Aug 6, 2007

[Books] The Street of the Lifted Lorax

I didn't spring out of the womb a fully-fledged bookworm. Lately I got to thinking about how it all might have started, and this is what I remember: The first story I tried reading was The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. I was three or four, and at the time I believed Loraxes and Once-lers were real live creatures like you and me, only furrier and toothless. Nanay read it aloud to me almost every night for two weeks, and it took us the most of an hour each time, what with my chubby fingers poking at every Once-ler glove in sight. The book had a "Love, Mom and Dad" scrawled onto the inside cover page - Nanay must have gotten it from a friend whose kids had grown out of reading about silly-looking creatures with silly-sounding names.

Or, she could have stolen it from the community library. As a child I often found books stamped with This-or-That Library scattered around the house, which never seemed to get returned. This made a lasting impression on me, I think. I now "own" a couple of years-overdue books from my high school library (nobody seemed to have missed them, because I got cleared, anyway).

I hated the Lorax as much as I loved him. He was "shortish, and oldish, and brownish, and mossy", I think it went. He was the grandfatherish I-told-you-so sort of guy you wish you'd never met, but when he leaves, you wish he'd gone on scolding you. He was the reason I resolutely set out to learn to read, because if I didn't (Nanay threatened!) I'd never get to the Humming-Fish and the Brown Bar-ba-loots parts. So I did, I learned, and read The Lorax aloud from cover to cover once I could, starting again and again from "At the far end of town..." each time I made a mistake, to Nanay's chagrin. If I had to go to bed before I got to the end, I threw tantrums. If the Lorax leaves, the Once-ler ought to give the Truffula Seed to the listening kid before I go to sleep, or I'd have nightmares about the Lorax hemming and hawing that I never bothered to read to the bit where the Once-ler commissions the kid to go plant a Truffula Tree so that the Lorax could come back. When you're a kid, you live for these things.


I bring tidings from my foray into the usual Cubao haunts:

[1] Dylan: Visions, Portraits, and Back Pages. I had given away my Chronicles in a mad moment of generosity, and sour-graped for the best part of two months. Snatched this up the moment I spotted it in one of the Cubao second-hand bookshops.

[2] David Gilmour on vinyl. Oh, Remy's, if it said Pink Floyd, it would have been five times the price. But you don't care about guitarists, so poo.

[3] William Gibson's Neuromancer. Paperback, but who am I to choose? Still the best cover art, IMO. Reminds me of those psychedelic post-piracy Lord of the Rings ones.

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