The first half of February whizzed by completely because of a hobby I reconnected and fell in love with again.
Ever since I received my first Barnes & Noble leather-bound book in the mail, I felt the same throb of passion for rebuilding and collecting rare and beautiful books. It’s like meeting with an old but tender flame over the summer.
I completely lose my grip once I become so engrossed with something, be it an object or a new hobby. I remember spending hours—days even—on goldfish and fish care when we first set up an aquarium at home. 🐠
I guess I took it from my dad, who’s just as passionate about his interests and hobbies. His are along the lines of high-powered motorcycles, drones, and expensive DSLR cameras. It’s nice to see him devote himself to things he cares about, and I get inspiration from that.
Reading literature is a part of my life just as breathing or breakfast food are, so collecting books felt all too natural. And now that we have technology like social media and online shopping in our arsenal, it’s possible to turn this into a lifetime personal project.
The Chua-Gonzaga Library Project
My sad, sad bookshelf is now my personal project—to turn this poor excuse into a family library that will hold world classics, diverse literature, and carefully selected Philippine literature for generations to come.
When I first thought about it, it felt like a puzzle piece in my life slid perfectly into its slot. It was just right for me. I didn’t feel a single drop of guilt or hesitation at the thought of investing in good books. My kids are learning to read and love reading too, so I’ve set my mind and heart to giving them a library they’ll cherish.
I created a visual tracker board to track my progress and curate book titles to add to the library. The board is private, but here’s a snapshot of what it looks like:
I was able to tick off five books off the list, which is a hella good start. I label my new titles as bought or owned and take a snapshot of the actual book. I hope to see this entire board filled with photos of the books by the end of 2019.
What’s on the list?
I’m after hardback books of classics, beautiful and rare Philippine literature, hardback copies of Roald Dahl’s books, and high-quality paperback collections like Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. Barnes & Noble leather-bound collectible editions, Penguin cloth-bound classics, and a special Harry Potter project are at the top of my priority list.
To make room, books that I can buy for the Kindle I sell and will eventually donate to the kids’ school at the end of the year. I already sold a handful of old books to friends and friends-of-friends on Facebook this month, so it’s been a successful run.
Credits to the #bookstagram community for introducing me to these lovelies. I discovered book collectors who’ve been around for years, experts on book flat lays, and talented book cover designers like Minalima, Sanna Annukka, and Coralie Bickford-Smith. Even Rifle Paper Co’s Anna Bond designed the Puffin in Bloom series in 2014. 🌹 At the heart of it all are passionate people who love the touch and smell of a beautiful book, especially one with a beautiful story to tell.
The real deal behind my current obsessions
SO I’m just gonna be real with myself in that these hobbies and passions are not just much-needed self-love.
I’ll admit from the get-go that these are ways of coping. As someone who’s still searching for herself, still finding her place within this new city and new way of life, both books and stationery are my ways of sustaining myself.
It’s been extremely difficult on an emotional and mental level, but I’m happy to say that the gaping hole in my heart that tormented me for the past three months is finally filling up. I surround myself with joy and enthusiasm that comes with reading good literature and writing on good paper.
Apart from pagerie and the library project, I count the days till I get to watch The Lion King: The Musical (March 31, baby! 🦁); till we get to visit Bicol after many years; and till Cyrus and I will enjoy our first weekend traveling together in September.
I use my free hours planning our first family trip abroad and browsing through Indonesia-related articles for my sister trip with Annie, both of which I intend to do next year. This means working double-time, so there’s less room for what and who doesn’t matter.
I’m slowly letting go of people and things, to quote Will Smith, don’t deserve to be around me and have been pissing on my flames for so long. I’m letting go of my desperate hold on lost opportunities, my what-ifs and what-could-have-beens. They’ve made me sad and lonely, and I’ve had enough.
I laughed so much at Smith’s video clip because of how timely it was, and how it showed up on my feed out of nowhere. It’s advice I needed to hear and adhere to, and books and notebooks are my way of fanning my flames and burning brightly in the darkness.