Books! Who doesn’t love them……right ? Yeah!
I was a voracious reader growing up. Come summer holidays and I couldn’t wait to hit the local library – so many books to read ! I remember starting with the “Famous Five” series by Enid Blyton. The secret sleuth in me also took very well to Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys (Why didn’t anybody notice how ridiculous this title sounds….including me 😐 ) & the occasional Agatha Christie. OK that was a lie. I tried a couple of times but for the life of me couldn’t finish an Agatha Christie novel – It was a bit slow paced and the whole “parlor-room” variety of mystery is definitely not my cup of tea !
Eventually, the Sidney Sheldons (I remember vividly that after reading The Stars Shine Down my sister & I hoped that one day we would open our own chain of boutique hotels. Silly us); Jeffrey Archers; Erich Segals came calling & then I found Michael Crichton. What a delight it has been reading his books – fast paced narrative, sci-fi plots, packed with action adventure. Not all his books are gems though. Sphere anyone ? Aah that was a snooze fest. And come to think of it I wonder how the cynic in me never scoffed at the possibility of dinosaurs walking the earth…again? At that point in time it seemed entirely plausible, you know. Young minds still fresh & one open to all ideas – logical or not. I love me a good sc-fi, but my mind is yet to wrap around the idea of Star Wars. Or Star Trek. Zzzzzzzz.
In recent times, I have tried & tested a whole lot of genres & a whole lot of authors. It helps when people around you read & in due course you end up swapping books with them. And isn’t that great? I would have never discovered the simplicity of Khalid Hosseini’s writing if my cousin hadn’t raved about his “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, I wouldn’t have chanced upon David Roberts’ “Shantaram” if my sister hadn’t mentioned how close it’s setting hit home aka Mumbai (and the constant reference of Cafe Leopold only grew our curiosity), I wouldn’t have read Sidney Sheldon’s “If Tomorrow Comes” (which was my first SS novel) if I hadn’t come across it in a big parcel of old books that was passed on to us, I wouldn’t have read the wonderful collection of hilarious short stories in P.G.Wodehouse’s “Mr. Mulliner” if I hadn’t taken it on loan from my neighbor’s precious book collection. And the best part of borrowing books as against buying them is sniffing those old, yellowed papers. I love taking a whiff as soon as I open a book – it takes you back in time! You will never get the same joy from an iPad or an ebook reader, you know. I use a B&N Nook (love the convenience of carrying a thousand books in a single device), but it will probably never replace the authenticity & warmth that I feel with a book. Sometimes brand new, sometimes old. Filled with pages. Dog-eared pages (yes I am one of those who can’t figure out the use of a bookmark). With some random notes written (always the case when you borrow from a library. I know this must probably annoy a lot of you but I like reading these too. I try to imagine the person writing it – it tends to says a lot about them. Once a book had a whole lot of concentric circles drawn all over it – I assumed it must be the handiwork of a bored child. A random phone number scripted on top of a page – whose is it ?). Books handed over as gifts with lil notes & personal messages inscribed by their loved ones – it’s such a wonderful gift, books.
That I am supportive of borrowing doesn’t necessarily mean that I am not opposed to the idea of buying books. How else will you build your own library ? It’s your treasured collection of personal picks. And one that you can reach out to at any point in time – especially if you are like me & re-read your favorite book time and again. One such book for me is Belva Plain’s “Evergreen”. I stumbled upon this book as a teenager and stayed up many a nights to complete it. The characters are some that you end up caring for deeply & stay with you for a long time. I remember, during our early courtship days (does anyone even call it that anymore?) I had mentioned, in passing conversation, to my fiancee (now husband !) about my fondness for this book & how the paperback copy I had was tearing away to pieces – He went on a secret mission to find the new edition & had it shipped from overseas just in time for my birthday. I was in tears, and rightly so. And you would be correct to assume that it was at that moment that I lost a piece of my heart to him. You can go ahead and do your “Awwws” & “Ooohs” now 😉
I would end this post now as I think nothing more can be said of the matter. However, I would love to hear what your views are. And especially, if you have any book recommendations for me? Let me love, what you have come to love! 😀