Reading on the Go

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My reading addiction officially began the day I finished reading John Grisham's novel. I would read and reread his novels. I would read and reread the Harry Potter series. I would read Time magazines, local newspapers, nearly every reading material I could get my hands on.

One day, I went fishing and saw a sports section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer floating down the river. I just couldn't resist the urge. I jumped into the water and swam towards the half-wet newspaper. This is how I am addicted to reading.

One reason I had no other option but to engross myself with reading was again I had limited access to television back then. Besides textbooks, all we had was a battery-powered portable AM/FM radio owned by my now deceased grandmother. My aunt who lives next door had this 14 inches Black & White vintage Sharp TV.

The second-hand TV we had bought was so unpredictable. It sometimes wouldn't turn on no matter how hard we smacked it. Our other salvation towards watching TV programs was to dash our way to my aunt's house.

But my mother would only allow us to watch until 8 or 9 o'clock at most in the evening. My brother and I should be fine as long as we were in by curfew. We got spanked if we refused to follow.

In our small village, people go to sleep very early. The entire neighborhood lay quiet by 8 o'clock that all you could hear are crickets screaming out loud in the darkness. But before bedtime, I would first read.

If the village suffered from a power outage, I would read with a gas lamp or with a flashlight. While sleeping, a book lay beside my pillow. Sipping coffee in the morning would be incomplete without a borrowed Newsweek magazine.

I would read anytime and anywhere I could. I would read while waiting for my turn at the barbershop, read during lunch breaks, read while standing in line at a government office or a supermarket. I never let a single minute go to waste.

During either short or long bus commutes, I would read. If I had no book, magazine, or any other reading material with me, I would look outside and read billboards and road signs. When watching TV, books sat beside me. During commercial breaks, I would read.

What do you usually do when you're answering the call of nature? Playing games on your phone? Stalking someone on Facebook? Or you probably do nothing, right? Not me.

I would grab one book and read while on the toilet. Again, I put every second of my time to good use. Would you like to reach your goals faster? Double the effort you are putting in.

I have been telling myself, "I want to create the future today, not someday." Call me crazy, but this practice of pushing myself hard has helped me out tremendously. I hear these lines many times from my students:

"I get dizzy watching American films!"
"I don't understand what they are talking about!"
"Oh my God, dialogues are so fast!"

Well, I hear you. You surely are not deaf. I used to think I had a hearing problem too. But if you read more than enough, you will find movie scripts easy to understand. Remember, every word, phrase, and sentence you hear may have already been written somewhere.

By the way, do natives really talk fast? Not to my knowledge. What I know is that their tongue is like a Katana. It cuts and slices words in a flash making them sound shorter. This is where things are sort of a little bit tricky.

We expect them to enunciate the whole thing: "I got you." Instead, what we get is, "Gotcha." Here's another, Internet is pronounced as inner net. I had been as puzzled as everyone else. But mindful reading and then active listening have helped me put the mysterious pieces together.

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