My reading list is getting longer and longer as I discover more books during my visits to bookshops. No matter how many books I have read, there is infinitely more books which I haven’t read, and I feel the desire to have the time, resources, and access to these books which I have not had the good fortune to encounter yet.

It is a pity that there is no public library system to speak of here in Manila which contains all the plethora of books which public libraries ought to have from the classics to the latest releases, as well as journals, periodicals, and other reference materials such as magazines, audio and video recordings, and music.

There might be a National Library here somewhere but it has old dusty books which might not even be allowed to be lent out due to the rampant tendency for borrowers to “forget” to return the books which would lead to the current predicament the library might be in, with less books or records that it stares with in the first place.

Local libraries are gems, at their best, they are little Meccas of knowledge where people may go to partake nuggets of wisdom, inspiration or entertainment however the structure of Philippine culture and society does not seem to allow for local public libraries similar to the ones found in Western countries therefore book lovers have to purchase their book fixes from bookshops, websites, or via Kindle.

One can only wonder how many more books one would have access to of there were a functioning public library as well as the pleasure of minimizing one’s book habit expenses.

Many non-readers are puzzled why bookworms such as myself often have the compulsion to buy new books even when we have not finished reading the ones we currently have. This is because if we forego the chance of purchasing an interesting book, we have no guarantees that we may come across it again locally, unless it is on Kindle, then it would always be accessible but deprive us of enjoyinh contact with the book itself and the pleasure of physically leading through it.

Almost two decades ago, there were a few places around the metro which rented out books and I thought that was a great idea and would often visit it and rent out books I was interested in. The selection of the books were limited to fiction paperbacks but it was a lovely feeling to rent a book out and already have the next book in mind to borrow upon the return of the previous book. It is a pity that such places closed up already because they were the closest thing to a local library which we had here.

I suspect that the dawn of the Internet era compounded by the rampant non-returns of the rented books contributed to the non-sustainability of such businesses. And now, a few decades later these changes have not deterred determined bookworms from going around the metro and hunting for books to consume with their minds and introduce them to various worlds and different ways of thinking.

It is both fortunate and unfortunate that there are seemingly endless books to choose from because there is always something to look forward to read while at the same time realizing that given the demands of daily life that one may hardly get the time to read all the books one would ideally wish to enjoy.

(c) Niconica 2013

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