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I love books. I always have. The obsession started when I first set my eyes on my father’s modest book collection, procured over the years from trips to the second-hand bookshops in Manila. Most of them were textbooks, as he wanted my sisters and brother to have the advantage of having their own schoolbooks instead of just borrowing them from the school. My favourites were the Philippine Readers series by Camilo Osias, illustrated by the great Fernando Amorsolo. There was also an American book which had the most delightful watercolour illustrations. I can still picture in my mind the lovely red dresses the girls wore and the bows in their hair, and the apple pies that the grandmother baked. Oh, and the toffee apples! I always wondered what they tasted like.

In the beginning, of course, I did not know how to read, so I looked at the pictures in the books instead. And then I went through a (thankfully short) phase of cutting the lovely pictures out of some of the books. Why I didn’t get reprimanded for that, I will never know. (I know for sure that adult me would lock little me up in a windowless room for a week, with only bread and water for sustenance.)  After pestering my mother every day, I finally got her to teach me to read. And what a world that opened up for me!

 Needless to say, I’ve been hopelessly in love with books ever since. Which brings us to why my husband is a lucky man. When gift-giving time comes, my husband only has to look at my Amazon wishlist to find out what I’d like to have. Well, okay, the list can be very long sometimes, but still most books don’t cost any more than £10. If I were a shoe or handbag junkie, my husband would have to shell out a lot more than £10 to make me happy, wouldn’t he?