IN A few more weeks, 2017 will come to a close. On a more pensive mood I went through my book journal which I have been keeping for years, noting which books I have read, re-read, wrote about, and quoted. Looking back, what I read reflects so much of what I went through. There were those days when I grieved so much and didn’t want to go out of the house, or those days when I got caught up with new fascinations, or those days when I did not want to think so much, but just wanted to be entertained with and by reading.

In 2016, I finished 76 books. For 2017, I am currently on my 35th book, after consuming the Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, devouring the Primitivo Mijares tome on the Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. This paperback edition is an annotated one, and so different from the dog-eared copy at the UP Baguio library which I read in my freshman year almost 20 years ago. But the impact and substance remain the same to this day.

Earlier this year, I found time to read the first five books of the Game of Thrones series, just before I did a marathon watching of the first six seasons of the television series. How absolutely fascinating it is when characters come to life, and so different from one’s own imaginings.

This year also had me crying over sappy, poignant works by Jojo Moyes, After You, which sequels the popular Me Before You, and Silver Bay, which reminded me of the importance of sanctuaries, literally and figuratively.

My preoccupation with essential oils meant stocking up on reference materials, most of which are scientific, and I feel like every day is a lesson in botany, chemistry, and biology, with each mention of chemical components, plant scientific names, and what nots.

Having a child of my own also has me returning to characters and worlds that I grew up with and love, thus, getting e-books from Pottermore, on the history of Hogwarts, and biopics of famous and infamous witches and wizards, and finally taking time to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is a script from the theatre production with the said title. Currently, I’m also reading some chapters of the first Harry Potter book before bedtime to Sunis, at least until she can read confidently on her own. I squeezed it some Magnus Chase reads, as well, courtesy of a good friend’s teenage daughter.

I always remember this quote from my first year high school English class, which I learned later was from an essay by Francis Bacon, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” It is precisely when I encounter a massive writer’s block that I go back to where I started, reading.