Guilty as charged!

I’m one of those people who buy book after book after book. I never read them. Never finish the whole book. I visit the bookstore. Online. Offline. Amazon, Crossword. Now into Flipkart. I read the blurb at the back of the book and convince myself–I must have this! I need to know how to do organic gardening! What do you mean the World is Flat? Why are men from Mars? I want to write like Paul Theroux!

So I read the first few chapters, cuddled with a book in bed. Fall asleep. Wake up, forget about my latest chapter and move on to other things. Things with screens. I tend to like the fast read these days. Twitter. Facebook, just anything quick. Brain trash. Then I go back to the same book a few months later, try to catch up from the dog-eared page but no dice. Nothing makes sense to me. Tune out. Once again I go to the bookstore, read the blurbs at the back of books, and the cycle starts again. Read, sleep, abandon. Leave book on top of bedside table, dust-covered. Petrified. Forgotten. Because Facebook status updates and X-Factor are just so much more compelling.

What happened to me?

I used to fall in love with Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s bloody rivers in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. My Unbearable Lightness of Being copy was read five times and annotated. The Stranger‘s image of a French man mercilessly killing an Arab on the beach is seared in my memory along with The Cure song inspired by the same title.

And I actually also used to be able to write! Short stories, poems, plays. Essays. I used to be able to express myself in lyrical language. I used to have an attention span that allowed me to focus, write, read, rewrite. Rewrite rewrite rewrite with my editing knife until the wee hours of the morning when the even the dogs would snore asleep in my parents’ bungalow.

What happened to me?

So here’s the deal. I have allowed myself to buy one last book from FlipkartHTML, XHTML & CSS For Dummies. Because, yes, I have convinced myself that if I want to pursue blogging, then I need to at the very least know HTML. But HTML for Dummies is the last book I will purchase for now!

I will tear my eyes away from the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2011, even if yes, my reading is way way way outdated. I will ignore Flipkarts‘ bestsellers. Even if Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is luring me. Calling me. I need this book to be successful!

Instead, I will remember the dusty The World is Flat on my bedside table and persevere through the chapter on Ten Flatteners. I will close my eyes and ride along on Paul Theroux’s Great Railway Bazaar. And I will climb the allegedly fictitious crags of Mortenson’s mountains.

But why do this? Why carve time to embark on literary mindscapes when I have better things to do?

Because I want to think again. Imagine again beyond the dry documents of international education! I want to get sucked into the bloody rivers of Latin America with characters who don pig tails. I want to remember, experience, live, breathe! good literature once more.

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