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My Journey in Reading and the Joy I Found in Books

Fresh out of college, I moved to Cebu City in September 2009 after a few months break. I really wanted to move to Cebu because I do not want to deal again with the prior experience I had in Metro Manila — the traffic, expensive costs of living, and the fast-moving life. I thought Cebu will be a little less of that — manageable, relax, and more close to home. I was hired by a local IT outsourcing company as a web developer.

Fast forward to 2011, I resigned and I started a small software outsourcing company since one of my previous clients while finishing college approached me to continue the project we started in 2009. With his help, I thought it would be nice to try and take the risk in putting my own startup company. I asked him if he can advance the one-year service fee so I properly set the office. Yet, just six months in, I was struggling to keep up with the obligations and commitments. I tried offering trainings to help sustain the business but it was not enough. I got so depressed and I thought I was such a big failure. I closed shop after a year. It was also the time when I experienced serious heartbreak from an unrequited love. Yup.

I realized then that I needed help and I really do not know how to handle it. Luckily, Cebu City got a good number of bookshops where I started visiting over the weekends to search for good reads. And so, during those depressing times, I found refuge in books. My first book was the omnibus book of Richard Carlson, an American author, psychotherapist, and motivational speaker entitled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” And this book helped me bounce back and continue in what I am good at — as a web developer, a software engineer, as a corporate employee. I realized that I am not ready to be an entrepreneur.

(This is one of my all-time favorite books and my regular gift to friends when I feel they need some help.)

Obviously, I started with self-help books, then moved to business books because I want to learn more about business. I joined different book clubs and communities, offline and online. That is where I discovered about Goodreads, a website with a mobile app which allows you to search for book reviews, catalog your readings, among others. Goodreads also gives you an opportunity to participate in a yearly reading challenge, which I started in 2012 and until now.

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of books of different genres and sizes but decided to give or sell it to friends since I do not have enough space to keep with the volume. I got to a point where I visit shops every other day to buy a book or two of my interests which I am fully aware that I won’t be reading it anytime soon. In short, I fell in love with book reading. I love the feeling of holding physical books and flipping the pages, sitting on my couch or in a coffee shop, and immersing myself in the stories. Reading is just but one of the many tools we have for self-improvement and learning.

Later, I started feeling the joy in reading books. I always get excited everytime I am about to read a new one. Here are some of the reasons why I enjoy reading:

  • Reading is like listening. I like to talk, sometimes a lot. I like to share stories or start a conversation when I meet with friends. And of course, I also listen to their stories because I know I will learn from them as well. And when I feel like being alone or feeling alone, I read. And reading is like listening to a friend or stranger of their stories. I realized that reading improved my listening ability, I became more emphatic; when I immerse myself in reading I just tend to keep quiet for an hour or two. Research published in the Trends in Cognitive Science entitled “Fiction: Simulation of Social Worlds” shows that people who read (especially fiction) improve their understanding of others. I think this is because you read the whole story from all sides and it involve characters portraying different personalities.
  • Reading is like meeting new people. Every book has its own story, played by actors with personalities that you can relate to or someone new to your circle. Sometimes you “become friends” with the author and you tend to read books from the same author because maybe you like his writing style and stories. I am friends right now with Tim Marshall, a British journalist, author, and broadcaster. I am into reading Politics, War, and Economics books as of the moment. I recently finished his books under the Politics Of Place Series — A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols, Prisoners of Geography: Ten maps That Explain Everything About the World, and The Age of Walls: How Barriers Between nations Are Changing Our World. 
  • Reading is a passion. Reading is powerful. It can totally change how you view the world around you, it can transform you into a new and better person. At least that is what I experienced in reading books for quite some time now. I would like to say that I know more but not better, because I believe learning never stops. It can grow and become a personal passion which we get to share with friends and influence them to read, too! I usually share on social media the books that I currently read. A couple of days back, my friend Ali reached out to me on Facebook and asked for a suggestion on how to start reading. Ali asked for tips for a newbie reader and a book suggestion on what to read. There is joy in seeing people getting into reading and building their passion with it. I feel grateful.

We all know that there are different personal benefits we get when you read books, and our interest in books may vary from time to time. It might be for leisure or academic requirements. Ultimately, it’s one of the best tools to self-improvement. This year would be my 8th year in doing the yearly Reading Challenge, with my #Read2019 hashtag. I plan to read 50 books this year. It’s not too late to add and start this challenge for yourself this 2019! Like your yearly dieting goals. =D You can start with few books until you discover your pace in reading. But I would like to do something differently this year, and moving forward hopefully; I will start writing a monthly book reviews since I am back to blogging! I also dream in putting up a public library where kids and adults can spend time and enjoy reading!

Yes, there is joy in reading! So, please join me! I can assure you that it is worth your time. It’s like an investment. =D

This is my first entry to my The Quest for Joy series. Click here to view all posts under this series.
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6 Comments

  1. I’m still stuck in a plateau. I do try to get in a few hours’ worth of reading and have been reading fiction for the meantime just to improve my creativity. I haven’t been imaginative in a long time. Great read, Jerome.

    • Jerome Locson Jerome Locson

      Thanks, Wilhelmina! I usually read at least two hours daily, whenever I find find but usually during my coffee break or before I sleep. And yes, it helped me become more creative and imaginative along the way. It may take time but you will find your right pacing. Give it time. 🙂

  2. Jevie Jevie

    Thanks Sir Jerome for this writeup. You,’re my idol and inspired me to keep learning.

    • Jerome Locson Jerome Locson

      Thank you, Jevie! I am glad to hear that. I wish you luck in your learning journey! 🙂

  3. Jhing Valera Jhing Valera

    Thank you for this blog Sir Jerome. I am refreshed and inspired to restart my reading. I did actually start reading books first semester of 2017. I had a peek on your Facebook posts on reading progress and that affirmed me also but I encountered a difficulty time management of my activities and priorities. Your blog gave me a stronger commitment to continue again. Initially, I am into reading success stories on business and personal financial management books. Congratulations anf looking forward to read your authored book in the future.

    • Jerome Locson Jerome Locson

      Hi Sir Jhing: I am glad to hear that you’re into reading as well. It is hard when you start, especially if you don’t have the time. I suggest you start slow, like even for 30mins or 1hr per day until you feel you can read more. I started slow until I got the rhythm and pacing right. 🙂 Good luck and I look forward to hearing your progress soon! =)

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