The Joys of Reading

Oct 22, 2013

by Janey Montebon Duterte


The Joys of Reading

By Janey Montebon Duterte

Every single night before I go to sleep, I am far, far away. I could be in Ingary – a fantastic place where castles fly, seven-league boots exist and wizards and witches battle each other out for power. I could be in London or France or New York or in a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants that stand on top of a giant turtle. I could be in faraway galaxies or even in other dimensions. I am wherever my books take me.

Never mind that I lack sleep or that I’m often out of sorts in the morning and need huge cups of coffee to kickstart my day. I’m having the time of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

My mom used to always freak out about my reading habits and often claim that I’m going way overboard. When I was in high school and at the height of my obsession with books, she would endlessly scold me for reading throughout the night. So I had to hide under the blankets with the lights off and read with a flashlight.

Sometimes I would stay inside the bathroom to read. But when she noticed my frequent bathroom visits and realized something was up (she has a rather remarkable nose for sniffing out suspicious behavior), she would knock every time I stay too long in the bathroom and frisk me on my way out. With this tactic, she was able to confiscate a number of books that I carefully hid inside my shirt.

College came and nothing changed. Except I was on my own already and mom is too far away to be able to nag me about my constant reading. I would stay up until 5 in the morning to read. Oh bliss.

I only wish to impart this one thing to my future kids and to the younger generation: Please read books and novels and anything you could get your hands on. There’s only so much you could experience on your own and To the parents, please take time to read to your little ones before you sleep. Studies show that kids who are being read to at night fare better academically than those who aren’t. Reading to your kids will spark their imagination, develop critical thinking, help them become focused and learn to pay attention, and of course, it will instill in them a deep appreciation for reading.

In today’s tech-driven lifestyle, more and more kids turn to social media, TV, and video games instead of picking up a book. I find this really sad. Nothing enhances a child’s imagination more than books. Albert Einstein did say that imagination is better than knowledge, right? And how could you argue with the guy?


“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin (A Dance With Dragons)

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