own Philippine World Book Night. Just think of all the book-gasmic stories we can share with everyone. After all, sharing is caring, right? And in this world we live in today, a little bit more care may be just what we need.

Books I’d love to include on that (hypothetical) giveaway list.

Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the must-read books that could be given away, should we ever have an amazing World Book Night of our own:

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

Put together a Sheep Man, a Sheep Professor, and an elusive sheep with a star-shaped scar on its back, and you’ve got A Wild Sheep Chase. Add Haruki Murakami to the mix, and you’ve got one of the most compelling stories you’ll ever have the pleasure to read. This one is a bit of a thinker, but if you’re a fan of the way Murakami has mastered the combination of the real and the surreal, then I guarantee this story will stay with you forever.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

A man meets a young prince in the desert, and he learns more about the world than he ever could in his whole life. Short and sweet, this story has come a long way from being an innocent children’s book to becoming an internationally-loved timeless piece. Sure, the tale is concise and the illustrations are cute, but there is nothing simplistic about what the story really means when you dig deeper and look harder. After all, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Yet another classic, Lord of the Flies packs as much of a symbolic punch as it can in such a short piece. When a group of boys gets trapped in a deserted island, their survival instincts kick in and, well, they kill each other. Morbid, yes? Don’t let that stop you from picking up this book. It was a hit back when it was penned in 1954, and it’s still a hit now. After thoroughly devouring this deeply philosophical book, you’ll probably never see pigs the same way again.

Sorry Please Thank You Stories by Charles Yu

I’m not much into short stories, but this one just takes the cake. Man works in a corporation that experiences emotion for other people for a fee. Man goes on a suicidal Star Trek-esque space exploration. Man is the hero in a typical Role-Playing Game (RPG) of epic proportions. Man tries to shoot a zombie that’s putting on lipstick in a 24-hour convenience store. All that and more are in store for readers of this critically acclaimed book. If this is the future of science fiction, then sign me up for a subscription because one collection of Yu’s short stories is just not enough.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (I know that’s seven books, so I’m definitely cheating.)

No list is complete without The Boy Who Lived. That little wizard with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead made his way into the world’s heart with the kind of magic only J.K. Rowling can conjure. With so many underlying themes about love, bravery, friendship, and overcoming adversity, the Harry Potter series has managed to entertain not just kids but adults as well. Reading this series is like going on an adventure—and all you’ll need to do is turn the page.

What about you, fellow bibliophile? What books would YOU want to be given away for free? Sound off in the comments below!

This article was first seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Something on your mind?:)