I think with a lot of reminiscence about post it notes I would fill in as a kid. Every three months i would take a new post it and make a list of the books I was planning to read for the next three months. The list would include about ten books and it would hang on a small area on the side of a book shelf (I liked to call this area my notice board). Back then I couldn’t live without reading and I usually got every single book read.
Lets fast forward 12 years. Nowadays I don’t think I finish eight books in a year… I visit book stores frequently. They are my safe place. There’s nothing more I like than the feeling of picking a book and all thinking of the plots, characters and surroundings it has between its covers. Reading can take you into a whole different world. A well written book can stretch your imagination to picture the scenes of a book in your head that you feel like you’re present at place. Reading sure is a great from of entertainment, but it can do a lot more.
Books can comfort us. They can be a temporary escape from our problems and they can put into words what we feel in with astonishing precision. Our favourite characters may feel more like friends than fiction. They mold our ideals and we pick up what’s best in them. What would Harry/Hermione/Nancy Drew do, I would ask myself as a kid when I wanted to do something I knew would later on haunt my conscience. Books give us a chance to see from a different perspective. Trying to understand a different kind of character will requires us to twist and turn our own way of thinking. It will make us question our believes. Make us think in a way we haven’t thought before. If we let it, it will make us more open minded.
However, a book can also be a series of uninteresting events binded together to make a book. Who ever first said don’t judge a book by it’s covers knew what he was talking about. It is impossible to tell whether the beautiful (and pricy) hard cover you just bought will blow your mind or bore you to death.
As a kid I didn’t discriminate. Most of the time I would finish the book I’d started even if was a bit boring. Sadly, as an adult most of the books I start remain unfinished. I buy new books all the time but unless they manage to hook me right from the start they will lie untouched on night stand for months until I admit to myself that I won’t finish it (any time soon) and put it on my book shelf. This is how it happened…
When I was in primary school I had really good library close. I’d go there almost every day and borrowed anything that seemed interesting. I didn’t want to miss out on anything… After primary school I changed schools and there was no good library near by. I had always wanted a library of my own and I thought that that would be a good time to start. So my library visits became more and more rare and my visits to the book store became almost a weekly thing. When it was my money at stake I was (obviously) far more selective. I’d reach for classics and prize winners.
For me, high school was a time for reinventing myself. I wanted to become smarter, a deep thinker, someone well read. Trying to better yourself is a very good thing, but my goals were affecting the books I bought. I would start reading a book with the intention that by the final page I would be able to converse about “important issues” without mumbling, stuttering and awe everyone with my argumentative skills. I should’ve known that that’s not how reading works… Somewhere in that process it came to a point where the results of reading reading became more important than reading itself and I stopped enjoying as much as I used to.
Right now there are plenty of books I’d like to read (there always is). I can’t possibly go back my old pace of couple of books a week, but I made a New Year’s resolution of finishing one book every month. I’ve also decided to start using the library again (need to find my library card, though). And yes, I still can’t resist buying a book that has Pulitzer winning on the cover. I’m reading one right now and yes, it’s a bit boring.