I’m a copywriter by trade, and after several years of agency work I transferred into the enterprise marketing unit of a multinational telco. I also used to be a copywriting instructor and an underemployed graduate student. Currently, I am the slave of a Feline Overlord named Jinkx Monsoon and I study Nihongo on the weekends.
I learned how to read at a very early age (3, according to my mom) and never stopped reading everything I could get my hands on. I cut my teeth on Mario Puzo, John Le Carre, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and other such authors that my dad loves (my parents didn’t believe much in children’s books). I started getting into Filipino literature in English around high school, which was a turning point as my “reading horizons” expanded into what was to be my favorite genre: creative nonfiction.
Writing for readers seem to be second nature, and I fell into it quite early and basically never stopped. It’s just like participating in a conversation you’ve been watching for so long.
Having gone to graduate school for a writing degree (still unfinished, lol), I know of close-reading and other forms of interpreting text, which can be quite time-consuming and rigorous, and well, very academic. To escape from this, I started a blog some years ago where I post about my “leisure reads,” i.e. the things I’m not required to read with an academic’s lens.
With this blog, I started keeping a small notebook with me where I can jot down thoughts, reactions, questions, or anything that can remind me of the things going through my head as I read. After reading the book, I go through my notes and take it from there. I often have a basic formula or template to write the review, which goes like: introducing the book with a punchy line or two, the basic plot, what I liked about the story in general, techniques the author employed, and a sort of call to action to wrap it up. It’s very copywriter-ly, but that’s what works for me!
If I remember correctly, I submitted a snippet of a review I wrote on David Sedaris’ Barrel Fever for my now inactive book blog. I sent it in with no expectations, but with the hope that I get accepted because I wanted to re-start reading for leisure again and expand my reading horizon.
Read what you love—and don’t be shamed into thinking that what you’re reading isn’t important or meaningful or useful. Write about what you read, even if it’s on a small notebook, if only to remind you of a certain time of your reading life :)
Read Palo's reviews here.