To All [Proud] Avid Book Readers

I took pride in reading when I was toddler young. At age 4, I remember my mother holding a book in my face as I grappled to make words out of the sounds I had learned in Kindergarten.

S-u-r-e (Soo-reh) came out as my innocent pronunciation. Then my mother, bless her soul, sternly corrected me.

“That’s shoo-a”, her accent getting in the way. (Karma liveth!😂)

By the time I was in second grade, I was in the blackbelt grammar leagues, relative to my agemates. “Sewerage”, “Diarrhoea” were words I would spell boastfully, unsolicited at that, to my friends.

The library of books at home, coupled with my personality (INFP) and garnished with book-loving friends set me on the book path; and I have never looked back.

As I reflect on my journey in this path, I remember days I would spend half my salary buying books- just walk into a bookshop and swipe my card into half. It soon became my reward system. I meet a goal, I gift myself with a book.

This trajectory has led me to my current read “Guns, Germs & Steel” by Jared Diamond. This book is intense in addressing the intricate subject of biogeography yet skillfully broken down for a persistent layman reader to grasp the science and archaeology within its covers.

I mention this book because it is the thrust behind my jotting down this long note. This read needs time and a lot of reader interactive attention to follow the thread of thought. The concentration it demands compares with the attention I give my car when I’m driving on rough terrain.

And just like the rough terrain, I want to move past it, check it off as one book I have read. The fallacy of quantity over quality. However, I get a grip of myself. Think about it. The author took time with assembling his thoughts- some books take years to conceptualize and produce- yet I want to get done with it in a month? Will I quite have grasped the true spirit behind the words, their arrangement, the flow of thought?

As I conclude, it is not about how fast one can read books. So the “I read X number of books in a month” readers, will no longer inspire or get me to increase my word consumption in the rush of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

It is about the content, how the writer gets to shift your perspective. And if that is not achieved, your appreciation of his/her effort at it. It is about the reader being able to fine comb the writer’s logic- appreciating the theory, understanding where it falters, and assumptions, if any, on which it rests. It is about being actively informed; a ponderous interaction. It’s about viewing the book as a mirror to a specific element in the world, and contrasting your truths to its claims. It is about a deep penetration, a relationship. It can no longer be a behind the bar quickie to relieve an itch. That is tantamount to artistic sacrilege.

To all the proud, avid readers.

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