As a voracious reader, I devoured pages. When I start a book, I almost always do not stop until I have finished it. I bring the book everywhere with me – on the dining table, in bed, in the bathroom, on the road, in meetings. I do not skip paragraphs nor do I take a peek at the last page or the last chapter. Absolutely cover to cover.
My biggest book-buying spree was for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I got books one to eleven and the prequel in two successive days. My favourite bookstore had a sale and some of these titles came with a 60% discount sticker. How could anyone resist? Since then, the next two books have been released and I gave read them. Waiting for the last two is agony. When the last instalment is released, in paperback version, I would again start with the prequel and go through the entire sixteen books with no other books in between. I want to relish the story from start to end.
Novels, tests, do-it-yourself, school textbooks, and magazines are what populate my shelves. I often shy away from religious, self-help, history, philosophy, and psychology books because I prefer reading these in small amounts. Biographies do not interest me that much too. I bought The Art of War, The Purpose Driven Life, and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul in the hopes of drumming enough interest in reading these. It didn’t.
A gift of Leo Buscaglia’s Living, Loving and Learning interested me enough to buy the rest of his titles. Those I have read several times with the occasional peeks for those times I felt the need to see his words again.
Alvin Toffler is another author I would like to see on my shelves. I have read his three titles and I would like to reread them but I haven’t caught them with a sale sticker yet.
With the proliferation of free ebooks on the net, I have downloaded so many titles but I haven’t had the chance to read them all. I felt I turned into a hoarder at one point – download and save. One of these days, I really have to find the time to sort them all out, file accordingly, and read.
But a real book is what does it for me. Ebooks do not give me the entire sensorial experience I get from real books. I like turning pages. I like seeing the battered cover and pages. I love the smell of both new and old books. That is probably why I haven’t really read the ebooks I have on file.
Kapampangan poetry books, a Kapampangan linguistic book, Carlos Castaneda. These are what I have on my bedside table along with The Real Frank Zappa, Brains and Realities, Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and two English poetry collections on ebooks on my android.
The linguistic book is what taught me how not to read from cover to cover. It defeated my reading style. So I give it a read nowadays a page at a time whenever I feel the urge for learning something more on Kapampangan words.
So I moved on to the Kapampangan poetry books. I love poetry but I usually read a poem at a time. But I felt that since I have lately become used to reading several of these in one go on my facebook groups, I thought I could do my cover-to-cover thing. Again, it didn’t work. In the trying, my belief firmed that a poem has to be fully savoured and not hurried through.
To Castaneda I went. (Actually, I should finish it as soon as possible because my copies are only on loan. The owner surely would want to have it back.) Although it is classified under philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry, it is presented in a story-like fashion – my kind of book. But then again, I found myself stopping after a few pages or a chapter. Reading a part makes me want to stop reading further until such time I have recorded my reactions, questions, and reflections on that particular part. I tried bookmarking certain paragraphs and pages wherein I felt the need to say my piece and go back to those when I have the time. The book is now much thicker with Stickons and I do not have the luxury of time for writing down my reflections.
During the times I do not have any of these books with me; I read the ebooks on my android. But I haven’t finished anything yet. I like the biography but I do not enjoy reading a book on this gadget.
With all these starts and stops, I feel like I do not know how to read a book anymore. I felt that it would do me a world of good if I would replace, just for a time, these books with my usual books. So I took down Anne Rice’s Vampire Armand and I did not let it leave my hands for several days. It failed to catch my interest as before. I replaced it with John Grisham’s A Painted House. Then, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. Then, Richard North Patterson’s In the Eyes of a Child. Then, Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta. Then, Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis. Then, Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight. Then, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Nothing caught and held my attention as before. My mind wanders back to those books I haven’t finished.
Puzzling out the whys and hows of this impasse is something I do not want to delve into further at this point. I would just give the time it would require for this into reading the books themselves. Maybe then the answer to this conundrum would present itself clearly and easily after I manage to finish one or two of those books.