the music house and other musings


Last week, I was walking behind these young girls on my way to Green Apple Books. They were probably high school students, chatting about music, school, books, and of course, boys. They were loud enough that I can hear them but they were talking all at once that its hard to follow their conversation. I smiled because this always happens when girl friends get together, multiple conversations happen at the same time.

This could have been me and my friends 15 years ago. I can still remember it vividly, we'd rush excitedly out of our high school, take the jeepney downtown to our thrift store heaven, The Music House. I don't know why it was named that way because they sell mostly used books but I do recall that there was an antique piano near the back of the store. The Music House was our secret hideaway, we spent many afternoons browsing and daydreaming there, sometimes huddled at the corner near the fiction books, reading phrases to each other.

One day, my friend Iris accidentally knocked down a shelf of books and sent them all crashing to the floor. My friend Lecel and I immediately went towards her when all of a sudden a cute boy came out from behind the counter to help us. Where did he come from was the question that the three of us were thinking, as we stared at him and then knowingly at each other. I'm not exactly sure what happened after, I think he smiled and we turned mute and melted like a puddle of goo.

It turned out that cute boy was the owner's son who was a university student in Manila and was home for his semester break. We only saw him once after that but he sure was the topic of conversation for weeks on end. Compared to that university boy who read Hemingway, the boys in our high school seemed immature and uninteresting. I must admit, we just made up the Hemingway part but we did see him reading a novel behind the counter. Ha!

I thought about all this today after I learned that 3 of our local bookstores are closing, one with a sign that says 60% off, Everything Must Go. Call me old-fashioned but this somehow feels like the end of an era. I know that using devices such as the Kindle and other digital readers is more convenient and practical these days but at the same time, I can't help but wonder about the loss of other experiences that come from browsing, buying or borrowing books. I remember the very first time my mom bought me a book, how choosing one in the children section felt like the most important decision in my life, and how happy I was walking out of the bookstore with my precious book in my hands.

Or am I just being sentimental for thinking this way? What do you guys think? I'd love to hear your opinion. And thank you for reading, as always.

P.S. Photo above was taken with disposable camera #3.


  1. It's funny you write about this, because last night for the first time I somehow ended on a website that sells virtual books (don't know how you call it in english) and I was browsing telling myself would I like to have one of these books...and I don't really have an answer, one of the good things I saw on that site is that they also have free books (there was Jane Austen's Emma)and if this can bring some people into reading I think it's a good thing, but for me nothing will ever replace a good old beautiful book.
    But as you say, it is definitely the end of an era.
    That photo is amazing, love love the light !
    Beautiful post, Odessa !

  2. sofia, thanks! and you're right, if it makes people read, then its all good. and since everything is digital these days, e-books actually makes it readily accessible.

  3. you should do a Phd or if you were into OS, an Phd in OS on the occupation of reading books! you are's depressing that bookstores are not into electronic reading.