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30 Days of Books Challenge


Day 26, 27 August 2011 – A book that changed your opinion about something



Without Seeing the Dawn by Stevan Javellana. I've been reading since I was a child, but all of the books I read were not Philippine books if they were not my textbooks. Thus, although I grew up in a rather remote barrio, America and England were actually more familiar to me because they were what I read about. When I tried to start writing stories at the age of nine or ten (Grade Five or Six), I ended up giving my setting and characters foreign names because they were the ones most familiar to me from the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. Only, I couldn't visualize them in my mind because I'd only read about them and hadn't really seen or experienced, say, a drugstore or a county fair. So the stories weren't really that good. Then I found out about Tagalog romances. Which were mostly set in Manila or some other location in Luzon, so again I thought everything had to be set in Manila, even if I didn't know what a mall was and where Cubao or Divisoria were. Total disconnect.

Then I read Without Seeing the Dawn, and realized that Stevan Javellana was describing a people and a way of life familiar to me (Ilonggo), in a place I'd actually been to (Iloilo), in ENGLISH. And that was when I realized that the setting and characters of a story are not actually tied to the language you tell your story in-- you just write about what you know best in the language you know best.

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

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