Understatement of the year: I love to read. If you looked at my desk at the office, you will see a massive pile of books. I started reading when I was a wee lad of six and I never stopped since. I think the operative term here is that I consume books. I greedily read books like a man in a desert who suddenly finds a cache of water in the middle of nowhere – I greedily drink from it no matter where it comes from.
So since I have been writing almost exclusively about hugot (a Filipino term which means an outpouring of your innermost emotions), I’ve decided to compile a list of five books that you might want to read to get your hugot fix. These books will reduce you to blubber, or at least make you feel something tugging at your heart strings.
1) NORWEGIAN WOOD by Haruki Murakami
Yes, the name of the book is a reference to the Beatles song. Norwegian Wood is about Toru, a quiet ordinary man telling the story of how his bestfriend Kizuki had committed suicide and how Toru had become drawn to Kizuki’s emotionally troubled girlfriend, Naoko. Listening to his story is Midori, who is slowly falling in love with him.
It is a tale of broken people trying to fix each other. If you’ve read Murakami before I would definitely say that this is the most grounded his books have ever been. There is a certain realness in Norwegian Wood that you just do not find in any of Haruki’s other works.
2) LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
This about a romantic love that you shout to the heavens. If you believe in the notion of love standing the test of time, look no further. The story is set in the about Florentino and Fermina, two young lovers separated by circumstance and social class. Florentino is your classic, balls out romantic, perpetually pining over Fermina. It is one of the most charming books about love and patience that I have ever read and you would often catch yourself smiling at various junctures in the book.
Also, this is the book that was in the Serendipity movie. You cannot get any more romantic cred than being in the sappiest movie of all time.
3) EVERY DAY by David Levithan
This is a book that I finished in less than one day. I was originally intrigued by the premise – A (that’s the name) doesn’t know what he/she/it (let’s stick with he from now on) is. All A knows is that everyday he wakes up everyday in a different body that isn’t his own. Usually he tries not to mess anything up with the body he is inhabiting but all this changes when he falls in love with Rhiannon, a girl who happens to be the girlfriend of one of the bodies he inhabited. It speaks about love that is trapped by uncertainty. A knows that being with this girl would be difficult and well nigh impossible but it’s all about living life one day at a time and not giving a care. Yet despite that it explores the very real consequences of pushing a love that can never be.
4) THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger.
Henry and Clare are married. Unfortunately, Henry suffers from a rare genetic disorder where he time travels unexpectedly, like an epileptic fit where instead of him getting seizures, he ends up in a different time and place. He meets Clare at various points in her life and carries a relationship with her at different points in time.
I felt that this was a metaphor for relationships where you do not know if a person will ever return if they leave you. You do not stop loving someone despite the very real fear that they might never come back.
5) LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Greene
I know everyone should be familiar with The Fault with Our Stars which was also written by John Greene. Yes that was a heartbreaking book but this one will hit you like a pile of bricks. Everyone has that one person that they will never forget. For Miles, that person is a girl named Alaska. Alaska was your typical force of nature – unpredictable and uncontainable. Miles predictably falls in love with her. If you have ever fallen in love when you were younger and you just can’t shake that person from your memory, then this is your book.
Anyway that’s the list. They should give you all the hugot you need for the moment. If you need more, your friendly neighborhood hugotero is always at your service. Till next time, keep loving, keep fighting, keep holding on.