Reading as an Extrovert

Reading is probably one of the most classic pastimes for introverts.

Introverts recharge by spending quality time on their own, and reading is a great way to pass the time. It is probably also quite calming for people; it’s nice and quiet, with no need to engage in the chaotic world that we all live in.

Except that I’m an extrovert. I recharge by meeting up with people and chatting them up. I can be loud and obnoxious, and just the right amount of social interaction can keep me going all day or night, minimal drinks required. If you ask me whether reading relaxes me, the answer is it does not. I won’t even try to read after a long day at work because I would feel more drained than I had just been. It would then be as if reading became a chore, and I would get all worked up because why do I have so many books to read anyway? What was I thinking?

Oh, yes, now I remember: I love to read—only I read when I’m already relaxed. I do not read when I am rattled because solitude does not calm nor recharge me one bit. I am a morning person, and I feel at my best while the sun is out. I feel calm when I wake up to the morning sunshine, so I read while I eat breakfast and drink coffee. I read before I face the challenges of the day, even if it is only for thirty minutes, because it is such a joy to read, and I will make sure it stays that way for me.

If I’m tired, I actually look forward to talking to people and telling them about my day, in person or in social media. I need the interaction. Not surprisingly, I’m reading at a slower pace than I was a few months ago. I was on vacation then. I’m not too bothered by the change of (reading) pace though because I’d rather have a pleasant time reading than get burnt out doing so.

Extroverts need to recharge, too—just in a seemingly counterintuitive way.

Novel Reactions: White Teeth

White Teeth delves into family history and dynamics: an unlikely friendship between two men, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, and how this brought their families together. It explores what it’s like to be a person of color in London from the 70s to the 90s (though I am guessing even until today). It is the kind of book I’d recommend to readers who are more invested in characters than the plot, those who want to understand why people-are-that-way and who do not mind the lack of action in a book.

It took me a bit longer than usual to sort out my feelings about White Teeth.

I read this book based on a recommendation by someone in my professional network. This was one of three fiction books in a list of ten books, so I felt that the book would at least expand my reading horizons. It did; I have no regrets.

Continue reading “Novel Reactions: White Teeth”

Short Bites: The Epizootic

After reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Epizootic,” the second story in his posthumously published collection, While Mortals Sleep, I wanted to bring to light the hushed up epidemic that ravaged America a few decades ago: the epizootic. Of course, actions have since been taken to rid America of this disease, so let me tell you about it because I thought it was an interesting read.

Please be aware of the epizootic, a disease that drove down the age of mortality among American men from 68 to 47 years old. Family men, men with wives and children to support, were most prone to contracting this disease especially in times of financial crises.

The epizootic was a terminal illness, and it spread through thoughts and words. Unless one covered his eyes and ears and lived far removed from society, there seemed to be no escape. Research has shown that the epizootic cases were correlated to increased instances of crashing planes and falling from heights.

“Modern communications are wonderful, aren’t they?” he said. “Almost as wonderful as life insurance.”

Kurt Vonnegut, “The Epizootic” in While Mortals Sleep

Thankfully, fine print has aided in eradicating the epizootic epidemic. For good measure, I suggest reading “The Epizootic” for a first-hand account of the covered up epidemic. The hope is that all breadwinners, no longer limited to family men, do not ever have to succumb to this disease.

Novel Reactions: Ilustrado

It could just be me, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado. I liked the way the writer incorporated different forms of media and literature, all of which eventually made sense as the story developed, into one cohesive work, but I was just … okay with it. It’s not a very long book, but it took me a while to finish. (This doesn’t mean I have nothing to say though. I have a bunch.)

Because I like my history, let’s first talk about the title, Ilustrado.

For context, the Philippines was colonized by Spain for 333 years (I am not making this number up) from 1565 to 1898. The word “Ilustrado” referred to people from the Philippines who obtained their education abroad, in Mother Spain. This exposed them to liberal ideas, and they came back seeking to reform Spanish colonial rule (to turn the Philippines into a Spanish province instead of just a colony). Think: Jose Rizal and Plaridel.

But why use a word so old that it was used in history books?

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Short Bites: The Veldt

If I were to describe “The Veldt,” a short story in Ray Bradbury’s The Invisible Man, it would be “creepy.”

In this world, you can buy a house that’s practically alive. The house is at your service, and you never have to lift a finger. Gone are the days when you have to clean and maintain your house—it is programmed to be self-sufficient. It can even cook your meals that you might wonder: does the house have a mind of its own?

And then you have children spoiled like no other. These children are so used to getting everything that they want that you’re not sure how they would deal with adversity. Perhaps their behavior would be destructive? Well, whenever I read about mysterious children, I am reminded of horror movies, of children with eerily high-pitched voices and imperious auras. (Actually, I remembered Such Small Hands, which left me unsettled.)

At the end of the day, it all boils down to one question: are you really in control? If not, well, watch out.