I come from a religious family.
That is why a great number of my books as a kid were about Bible stories. Arthur Maxwell was the first name that I came across. And while there were other Bible story books, I enjoyed his collection more since his were great in number (I think we owned close to 20 books) and while the books weren’t peppered with illustrations, his retelling was arresting—at least for a kid.
And because my mother used to be a grade school teacher, I flipped through her English and Filipino books that were mostly about folklore and legends here and there, which I found to be terribly fascinating. Add to the mix textbooks made by the Americans for the Filipino students of the 50s and the 70s. We used to live near a former college and one of the instructors there left behind a bookcase filled with teaching materials.
So, besides learning about the Greek version of the creation and other myths and legends, I became exposed to mostly American literature; from their folk songs and rhymes to speeches and letters. Though there were also curious pieces, like the many ballads about Robin Hood—but such never held me down for long. Too romantic for my young taste.
Myths, legends, and folklore opened doors for to the other worlds inside other books. Most of them were fantasy tales, which could be anything from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to that book I kept rereading but never remembered the title—just that it was about a kid who lived in Old Septimus’ house and discovered up in the attic a magical parrot who granted every wish. Others were less magical but nonetheless wonderful like Heidi by Johanna Spyri and Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Because I enjoyed such books, I find myself going back to such types.
Friends and even my best friend finds it funny that a grown man such as I still wander through the children’s and young adult section—not to look for a gift—but for something to read myself. And what I do read is what you see in me, what you hear from me. I know that the adult world can do so much damage to one who has entered it that is why I do control those effects with books; it keeps the wonder fresh, the fun alive, and the smile intact.