Yesterday afternoon, a friend who is an avid reader and I were invited to a friend’s boutique for lunch and our host was running a little late. Seeing that there was a book fair next to our friend's shop, we dropped by the fair and within five minutes, we each had bagged several novels that we felt we would enjoy reading.
I cannot stop buying books even though I have piles unread at home. Only a bibliophile will understand the allure of buying books and reading them sometime. There are loads of books that I have bought over the years some of which I have already read, some I had started reading and planned to return to reading them . I have a habit of reading a few books at the same time as I cannot wait to devour each and everyone of the books I have bought. I still struggle with tons of books that I have been meaning to read.
Wherever I travel to, I like visiting the local book store simply to browse around even if the shop carries books in a language that I cannot read or comprehend.
The Polysyllabic Spree is a short collection of articles written by Nick Hornby for the Believer magazine over a period of 14 months, each of which begins with a list of books Hornby bought and another list of books read during that particular month. Nick Hornby spent a little over a year analyzing his reading habits - what he bought, what he started and couldn't finish, what he loved - and each month printed an article in the Believer magazine with his musings.
Nick Hornby aptly sums up the reading phenomena as he wrote,
“ I’m beginning to see that our appetite for books is the same as our appetite for food, that our brain tells us when we need the literary equivalent of salads, or chocolate, or meat and potatoes!!’
And he wrote, “I suddenly had a little epiphany: all the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal ... But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.”
Considering this is the time when technology is evolving faster than ever, still for me nothing beats the pleasure of reading. But then I am not sure if I feel the same way about compulsory reading. I read more fictions than non-fictions. Charles McGrath wrote about his bookish life in the New York Times a Sunday Review essay entitled Caution: Reading can be hazardous* to which Steven G Friedman replied in his letter to the Editor in the Sunday review entitled Fiction as a Religion**:
“Put another way, fiction is a religion in that it educates, comforts, instructs, soothes, heals and binds us together……” Spot on.