I AM THE MANILA READER OR WHY I CONTINUE TO BLOG ABOUT BOOKS
You know, I’m both proud and embarassed of this blog. Proud because finally after years of procrastinating and telling myself that I’m just another reader I’ve pulled up enough courage to make it official. Yes, I’m a certified book blogger and no one can tell me otherwise. Embarrassed as well because I know I’m ignorant of many things and when you write things down neatly on the page, the words stare you in the face and judge you. Occasionally people would point out grammatical errors or wrong information and sometimes comments gets you down but these are only minor inconveniences compared to the delightful challenges of reading and reviewing books that you love or hate. Although I’ve never hated a book enough to write something about it.
After three months and 30 posts, The Manila Reader has been read and seen by hundreds of people who wants to know what Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is all about, or which Terry Pratchett book to start with. I’ve reviewed a Murakami, complained about the lack of attention in our libraries and mused about being an amateur book reviewer. I’ve stalked enough book shelves for that next post inspiration.
And people ask, what do you get from it? Are you getting paid for it? What are the perks? These are normal reactions. I’ve asked the same questions myself. Indeed, why? But just like everything else in life, it’s the wrong question. You do it because you want to, because what else is there to do? There’s nothing else. And that gives me confidence. Some of us think that to achieve the dream- there is a destination to reach, a light at the end of the tunnel, a pile of gold at the bottom of the rainbow where it all ends. But I’ve come to realize that it’s not like that. This is it. This is the dream. Every write up, every book read, every photograph attached, every nerve racking moment when you hit the post button. It never ends, the horizon keeps on receding, “under the clear sky, in a world untarnished, there is only the chase.”*
The Manila Reader- this Reader is just warming up! I have a fresh pile of to-read books, and also another pile of highly recommended books. Also a few ideas springs to mind while taking the shower or when I commute home. There are endless amount of good books to talk and think about.
I’m not just another reader, I’m The Manila Reader, which means everything else I read is contextualized and recreated in a world of endless traffic, pollution, poor lighting conditions, poverty, and over population. I could have titled this blog differently, in retrospect, I could have used my name (Kokay) which has the right amount of novelty and weird in it, but I feel I should not just represent myself. I can name myself after the city I live (technically), which I both love and hate. I want to show my fellow Filipino reader that there are depths in us to face the world, a global narrative in which we can participate.
In fact what is a Manila Reader? She can read English and Filipino. She is dissatisfied with the local publishing industry. She is free to read and write whatever she likes and she can see enough room for improvement in her country. And she knows a way to progress. To read more, to understand more, to reason deeper.
Thank you for following this blog. If you have any suggestion or question leave a comment below. You can message me privately at Kokay@TheManilaReader.com!
*One of the most poignant ending in any book I’ve read. Found in Jingo by Terry Pratchett