Of Books and Friends

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Lit - POST­CARD PRETTY @ rachelt­a­gaisla @post­card­pretty post­card­pretty.com

“Books are still a lot like friends — we tend to only read and re­tain the ones we want to be­lieve in.”

Ilooked around in amaze­ment. Around me were 50,000-some­thing books with 13-me­ter tall book­shelves, lots of open air and nat­u­ral light. Quite a few peo­ple are tak­ing self­ies, while some are silently read­ing or work­ing on their lap­tops. I was just look­ing around, un­able to hide my amaze­ment with all the books around me. I was in South Ko­rea’s Starfield Li­brary in COEX, Seoul. There was enough fur­ni­ture for peo­ple to sit and lounge around. The free wifi is per­fect for you to check on emails and so­cial me­dia. There are daily spe­cial events that pro­mote art and cul­ture such as book tours, mu­sic events, art ex­hibits and more. I took a few pho­tos, of course. More than a few. Li­braries al­ways fas­ci­nated me. It trans­ported me back to my child­hood, when I didn’t have friends and all I had were books. The books in my shelf were my friends. They were a odd bunch of friends, too. There was Harry Pot­ter, of course. And then there was El­iz­a­beth Ben­net; to her left was Blair Wal­dorf; and to her right was the weirdo Lis­beth Sa­lan­der. There was The Lit­tle Prince, the Greek Odysseus, and then the pe­dophilic Hum­bert Hum­bert. There was the ironic Holden Caulfield, Robert Langdon, the pros­ti­tute Veronika and the old wise man Mor­rie, and fi­nally, Robert Kiyosaki. As I as­sem­bled this cast of char­ac­ters, I won­dered what would hap­pen if they were in the same room. It would be quite a party; and none of them would ever get along! And then, like most of us, I grew up. I didn’t read as vo­ra­ciously any­more. I trans­ferred my en­er­gies and learned to ex­plore the ex­ter­nal world. I gained self­con­fi­dence, trav­eled more, met more peo­ple, took on new ac­tiv­i­ties. I left my books to dust in the shelves. It’s good to be re­minded of your child­hood and pick up books. Once in a while. Some­times I wish I was more in­tro­verted. Then maybe I could have been more in­tel­lec­tual. Friends are such dis­trac­tions. I wish I had the urge to stay in­doors more of­ten, so I can read more of­ten, study more of­ten, gain more knowl­edge about the world. But then again, aren’t friends like bor­rowed books you take out in the li­brary? Cer­tain ones that get you like, “I wanna take you out on a drink? So I can pick your beau­ti­ful mind...” My cast of friends are also a di­verse and odd bunch of vegans and artists and moth­ers and dancers and busi­ness­men, some of whom you com­part­men­tal­ize be­cause you know it might ei­ther re­sult in an orgy (un­likely) or hell on earth (more plau­si­ble). Some­times I still re­visit the li­brary or book­store and get lost for hours. Books are still a lot like friends — we tend to only read and re­tain the ones we want to be­lieve in. Some books will fool you, lie to you, give you wrong per­spec­tives. Books that make you ques­tion your­self, books that make you ques­tion your par­ents. Books that make you feel love, fear, awe, in­spi­ra­tion. What makes me more at ease with books than warm bod­ies? Books have con­clu­sions. (Un­less it’s a se­ries and the au­thor is still tak­ing his time fin­ish­ing the last two books — I’m look­ing at you, Ge­orge R.R. Martin). Books have end­ings, and the end­ings don’t change. The fates of Sir­ius Black or Au­gus­tus Wa­ters are sealed, whilst the peo­ple we know are still liv­ing an­other chap­ter of their life. We will never know how long our nov­els will be. The fact that I wouldn’t be able to peek through the last pages and see how this one will end... that gives me a lot of un­ease.

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