Sunday, February 19, 2012
Book reading habit is pretty addictive. Once you start reading, it becomes difficult to disengage from the book and pay attention to what happens in the real world around you. For me, this habit (bad?) goes back to decades.
In our house, my older sister was an avid reader,of what she could manage to obtain. Luckily we studied in a good school, with a good library. But the main reading started off with magazines , like Vikatan, Kalki, Kumudam, kalaimagal, sudesamittiran, ( big pages),Pesumpadam ( not literary enough) , and those wonderful serials in them. I used to be a go between for her book friends and sneak into those magazines once in a while. After we were reasonably older, we all used to read books, with a stiff competition of who is going to read first. While eating lunch/dinner, we used to sit on the floor and keep the book on the lap. Mom used to get mad with a sharp" keep Saraswathi away from Anaapurni". When I used to visit friends’ houses, I used to be the one to look for books and beg them to lend me some!
College was heaven. I had a good friend who was proficient in English and only English. She introduced me to Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I was completely bowled over, and there it started. I tried to read as many books as possible from the library, with the help of my friend , who would decide what I should read next. She knew I was handicapped with the language and was genuinely interested that I should read right books.
There was no stopping since then. I have read in buses, trains, planes, bus stops, rly. Stations and hospitals, office , sea shores, hotel lobbies, airports, and while cooking too if the books was too good. Once I start, I used to read on into the night and go for work the next day bleary eyed. If the book was touching I would cry my heart out too. Even now, though, tears flow a little slowly .
This followed me after marriage too, and I used to find some ways of sneaking in a book , after every one finished their dinner. This was irksome to dear hubby who though the idea of reading and eating was strange. " Cockroach daale tho bhi kha lethi" was his usual quote. Considering that he was the one who used to buy me books by the dozen and addict me to English fiction!When babies came, I used to put them to sleep with me reading a book, and comforting them on my lap.
A discovery that warmed my heart in due course , was, that my son, turned to be like me! He loves books, and is very proud and possessive of his collection. I hate to admit it, but he introduced me to many authors, whom I have not heard of, most of them wonderful ones. (Aha, proud mom). And he also has the habit of reading at the dining table! ( In the genes).
Another habit of mine which irked my family was,my skipping pages. I can’t read big pages after pages of descriptive stuff. I am an impatient reader, and I need to know what the author is hinting at. That was a silly of me; I missed many classics due to this, and later sat through and read them. (Exception - War and Peace). I don't really feel that it diminishes my interest in the book. I have this urge to read the plot and figure it out soon, and in case of mysteries/thrillers, I had to know the ending. I will go through entire books again.P.D.James is the only exception.
My family used to dread asking me about the plot, lest I spoil their enjoyment, by spilling out the details. I can't bear suspense. Same is the case with movies too. In the case of suspense movies, I need to read the plot first and find out almost everything, and then see the movie. I used to upset my husband, by blurting out the ending.
Meanwhile, I found this piece where skipping is justified! http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/jan/05/skipping-parts-of-books-robert-mccrum
More on books later.