Tag Archives: books

No Frigate Like a Book

Two days ago, as book lovers and avid readers all over the world celebrated World Book Day (April 23), I was reminded of this poem by Emily Dickinson:

“There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry —
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human Soul.”

No Frigate Like a Book

I took part in an essay writing contest in my elementary school (I think this was in 5th or 6th grade), and I distinctly remember that the topic was the first line of this beautiful poem – “There is no Frigate like a Book.” I don’t have a copy of my essay. I don’t remember who won that contest. What I do remember is that poignant line of poetry that perfectly captures one of the powers of books and stories.

With thanks to my mother who is an avid reader and who encouraged me to read from as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved books. They are an accessible source of knowledge, entertainment and inspiration for anyone who can read.

“There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,…”

Before I traveled outside the Philippines (which happened when I was already an adult), I’ve “visited” sunny California thanks to the Sweet Valley High books. I’ve “time traveled and seen” 18th-century New Orleans with Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. I’ve “walked” along the hot Sahara Desert thanks to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

Because of the (positive) influence of my husband and some friends in fairly recent years, I’ve discovered the joy of reading science fiction and fantasy. On many nights, I’ve found myself fighting to stay awake because I was lost in captivating fantasy worlds such as the virtual utopia called OASIS in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, and the Detroit Free Zone (DFZ) of Rachel Aaron’s Nice Dragons Finish Last

“This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human Soul.”

Books do cost money, but nowhere nearly as much as paying for airfare, accommodations and pocket money. For as long as you know how to read and you have the desire to read, there are so many places you can visit and explore with the help of books. If only the Philippines had good (extensive and efficient) public libraries around the country, I can imagine how the lives of many of our country’s poor would be enriched.

When you can’t get on an actual frigate, books are your next best ride. And perhaps, sometimes, books are even a better way to explore and enjoy the many colorful worlds around you.








Mom, Thank You for the Love of Reading

There are many things for which I am thankful to my mother.  I remember how my mother made my siblings and me her top priority. Taking care of us was her number one job, and she did it with much love.

readingOn this Mother’s Day, I asked myself what would stand out among the many things I appreciate from my mom.  My first thought – her love of reading. My mother has always loved to read.  I remember how she had stacks and boxes of romance novels and inspirational books in her room. Whenever she had some downtime, when she didn’t have to drive us anywhere or do household errands, she would be engrossed in a book.

My mother made it clear to us that books and reading are important.  She didn’t overindulge us with toys and she was very practical with clothes and other things, but she never scrimped on books.  If we asked to buy a book, she would say yes. She let us choose our own books for pleasure reading. She just wanted us to develop a love of reading.

There was one summer vacation during my elementary years when my sister and I got chickenpox. We were quarantined in our shared bedroom for weeks. Our only source of entertainment was a steady supply of Nancy Drew books.

I love to read. I’ve kept the habit of reading before going to sleep. I try to read when I have downtime, like when I am waiting in a clinic or at my children’s sports practices. Reading teaches me things, entertains me and brings me places. When my children were very young, I read to them every night. Now that they can read on their own, I just do my best to make books available to them. I let them choose their books for pleasure reading. And I hope that I have successfully passed on my mother’s wonderful gift to me – the love of reading.



photo by: gagilas

At the Bittersweet End of a Good Book

ReadingAfter many afternoons reading while waiting at my daughter’s football training, after many nights of bedside reading, after five thoroughly enjoyable books, I have come to the end of the Legend of Eli Monpress series.  This moment of finally reaching the exciting end of an epic adventure is always bittersweet.

I agree with ginnyinboston when she wrote, “I hate when a good book ends. It feels like saying goodbye.”

When I read an epic story such as that of Eli Monpress (written across a span of five books by author Rachel Aaron), it gives me so much joy to momentarily escape into that world. When the characters are well-developed and their circumstances and conflicts are relatable, I get so emotionally invested in them. I laugh at their humor. I root for them in battle. I feel their heartaches. I enjoy their escapades.

(Warning: Eli Monpress spoiler next!)

Sadly, all stories come to an end. I’m glad my friend introduced me to this series when all of the five books had already been published. With no need to wait, I devoured book after book, eagerly following the story. And this is why, after many reading hours spread across months of escaping into the fantasy world and the legend of Eli Monpress, I am both happy and sad. Happy that Eli and his best friends / partners in crime Josef and Nico have finally found some peace and normalcy. Happy that Miranda has found a way to be faithful to her calling and harmoniously co-exist with Eli. Sad that the legend has come to an end. Sad that there aren’t any more fun (mis)adventures to read.

Thanks to my husband who introduced me to the fantasy/science-fiction genre, to some friends who are also fans of the same genre, and to goodreads, I have more fun reads lined up.  And I am not waiting empty-handed 🙂

photo by: pedrosimoes7