Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I Started Reading Again

 “A house without books is like a room without windows”
Being with kindergarten and elementary students all day makes me feel like my brain is shrinking into their level. I only got to read phonics books and story books for kids. I first realized this problem when I wrote an article for the 1000MM official magazine, Maranatha. I just knew then that I have to go back to my habit of reading at least one book a week or for two weeks. In that way, I could at least revive my brain cells and think like an adult again. :-)


Before coming to Korea as a missionary, I used to read at least 1 or 2 books  a month or less. I would buy a book every payday and try to finish it before the next payday.  I could usually finish a 300-page book in just one week, given that there are no interruptions (bathroom breaks, shower, meals and sleeping). However, my work schedule makes it difficult to do so.

If I cannot read a book for couple of months, I feel like I’m being left out and malnourished. There’s this hunger that will haunt me and will not go away unless I read again. So even during my missionary training, aside from reading my Bible, I would borrow religious books from the campus library and read.

I’ve been looking for a library in Seoul few weeks ago but failed to find one.  Bookstores near our place have limited english books to offer and most of them are fiction and quite expensive for me. One time,

I saw one of my student reading a Harry Potter book. I asked him if he bought it and said that he borrowed it in a library. A week later, my Korean teachers called the library in Jungnang-gu to inquire about the requirements for a foreigner applying for a borrower’s card. After the call, I took the adventure of finding the library all by myself. I finally found it after going up and down the streets and pretending that I wasn’t lost.:-) It only took 15 minutes to get there by foot from where I live.

When I got inside , my first problem was to find someone who can speak English. With the help of sign language and so me Korean phrases, I got my borrower’s card in just a few minutes. It is like an ATM card and I like the color.

That same day I borrowed a book entitled, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like reading fiction. It doesn’t mean that I don’t read, though! :-) Well,  it’s just that I’ve been so intrigued by this book and I just couldn’t let it pass unread.

So now, I think I’m back on track again. In between my classes, I would go to my desk a read a page or two. I would usually read until midnight (bad habit!) before going to sleep. That’s not all! Even my partners are now starting to read with me. I’m thinking of setting a goal for myself to read a number of books next year. Hmmm…this will be exciting I think.

Let me share some quotes about books & reading that I really like

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”  ~Mark Twain, attributed

“A book worth reading is worth buying.” John Ruskin

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ” ~Paul Sweeney

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

“‘Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem to be confidences or sides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profound thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Mark Twain

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