With the celebration of Book Week, there has been a renewed love and passion for the various literary works we are exposed to throughout our lifetime. For this week’s article, we wanted to explore the impact of books on the CIS community and their opinions on the books they hold most dear. By answering a series of questions, students and teachers alike have opened up to share their experiences surrounding books of all types. Take a look at their answers below!
1. What is your current favourite book and why?
My current favorite book is Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo. It’s a really great feminist fiction written by a WOC that centers on the experiences of women in Korean society and similarly encapsulates the very real and relevant experiences of every woman in the world too. The book shows both the implicit and explicit misogyny women are subjected to on a daily basis, from childhood up to adulthood. As the book revolves around Kim Ji-young navigating her way through a society with deeply rooted conservative ideologies (just like the Philippines), her experiences were very relatable and in some cases, made me feel seen and understood. I really recommend everyone to read it if they have the chance!
Currently, I’m tied between two, Normal People by Sally Rooney and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Normal People is one of my favorite contemporary romances and though it is a romance, it tackles subjects of social class in modern-day Ireland and gender inequality in relationships. It’s an easy read, but it can be a bit difficult to get into with Rooney’s writing style. The Book Thief, on the other hand, is historical fiction and a masterclass on writing from a creative perspective. By taking the omniscient perspective of death, it is able to discuss the humanity behind war and explore World War II in a harrowing yet sentimental manner.
Alejandro G. (teacher)
My favorite literary work…I don’t really have one favorite, but I have some works that I really like and one for example is 1984 by George Orwell. I really enjoy the progression of the events, and how the author is building tension from the first until the last chapter. It is somehow a long book to read, but it’s quite coherent. Plus, the criticism of the author in the story is quite coherent with what was actually happening in the 2nd half of the 20th century. And that criticism is actually a sort of foreshadowing for many societies and communities around the world that actually suffer from the same ideas, issues, and problems.
2. What was your favourite childhood book and why?
Definitely the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. Everyone read it in elementary school, and we would borrow each other’s Diary of the Wimpy Kid books to keep up with every new book in the series. It was such a comfort read: each diary entry made us feel like we could relate with Greg in the things he enjoyed, got annoyed with, or dreamed for. The drawing styles of the illustrations were also super iconic. It made the book instantly recognizable, and I remember trying to draw in its style.
My favorite book as a child will forever be The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane By Kate DiCamillo. I really enjoyed this book because the different events that Edward Tulane uncovered during his journey really touched my heart. It was really heartwarming reading the book for the first time.
Billionaire Boy by David Walliams. I really enjoyed this book as it showed me how money isn’t everything in life. I realized this point as I grew older but when I actually read the book, I was around 8 years old. At that point, I enjoyed it simply because I enjoyed the story itself.
3. Has any book ever impacted your life in a big way? If so, how?
When I was first introduced to the series as a kid I fell in love with the world, as generically fantastical as it may have been, but it really just was executed in a way that little me loved, and growing up I’d try to model my actions around certain characters that I admired (cliché, sure) but I feel like it really helped develop my love for literature.
The Mastery of Love. Thanks to this book I understood the different concepts of love and why we feel what we feel and this made me change my mindset and grow better as a person.
Tuesdays with Morrie. This book impacted me significantly as it gave me thoughts on topics such as death, materialistic belongings, and love that I had never even thought of. It almost felt like a reset button was pressed on how I would want to live my life.
Damon F. (teacher)
In fact, there are two books that I think are really important. The first one is called The Power of One and this book shows us that even when you are passing through tragedy, each season passes, even winter comes to an end, and there is always hope. The second book would be Gulliver’s Travels which is a story of a man that travels the world, experiencing intimately weird and wonderful cultures. And I sometimes strive to be that weird man.
I would have to say The Famous Five series impacted my life since it has changed not only my reading style but also the type of books I like to read.
4. Why do you think books are so important in our society?
Alejandro G. (teacher)
I believe books transmit an amount of knowledge that otherwise through the oral tradition would be lost. And what is actually more important is to consider the sources for those books because as knowledge is important, it is also important to consider where that knowledge comes from to see how it is relevant.
I think that books are essential to this society because they can teach us things we didn’t know we should learn and we are able to discover more interesting things that could potentially be useful later on in our lives.
Damon F. (teacher)
Well, sometimes you meet a dear friend who you can connect with, that you can feel cared for and loved, someone you can trust with thoughts, both yours and theirs. That you can feel scared and happy and cry and feel safe, that you can hold and with the touch of your fingertips, feel a kind of family bond that you miss when they’re away. But when it’s time to leave, you start extending the small talk and try to stall and delay their departure. Well, a book can become this special friend, where you hold in your hands, that you have this unexplainable emotional bond, where you’re doing your normal day-to-day activities and all you’re thinking about is to return to your book friend. When you start to near the end of the book and you start to read each page, slowly, because you don’t want this friendship to end. This is what a book can be for you. On another level, books can also be the steps to reach the door, which opens a new world of opportunity for you, to know things, to be things.
Books are important because they are a form of entertainment and education. They teach you things and can entertain you as well.
I think most books are important in our society because the majority of the people who enjoy reading use reading as escapism from our reality.
5. What is a book quote you live by?
A book quote I live by is one from Stephen Chbosky’s “Perks of Being A Wallflower” —
“We are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.”
“I am always half in life, half in a fantastical version of it in my head.” -Dolly Alderton
From the first book in the series of Aristotle and Dante: “Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.”
Alejandro G. (teacher)
A quote I live by in Spanish is “sabio es aquel que enseña con amor” by Gerardo Schmedling or in English “one who teaches with care/love is wise.” This was one of the first pieces of advice in one of the first jobs I had some 22/23 years ago. This quote is a guide and philosophy I follow in my life, to love in the sense of everything, to love nature and humanity, and through that idea, I know that I would get better results in my life. If I try to understand what I don’t like for other people to do to me, that means I won’t do that to others as well, and that’s what I try to apply in my lessons.
A book quote I try to live by would be “It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission”.
“Edward knew what it was like to say over and over again the names of those you had left behind. He knew what it was like to miss someone. And so he listened. And in his listening, his heart opened wide and then wider still.”
– Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
“You are the way you are because that is what you believe about yourself”
– The Mastery of Love
“We learn to be right and to make everyone else wrong. The need to be “right” is the result of trying to protect the image we want to project to the outside. We have to impose our way of thinking, not just onto other humans, but even upon ourselves.”
– The Mastery of Love
“The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” – Tuesdays with Morrie
Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? – Anne of Green Gables
“Life is precious because it ends, kid.” – Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune
Interviews by Dragon’s Print members & Feature Image by Naoki, K. (G12)
The views expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.