I had an interesting day today. Thanks to the awesome bookseller over at BOOKS PORTAL on Facebook, I found three hardbound editions of the Beauty series books. The thing is, I would gladly have purchased the boxed set edition currently available at the Giant 3: National Bookstore, PowerBooks, and Fully Booked, except that it mentions 50 Shades of Grey (which I haven't read and don't plan to) on the cover. Why should an Anne Rice masterpiece refer to choppily written prose?
Th first seller, who only had the 1st book in hardbound, actually put me in touch with the second seller who had books 2 and 3. Interestingly, the second seller was once the shop owner of the used bookstore on the second floor of UP SC. But their shop has now closed.
I had to meet the owner at their residence to pick up my Beauty 2 and 3 and make payment. Beauty 1 will be shipped to me.
When I met him, a man in his 50s, he let me in just by me saying my name. He correctly guessed I was a UP student. I was welcomed into their living room. His wife (I'm guessing it's his spouse) was having merienda and invited me to eat with her. To my non-Pinoy readers, that's a Filipino custom. You come into a Filipino house and you greet them, "Good afternoon po." Then they invite you to eat. There is almost always someone eating at any time of the day in a Filipino household: "Kain!" To which you politely decline with a smile. "Salamat po. Tapos na po."
The truth is I wanted to check out the bookshelf that was nearby, but I didn't want to seem precocious. That's one thing you will learn about me. I'm not judgmental. I don't judge a person based on his clothes, or home, or speech pattern, or level of educational attainment (I never finished college). But welcome me to your household and I will always check out the titles on your bookshelf. What is he or she reading? What kind of person is my host?
If a house is devoid of books I feel sad. Not even one book? Any magazines? Oh my god who are you?
Okay, so I didn't get to check out their shelf, but what the man told me saddened me. He said that they had to close shop because they couldn't pay rent for it anymore. Soon as their children graduated college, they just closed up.
I said, "I loved your store."
"Kids these days, they don't read anymore. They just don't read books anymore. And our rent was fifteen thousand a month. We couldn't afford it anymore."
I cannot accept that students from the University of the Philippines, the Isko ang Iska ng Bayan are no longer needing novels, no longer buying books to read for pleasure, no longer... I cannot! What's going on?
"Maybe they're reading ebooks now," I offered an explanation to the bookseller. "If you ever come across other hardcover Anne Rice books, tell me."
"And if you have friends who might like books, bring them to me," he said.
We nodded to each other and smiled, a way of shaking hands.
A friend, another avid reader, told me that maybe today's generation has not so much switched to ebooks but just wait for the movie to come out. Or never bother to read at all and just get their entertainment from telenovelas and noontime TV shows. Scary thought.
WattPad romances are very popular among the YA demographic, that's true. But I wonder about the quality of writing. My fourteen-year-old niece is reading Talk Back and You're Dead, My Boyfriend the Gangster, Relaks it's Pag-ibig. At her age I was reading Rice.
I end this entry by putting the information here of the second seller. He says he's on OLX but really, I couldn't find him there. But his cellphone number is 0905-470-9226. UP area, Krus na Ligas. Text between seven am and nine pm. Inquire for rare books. And be courteous to the nice couple!