off/on the bookshelf
by pieces of moments
I absolutely love books. I can’t remember a time when they were not a part of my life. Every night before I went to sleep, my parents read to me. When I got older, my mom and I would sit in the living room and she would read aloud to me. Every so often we would stop and free thin, oval, fruit flavored candies from their crinkle cellophane wrappers only to imprison them again in the melting chambers of our mouths. Every time I hear the sound of hard candy hitting teeth I’m 10 years old again, purely happy, and listening to my mom read as the candy shifts with the language.
In the past several years I’ve developed a deep appreciation for non-fiction, but fiction will always hold the place closest to my heart. I’m extremely interested in the interactions between people, and individuals to the world around them. I’ve also always said if I could have a superhero power I would want to be able to manipulate time (because time has always been my arch enemy). In the compact and portable theater of a book both of those areas of curiosity are appeased. Fiction is also empathy building, via seeing the world through the eyes of a varietal multitude of minds.
So, it was with extreme interest that I read this article in the NYT about a young expat Filipino author, Miguel Syjuco, who is receiving quite a welcome into the rarefied air of award winning authors. There was also recently an interview with him on NPR’s Morning Edition. I am half-Filipino. I certainly remember images of 1980’s political strife in Manila illuminating our quiet middle American living room on many an evening. However, I’ve never read a novel in which the action is processed through the eyes of a Filipino protagonist. I’m going to have to fix that.