Treasures that transform

Readers talk about books that have made a difference

By Cassandra C. Poculan
Photo: Associated Press

 

INCREDIBLY powerful books not only transport us to another world, but they move us in ways we didn’t think possible. Some provide us with a temporary escape, some appeal to us mentally and emotionally. Then there are those that seem to speak to our souls, as if they know exactly what we’re going through at the moment, and what we need to hear. By the time you flip through the last page, you know you’re forever changed, and it lingers with you long afterward. These readers share the titles that truly made a difference in their lives.

Patty Taboada, 27
Social Media Strategist
Platform Social Media and Public Relations

“When you go through a difficult time and you don’t know how to deal, you wind up developing coping mechanisms that are really unhealthy. Such was the case for me almost ten years ago: things were, I felt then, unraveling beyond my understanding. I became desperate to find anything I could take charge of.

“Eventually, I found comfort in my weight, specifically about losing it, and suddenly I was in charge of something. I relished in seeing the numbers on the scale go down, and I reveled in everything I did to make that happen — not eating for days (and all the lying that went with it), going to the gym on an empty stomach, and subsisting on coffee and tea alone, among so many other harmful habits. All these, I felt, gave me a great sense of control, and reading Wasted by Marya Hornbacher only validated it. Her memoir, which details her struggles with various eating disorders, shed light on what I was doing — it was like someone understood. Needless to say, it fueled me further to the point I got new ideas, as if what I was doing to myself wasn’t bad enough already.

“Today, I have a healthier relationship with my weight, both mentally and physically. Out of sheer curiosity, I reread Wasted recently, even with the risk of being triggered, to see if it still made sense to me. It was a different experience this time, in that I felt accomplished in how far I’ve gone with my recovery. While there are still some rough days — and people insensitive enough to make comments on weight gain (side note: that’s never okay) — I’m proud to say I haven’t spiraled back down into that dark rabbit hole.”

Ching Sadaya, 26
Assistant Editor/Wordsmith Consultants
Blogger/Cebu Fashion Bloggers

“It may come as no surprise that Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist shaped my perception of life. I was at a phase where I questioned the certainty of my future and purpose in life when I read this book (around eight years ago). It seemed like Paulo knew exactly how to convince a person like me, who is hard on oneself, to believe that ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’ And I carry that quote around to keep me motivated whenever I doubt my own journey.”

Melissa Ortiz, 27
Freelance Copywriter
and Social Media Manager

“Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck was heaven-sent! I first read it when I just started freelancing and I was doubtful that things would work out. I think it was the perspective that I needed at that time to continue my journey. I still go back to the book whenever I need to be inspired. I always recommend it to friends who need a little push in following their creative paths.”

Carlo Rivera, 25
Writer and Marketing Communications Officer Maayo Hotel

“I would say Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. The book prepared me to this adulthood — to love, to forgive, to be happy, to be better, and to care for the things you have for they can’t be replaced. And, like the Saint-Exupery of the story, we can be as grand as we fix our plane, as serious of pursuit as there can be in the middle of the barren desert, and as much of a budding illustrator of threatening baobabs, and sheep in boxes we so wish — the magical pages of this masterpiece still ring true, much similar to how the fox told the little prince, ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.’”

Daryl de Jabil, 23
Product Officer-Real Estate Loan
United Coconut Planters Bank

“It’s hard, you know, growing up these days. The society is busier than usual. Everyone has to double-time — no, wait, triple-time — that it becomes harder to make time for oneself, the loved ones and the little things that also matter for one’s existence. Everybody wants anything they can get in just one snap. It’s hard, being an adult. Once I felt I was tired, as if I had enough of the stress brought about by this so called ‘adulthood’ or why-am-I-even-here thought. Then a revisit to one of my favorite childhood book helped me feel at ease — to say the least — and changed my views as a new adult. It’s the 1943 classic, The Little Prince. If a friend seems to be in doubt in his life right now, I’d suggest a read of this book. It taught me so many lessons about adulthood, so many insights. The story is, really, for adults like me. It dares its reader to take a pause, reflect and change their views in life for the better. It changed some of mine. It erased most of the negative thoughts I had, reminding me that, to borrow a line from the book, ‘What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.’”

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