The pleasure of owning a book and returning to it at will, any day and anywhere, had dawned on me the year I turned thirteen. Prior to that libraries and my friends’ bookshelves were generously raided every month; and I had owned just a few Enid Blyton books, Buri Ai’r Hadhu and a collection of around four hundred comics. I panicked at the realization of ‘so many books, such little time‘ but didn’t know where to begin in my pursuit of reading good books and how to gradate my choices. I started with R.K.Narayan’s and Ruskin Bond’s simple prose and gradually moved on from there.
I faltered at times when I ended up buying the whole set of books by authors who were the ‘flavor of the season’ (e.g: Paulo Coelho, whose ‘Like A Flowing River’ was the only book I liked) and wasted precious hours forcing myself to read beyond page ten. I am not a literary snob and hoard popular fiction by the likes of Robin Cook, Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and John Grisham and even few books of the “Chicken Soup” series!
But my small library have grown with me, imbibing new insights, knowledge and preferences; each year better than the one left behind. My books are remnants of a journey of growing up, of learning, of experimenting, of making mistakes, of knowing, of guilty pleasures, of indulgence, of knowing, of quiet epiphanies.
I gave away about thirty of my favorite books willingly as gifts, or unwillingly at moments when I was yet to learn to say ‘No‘; and I highly regret it.
I read voraciously in my attempt to make up for the lost years. I budget all year round for the winter book fair and nearly all the bookshop owners in my town recognize me. I own nearly five hundred books now. Because of the convenience of carrying hundreds of books and reading them on my phone, I have assembled a library of nearly two hundred e-books that include vintage folk tales, science fiction, biographies and other non-fiction and poems. I will never outgrow the charm of holding a new book in my hands and flipping its pages and turning to dog-eared bookmarks, but the story and the content of the book is my most important consideration whether it is displayed on an e-reader or inked on paper.
Here is (erratically ) updated link to my goodreads profile: