Books are integral part of our lives, from the picture books that our parents used to teach us about our increasingly complicated world to the textbooks of our schools; from learning simple familiar things to the basics of our language; from the cheesy novels that took us to different worlds to the memoirs of people who showed us how to triumph over adversities.
The lack of television and radio in my early years led me to find joy in reading. The Filipino Komiks were an early favourite because it was cheap and my mother also liked it. We could rent one from a vendor just down the stairs of the grandstand near our house. She also liked to read those old romance novels. The city library became a place to hang out especially on hot summer afternoons as it was air-conditioned. My high school library kept numerous old books and I was hoping to get inside the last time I visited but it was closed for school break. There was something about the smell of old books – intriguing, mysterious and absorbing.
Sunday school was a way to get free meals and a place to learn about Bible stories. It was fascinating at first but became more confusing. I couldn’t understand why such book which was supposed to bring people together has brought so many factions. It seemed every single person had his own way of understanding it. The more I read it the more foreign it became.
Then I discovered Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Bart Ehrman. Their works are easy to understand and has enlightened me in more ways than reading the Bible in its entirety.