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An Undercover Bookworm: Meet Zay Arguelles!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at City London chapter.

Bookworms are subtle creatures. Quieter than musicians, less theatrical than actors, not as obvious as athletes, they can easily hide in our daily routine at university. They might be sitting next to you in the library, but they don’t look desperate as you do. They might be strolling in Northampton Square with their favourite book, or lying on the sofas in the canteen, all living in their own private literary world. And no, they don’t want you to take part!

HC City’s News Editor Zay Arguelles is – we could say – a professional bookworm. Resolute and opinionated, you can debate with her about anything, but don’t touch her books for any reason (she nearly fainted when I told her I don’t like Harry Potter…).

We managed to tie her down to a chair without any sort of reading surface available in order to find out what she enjoys the most about literature. Scroll down to find out! 

Name: Zay Arguelles

Major & Year of Study: BA Journalism, 3rd year

Country of origin: Philippines 

Relationship status: I have an undying love affair with Mr Darcy. And well, countless fictional boyfriends.

Zay, everyone knows you love reading. You even have a blog and a YouTube channel about literary reviews. What do you like the most about it? I can’t really define what I like about it when asked. It’s just something that grew up with me and has become a passion I can’t depart from. I guess I love it because it can serve any purpose, depending on what you need, at any certain time. It can just be a pleasure or a way to pass time. You can experience lives you haven’t actually lived through and that’s not something you can call boring at all! It’s as exciting a hobby as it can be. And it never fails to save a lot of people from public transport hell too! 

Compulsory question: favourite characters and favourite books? How much time or space do you have? We can be here forever… On top of my head, my favourites are: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen (It’s a classic. And I just love Elizabeth Bennet!), “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Looking for Alaska” by John Green (They are really different but both similarly great books. Alaska Young of “Looking for Alaska” is also one of my all-time favourite characters), “Behind The Beautiful Forevers”, a non-fiction by Katherine Boo (Not a light read but you have to power through it!). I love the Young Adult genre, fantasy and sci-fi… Even better when they’re mixed together! So everything from the big franchises such as “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” to the less popular but emerging books like “5th Wave” by Rick Yancey and Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” series.

Any book-lover spot in London to suggest to our collegiettes? Your own cozy bedroom. I’m not really an outdoor person, so I’m sorted by staying in with a cup of tea. But if you’re more adventurous than me, good spots for reading are the benches at South Bank by the river and St. James park during a lovely day (a reading picnic!). As for bookstores, Europe’s largest bookstore is the Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus. Straight down the same street and you’ll also find Hatchards, book paradise and oldest bookstore in London.

Christmas holidays are coming! What should we buy for a bookworm friend? You can always consult the best-selling sections at the bookstores and their ‘Our Favourites’. But the best idea is to ask the person you are giving it to. We are not usually shy about our books-to-buy list. However, some people just prefer to buy their own books; therefore you can never go wrong with a bookstore gift card. I’m sure they’ll go wild across the shelves.

We also know that you love Filipino food and are an expert chef. What should we definitely try? I just love food in general, to be honest. But if I would suggest anything, I’d say Adobo. It is pork or chicken simmered in soy sauce and vinegar and it’s the dish that foreigners in the Philippines usually like best. I also take pride in our barbecue marinades. For veggies, fresh spring rolls with the nutty brown sauce would be amazing to try. AND JUST TRY ALL THE DESSERTS. ALL OF IT. 

Thank you Zay, we’ll definitely do!

Irreverent journalist, creative head of Ciao Mamma!, polyglot writer and curious filmmaker. Originally from Italy, I made my way to the big city to follow my dream of becoming a reporter. I love art, politics, frogs and halloumi. Check out my website: www.ciaomamma.it Connect on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/martinaandretta/