Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Reading Compared to Love-Making

Book reading is like meeting and exploring the very depth of a person. When an author writes, s/he spreads himself or herself over the pages and the reader gets to know him or her with intimacy. Both the reader and the author are lovers,- lovers of wisdom, lovers of knowledge. With this, reading can be compared to a foreplay!

By the way, when I posted this note in my Facebook account on my 48th birthday, somebody accused me of entertaining Freudian thoughts instead of him wishing me luck on my natal day. Today is the 27th anniversary of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose but instead of writing something about our local Church, I insisted on posting about sex and reading. Maybe my friend is right about me now being a Freudian. Or about me getting old.

As we ponder on love-making or carnal union in general, I remember what our Judicial Vicar, Msgr. Hermogenes E. Bacareza, SVD, wrote in his book entitled “Psychological Incapacity : A Gift From Heaven?”. Bacareza informed his readers that two ancient scholars,- Johannes Gratian (1140) and St. Thomas of Aquinas (1256) have two different views on sexual intercourse in marriage. Gratian, considered as Father of Canon Law, asked : “Let us ask ourselves this question : what kind of consent constitute marriage? Is it a consent to intercourse or cohabitation or both?” For Gratian, the essence of marriage is the mutual transfer of power over each other’s body.

Aquinas on the other hand took up the same question and answered that what makes marriage is the consent to marriage itself, not just the carnal part of it, but the whole of marriage.

Allow me now to lead you again to Jean Guitton’s “A Student’s Handbook to Intellectual Work”, the book I just finished reading yesterday : “Nothing is more touching that to see a book lying open at a page someone is reading attentively and to wait for the sound of the leaf that will not be turned.” But I am putting it this way : “Nothing is more touching to see your lover’s body lying naked ready to be discovered or rediscovered,- its every single detail, and wait for the sound of her last moan.” This intimate moment bring excitement and utmost anticipation to the ultimate expression of love between them.

To singles out there, keep in mind that the books (read : partner) you should keep by your bedside are the ones that can, no matter what happened, give you guidance or helpful stimulus not only in bed but especially in life. Me and my wife knows that.

Incidentally, my wife and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary last Sunday. Nothing special. We didn’t go out. We just read the whole night. Honest. And we read aloud!

Speaking of oral reading (no pun intended!) or reading aloud, one of my instructress in Early Philippine Literature had this advise to her students : “In order for you to completely understand the contents of a book, it is advisable that you lend it voice. Practice oral reading…” She further stressed that our ancestors are said to have read aloud even when they are alone. The rapid and silent reading,- meaning with eyes and not making a sound, is an invention of a modern man. This kind of reading (and yes,.. love-making) makes you unresponsive and untruthful to that basic human need or act (Disclaimer : words in bold letters has nothing to do with my former English teacher. It’s mine alone!).

“Read” aloud but please avoid immoral and scandalous action or situation. Going back to the title of this post,- between the two and under normal situation, only book reading is allowed inside the library...

(Photo of a painting called “Woman Reading A Book” (1845) by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875), a French painter)


  1. Reading is foreplay. Book is akin to the body of one's partner lying bare before one's eyes. You keep the quality books by side especially at night. You do both orally.
    May I add that in reading the reader and the book writer are sharing themselves to each other. The reader receives the writer into her consciousness, and let him invade her interior freely and with gusto. The book writer is allowed to penetrate the internal space of the reader, as his ideas are accepted and graciously received. The writer has his ideas to offer -- nothing more, nothing less.
    In their sharing of each other's essence, their encounter is open to fecundity. The reader may get impregnated by the author's idea(s), and may eventually give birth to a new being shaped by the author's semen of ideas (i mean, seminal ideas). (Thus, will you wear condom when you make love... with your book?)
    The act of reading is utterly pleasurable. The reader enjoys reading. The writer is happy knowing that his piece is liked... and read. This pleasure is not comparable to what money may give. In the first place, love making is had because of love; otherwise, it is purely an animal act -- a sexual intercourse.
    It may also be noted here that reading and lovemaking are also similar in the sense that both are actually needing some assistance when the "readers" and "writers" get old. A pair of eyeglasses for the reader... and Viagra for the love makers... (MS)

  2. @MS : Salamat sa pagdugtong ng ilang pang paghahambing.

    Pero ayon sa ilang conservative theologians, all “unnatural” (kagaya ng foreplay o stimulation,- hindi ko na bibigyan ng iba pang example kasi baga may mga minor na bumabasa nito) sex acts daw ay intrinsically evil, even inside marriage at kahit na tunay na nagmamahalan ang mag-asawa. Ang mga ito daw ayon sa ilang mga theologian ay, “always objectively immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances, partial or complete.” Sabay katwiran na masama talaga ang paggamit ng kontraseptibo at pamimilit. Yung mga “unnatural” o kasalanang sexual act, ayon sa mga taong ito ay anumang aktong ‘di nakakabuntis o hindi nauuwi sa pagbubuntis at panganganak!

    Patawad na lang sa uulitin…

  3. Totoo yan, Norman. May ganiyang linya ng kaisipan sa hanay ng mga teologo at moralista. Sa kaniyang pagtalakay sa kung ano ang ultimate end ng marital union, sabi nila procreation daw.
    Mabuti na lamang at may ibang mga moral theologians na nagsasabing hindi lamang procreation ang dahilan ng sexual union -- katulad nina Richard McCormick at ng mga advocates ng moral system ng Leuven personalism. (Masamang balita nga lamang na hindi sila ang bumubuo sa mayoridad sa loob ng simbahan tungkol sa isyung ito).
    Ang stress sa kung ano ang natural ay patunay na ang teolohiya ng simbahan mo ay Thomistic.