by KB Meniado
Happy Women’s Month! In celebration, we are featuring some of the women readers in our community. In this interview, get to know Janelle Almosara, a hobby hoarder, a serial procrastinator, and also our awesome virtual #BookbedMeets host. Here, she talks about following her curiosities and how she’s easing back into writing and reading, on top of binge-watching Mamamoo (her fave Kpop girl group) on YouTube.
Hi, Janelle! Thanks for always making time for Bookbed. This is the first question I ask anyone: How does reading empower you?
Reading has always been a window of opportunity for me. It has opened my eyes to ideas and concepts that I would have otherwise missed. It played a massive role in how I see the world and has shown me ways to be more compassionate, not only towards others but also to myself.
Now I know you have a full schedule on a day-to-day basis—how do you make time for simple pleasures like reading?
As much as I hate to admit it, my attention span isn’t as great as it used to, thanks to the internet, and add to that, I’m also—oops!—a workaholic, so it’s my not-so-strong point when it comes to pursuing creative interests. I find a lot of comfort and, honestly, validation in being productive, but I also know there’s a thin line between getting things done and being burnt out.
This is why I make it a point to manage most of my weekends and mornings to do something I like. Whether it be facilitating a virtual silent reading session, recording a podcast with friends, spending quality time with my partner, or just writing for myself, I always try to block it off my calendar. reading every day helped me get back to it. I try to squeeze at least 10-20 pages a day or finish a long-form article or two. Following book clubs and joining virtual book reading sessions help me, too!
I also make sure to remember to be kind to myself, especially when it comes to building habits or just sticking to my rigid-looking calendar. We are all human beings, and at the end of the day, what’s important is that we feel good at what we do, no matter what that may be.
That’s for sure one silver lining for some of us, that privilege to explore what makes us happy or what interests us. Speaking of things that make me happy, you lead the virtual #BookbedMeets for us every month. How has it been for you, so far?
I’ve always thought that reading was a solitary experience, and while it still is, #BookbedMeets has definitely made me enjoy the company of others. It has also helped me meet other like-minded people and get book recommendations I would’ve otherwise missed out on!
My favorite part of the meet-up is always the sharing part, where I get to listen to other people’s perspectives and opinions on the book they’re reading. It’s fun to geek out with others, and it’s a great inspiration to see others get passionate about reading. It’s been my main source of human interaction, and I don’t think I’ll ever give up on hosting. The only main challenge I could think of would be this country’s internet connection.
Welcome to the Philippines, am I right? Haha! But noting on never giving up on hosting. 😉 I always say this but I’m taking another chance at emphasizing: you are awesome at it, and you play such a significant part in making our #BookbedMeets sessions just an overall safe and dynamic space for sharing thoughts and insights. What else do you strongly advocate for that you want to see not only in books but in stories across different platforms?
If I have to choose three things I feel strongly about, it will be education, environment conservation, and human rights. I’m glad that more books tackle difficult stories that may have been deemed ‘too progressive’ in the past, and I’m thrilled we have access to these as publishers and other gatekeepers no longer bind them.
More than exploring these topics, it’s more of having these stories get more spotlight than they currently have. I know there are countless excellent books written by POCs or people from underprivileged communities that we’re missing just because they never had the chance to go mainstream or sign with a publisher that would help them boost their message. I wish we’d get more access to these stories, and I look forward to one day seeing them together with the best seller books (whenever we can get out of our houses safely, that is).
What are you reading at the moment and why do you think other readers should pick this up?
I just started reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library! I haven’t covered much yet, but this line from its synopsis really caught my eye:
“Every book provides a chance you try another life you could’ve lived.”
Even if this is fiction, there’s some truth in how books are windows to lives we could’ve led. I’m excited to finish it! ☁️