The Way Books Were

A couple of weeks back I was contemplating shelling out P700++ for a hardbound copy of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol at a local bookstore when a shelf filled with familiar blue-colored books caught my eye. Hardy Boys. I grinned. It has been years since The Hardy Boys crossed my mind.

I strode to the shelf, grabbed a copy, and checked the back cover to see how much these books cost these days. These books, which cost around P50-P80 in the late 80s and early 90s, now cost P185 each.

I guess I was lucky books were not as expensive back when I was about 9 or 10 when I first discovered The Hard Boys, Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, Choose Your Own Adventure, and Christopher Pike novels.

Our school library encouraged reading and one of the ways they devised was to post on the bulletin board at the end of each month a list of students who had borrowed the most. I remember borrowing as many books as our librarian would permit to get my name on that much-coveted list. In retrospect, those years spent chasing the Bookworm of the Month title was my informal training on speed reading.

Those years were also the the advent of my fixation on books. I would save part of my daily allowance to raise the funds to buy myself the latest Hardy Boys paperback edition. Hardbound editions were not a priority since a couple of classmates, who owned pretty much every title in the series, lent me their collection.

I think I amassed a few dozens of these books up until the age of 13 when I outgrew them. I remember many years ago removing all my Hardy Boys collection from my bookshelf, replacing them with books from Grisham, Rice, Crichton, King, Irving, Rowling, Updike, Chabon and more recently from McEwan and Murakami.

I stacked my Hardy Boys in a cardboard box and kept locked inside my cabinet with no plans of selling them at a bargain. Who knows maybe my future kids would also want to go on numerous adventures with Frank and Joe the way their dad did.

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