The Spark Project [11]: Rhena

The Spark Project is a semi-regular blog feature where a reader and/or book blogger is invited to talk about that one book that sparked his/her interest in books and reading. He/She will tell us about the what-when-where-why-and-how of this topic, how his/her reading habits have evolved since encountering that book, and so on. Wouldn't it be fun and interesting as well to know how a fellow book lover discovered the wonderful world of books? :)

Hi guys! It’s been months since I last posted for this pet project of mine. Other than the fact that my plate was heaped full of stuff to do, I also felt uninspired to send out emails and/or gather material for future posts. :( But the project is back up now, and is there any reader more perfect to be featured on this post other than the female half of the couple who will moderate the book club’s book of the month for July? It's pretty Rhena! :)

I first met Rhena through her significant other, Benny (also a close friend from the book club and who, incidentally, was the last reader featured in TSP last January) during the book club’s Pride and Prejudice offline discussion in October last year. My first impression of Rhena was that she is the shy, quiet type; I thought that, once she had time enough to get to know the rest of the members, she would eventually come out of her shell. Several months later, Rhena is still the quiet and reserved girl at book club get-togethers, so either she is out of her shell and that’s just her personality, or she’s just going to surprise us all one of these days.

Rhena is not only a voracious reader; she is also a huge movie buff, a theater nut, and a blogger, too. Wouldn't you say she has a fairly well-rounded personality? She's not able to join the book club in all its meetings and/or get-togethers, but that's because she is busy with school and working hard at earning a degree.

Burying her pretty nose in a book.

She and Benny – the couple we fondly call “Rhennard” or “Rhenny,” in the tradition of combined names – are set to moderate the offline discussion of our book club’s pick for July, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, in a couple of weeks. Was it the book that kindled her love for reading? Or was it a book that her sweet Benny has influenced her to read? Let’s all find out, shall we? :)

(1) What is the one book that sparked or kindled your love for reading? Describe the circumstances in which you found or discovered it.

I remember being fond of books as a kid. In fact, I insisted on learning how to read just so I could do it on my own and not wait for my mother anymore to read me stories every night. This desire to learn how to read had sprang from my interest in putting a story to the illustrations in my storybooks. I laid my hands on all illustrated books, fairy tales, and W.I.T.C.H. magazines I found at home. I even read those English textbooks from cover to cover. But as I grew up, my attention span for reading greatly diminished, primarily because isn’t reading a book that is purely text kind of boring? Words from margin to margin intimidated me. No matter how much I tried imposing that love for literature back into my life, I remained at a sluggish pace of three books a year. Had it not been for Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, I wouldn’t have rediscovered the beauty of fictional worlds and the joy of somehow being part of them. But mind you, reading To Kill A Mockingbird wasn’t a fortuitous life-changing event. The culprit has a name and it is Bennard.

For the longest time, Bennard wanted to tempt me into joining him in his hobby—reading, of course. He would regale me with stories about how awesome his latest read had been, how brilliant this author is. The tiniest hint of interest coming from me will result to his going into detail (which, I admit, I sometimes regret haha!). Being the dutiful girlfriend, I tried to relate with him by attempting to read again. Sadly, the only result it yielded is a number of folded pages which I had pressed my head into after falling asleep through the book. He changed tactics, being the scheming guy that he is. He started bribing me! What did he think of me—an easy girl who can easily be bought with an article of clothing in exchange of reading To Kill A Mockingbird in a month?! He knew me all too well. But to my surprise a month later, I did not ask for the prize. That reading experience had been so cathartic that I felt I am the one who owes him something.

(2) How has it affected you - both your life in general and as a reader?

Aside from reacquainting me with the splendor of words, of stirred emotions, of general truths conveyed creatively through literature, To Kill A Mockingbird dispelled my thoughts about the classics being insurmountable by ordinary readers like me. For a book with an intimidating title, it was surprisingly easy to read, perfectly capturing the voice and insight of a child. It had been an eye-opener: that there are many great books out there and it isn’t too late to take part in the magic. It convinced me to devour more books and to be fearless in my choices. Later on, after several more books, I found myself more open to new ideas but at the same time, more critical in choosing which thoughts and beliefs I subscribe to. It also taught me to think imaginatively, to see things in a different lens, and to live life in a richer way.


Thank you Rhena, for your time and for putting the blame on Benny sharing with us the story of how you rediscovered your love for the written word. I think everyone can forgive the boyfriend for the attempt at bribery. :P

Rhena blogs at snapshot inkblot whatnot and would love for you to read her stuff! :)


Anonymous said…
Yay! We have the same book to blame. I've been thinking of rereading To Kill a Mockingbird. Probably it would take me out of my rut? :)
Monique said…
BUDDY: You mean you're not done with Infinite Jest yet?
Rhena Abundo said…
Hihi thank you, Monique! I had fun answering the questions (and exposing Bennard once and for all!) :p Andami namang compliments! *blushes*

Angus: Hooray for Harper Lee completists and fans! Haha. <3 Rereading seems like a nice idea. :)
Louize DG said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louize DG said…
Yay for the Spark Project and Rhena!
Hihihi, see, JellyBens (beans) are not just irresistible, they are life changing. :)
bennardfajardo said…
If rekindling your love for reading is a crime, I'll happily take the blame.:)

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