The Bookworm in Paolo Santos

Manila Bulletin, March 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Bookworm in Paolo Santos


Byline: JOJO P. PANALIGAN

Jason Mraz did not write his hit song "Geek In The Pink" in reference to local acoustic music scene-proponent, Paolo Santos.

But it certainly has title that could describe the latter.

Outside the glare of his celebrity, Paolo loves reading certain types of books. Among these are biographies, Russian history, fiction (science or otherwise), Brit Lit and transcripts of interviews by famous or important people.

His favorite author is Michael Crichton book of whom, Jurassic Park," changed Paolo's views on reading.

"Before Crichton, I used to think that books only have two uses: for reports and for the graphics (in comic books)," says he. "He made me realize that well-written books have power to make time fly, transcend worlds and even transform lives."

The belated interest is surprising. Paolo grew up around books. His father, a journalist, has a library at home. Paolo's academic background-- a degree in Business Economics from De La Salle University and fellowship in International Relations from Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland--also meant a lot of required reading.

Yet now that he needs not to does Paolo want to.

"Some books are so hard to put down once you start reading that I have developed and, shall we say, cultivated terrible reading habits," says he, laughing. "Do I read with bad lightning? Yes. Do I read while lying down? Yes again. Do I read until my eyes are so tired that they turn red and involuntarily shed tears? Yes -- as long as the book is worth it."

He means Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity," J.D. Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye" and George Orwell's "Animal Farm" apart from Crichton opuses. Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" also gets Paolo's thumbs up though the author's "The Deception Point" was a letdown.

"Those two books by Brown was like an heirloom in our family; passed on from one hand to another, one generation to the next," says he. "You should see how the book looks like now."

But wear and tear in his books is badge of honor to Paolo. He says the more "mangled" his books are, the surer indication that it is a gem in the owner's eyes.

The musician also has no qualm lending books, especially his favorites, since he sees it like "giving gifts of knowledge or at least entertainment."

When certain books are hard to find in local shelves, Paolo turns to the internet. He got his hands on "Return of the Dark Knight" by Frank Miller (same author of blockbuster movie, "300") this way. So too the book about how to stop smoking ("that actually encourages reader to smoke") he currently is trying to finish.

"The book about smoking I once saw a foreign artist reading," says he.

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