Five voracious readers tell us how to get back into the habit of reading

Five voracious readers tell us how to get back into the habit of reading

Time to pick a new read — and join our brand-new book club.

Photos by Mohd Sarajan


It’s the most wonderful time of the year where everyone just wants to cozy up in bed to read their favourite book. It’s even guilt-free if your city declares it a holiday before you even leave the house. We totally understand if being a potato was the preferred activity last Aug. 3, but time and again, our Philippine Readers and Writers Festival guests prove us wrong. 

Despite the rainy weather, Ballroom 1 of Raffles Makati was full of people who wanted to know how to get back into the habit of reading. Our amazing panelists Gabby Padilla, Aaron de Borja, JM Cabral, Salve Villarosa, and George Evan Dungca excitedly shared some notes on how they got back into the habit of reading. From taking inspiration from our SRAs (a.k.a. Science Research Association’s reading program) to skipping young adult contemporary to reading almost a hundred books in one year, the panel really delved into their reading habits. The guests even shared their own experiences and were rewarded with some sweet, sweet reads courtesy of Bookworms Unite PH which is a local book club co-founded by JM.

The library is open: Young STAR panelists JM Cabral, Aaron de Borja, Gabby Padilla, George Dungca and Salve Villarosa shared tips on how to get back into the habit of reading.

We also did our share by launching something of our own. Listen, we’ve been doing the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival with National Book Store for five years now and each one of them is special. But this one is just a tiny bit extra special because we have also (finally!) launched our book club Spinebreakers. Once you sign up to our newsletter in our website, you get book recommendations every month with additional guide questions for discussion and exclusive content about the book, author or just reading habits. Let’s not even get started on how cute the layout is. 

If that still doesn’t do the trick, then here are other tips we learned from our panelists:


Take recommendations from your friends. 

We’ve all seen it: “100 books you need to read in your lifetime.” For a list nerd like me, it’s satisfying to check of the boxes and feel that you’re doing something productive. But the thing is, when you finally get to the Fitzgeralds or the Homers, it doesn’t feel as exciting anymore. You don’t want after-school reading to feel like an extension of your SRA, right? Why not ask your friends for recommendations. That way they can tailor-fit their suggestions to your interests. If they’re too caught up in their books to come to the phone, we have lists in our website for that. *wink*

Book club in session: The guests who talked about their own experiences were gifted with new reads, thanks to our friends from Bookworms Unite PH.

If you don’t like the book, drop it. 

Not all books are created for you. So if you find one paperback particularly boring, don’t hesitate to move on to another one. I know, I know: not finishing a book feels terrible. Sometimes it can feel like a giant Babadook looming over your head. But life is too short to endure a bad book, so move on and find one that can truly entertain you. However, if your goal is to really finish this particular book, find a buddy who you can discuss this with. Good thing there’s Spinebreakers. *wink*


Read in a different language.

Filipino, to be exact. More often than not, when you read the same genre over and over again, the experience tends to get predictable. Why not diversify and read something Filipino? Start with something familiar and pick up your old copy of Noli Me Tangere or El Fili. Okay, maybe that will uncover some unnecessary trauma. Still, there are a lot of independent publishers who have Tagalog books. Good thing all of them are available in National Book Store.


Sign up to the Spinebreakers, Young STAR’s book club, via our website http:// Special thanks to Bookworms Unite PH. You may find them on Facebook via


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