“What is the most recent book you read?” Someone asked me the other day and I found myself fumbling for words to answer them. Being a student of literature and a lover of books at the same time, it struck me hard that it had been ages since I had read a complete book. It made me probe into the reasons underlying this slow but evident shift from a habit that I had once cherished so much.
In course of time, I realized that the only written material many of us came across everyday and were unconsciously forced to read were the umpteen posts on social media websites and the few notes that we managed to gather and cram into our heads, a few hours before exams. Even the books prescribed in our syllabus, if found to be thicker than two or three centimeters, scared the living daylights out of us and would only lie in a corner, gathering dust. This aversion to reading is also fueled by the unexplained urge to check the phone every fifteen minutes or less.
The other day, I saw a WhatsApp status update by one of my close friends in which she had put up the picture of a book with the caption “#1 of 100”. Curiosity got the better of me and I asked her what it was all about. She told me the book had been lying around at home since a decade and all she ever did over the years was to change the position of the book from one rack to the other (given the increase in inflow of textbooks generously added to the shelves over the years), in the process of organizing her room, without so much as turning a page. It being New Year, she told me how she had made the resolution to read at least a hundred books over the next 365 days. I do not know how successful she will be at it (the doubt emerging from my complete faith in the brevity of new year resolutions!) but the idea very much struck me. I felt this urge to reconnect with my lost love for reading.
I also realized that it isn’t just me who felt this way. Many of us were once avid readers but now, either due to time constraints or myriad available options of things to do during leisure time, have had to give up reading. Another friend of mine told me the other day that whenever she put things in order in her room, she always put out one or the other book onto her study table with the intention of reading it but somehow such plans never materialize.
Most of us have this strange connect with books. Whenever I enter a bookstore, I simply cannot contain my excitement at seeing so many books- of different authors and genres. I am almost always engulfed with this desire to own every single one of those books,neatly arranged on racks. I feel the intrinsic desire to touch them, turn the pages, take in the smell and carry it off home to read in a cosy, comfortable corner of the house. The thought itself is so fulfilling.
Reading not only adds to our store of information but also gives us fresh perspectives on things. It give wings to our imagination and gives us the power to conjure up places and characters in our heads,which is an experience in itself.
This New Year, I too would like to resuscitate the habit of reading and as an initial step towards that goal, I have laid my hands on The Book Thief by Markus Zusac. Do let me know about your own experiences and also,any book suggestions are warmly welcome.
Have a great year ahead. 🙂