How I Started Reading Again: A Born-Again Bibliophile’s Journey
December 08, 2017
I wouldn’t eat or drink while reading in the fear of tainting my revered collection. I took a long time before I started lending my books, for they contained a part of my soul and I never trusted anyone enough to share my soul with them.
Virtues of patience, trust, compassion, honour, bravery, and to stand up for what’s right were imbibed from universes created by Enid Blyton, Isaac Asimov, Robin Cook, Ruskin Bond, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie, and from classics like Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, To Kill a Mocking Bird, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I was enthralled by comics like Chacha Chaudhary, Tinkle, Chandamama, Phantom, Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, and Archie. I had my personal Google in the form of Childcraft, Young Scientist and Britannica encyclopaedias.
I started reading book summaries to quench my curiosity and skipped living the journey of reading it. With the advent of apps like Blinkist, my lessons were articulated in 10 pages, like a 5-minute education on the go.
As if it’s possible, I placed a cost on the time I spent learning from every word I read, robbing myself of the sheer joy of discovering a whole new perspective, hitherto unknown to me. This is an attitude I see even in the young kids of today.
I went back to Platform 9 3/4 and boarded the Hogwarts Express, all the way till I waved Albus Severus Potter goodbye. I let Professor Langdon take me back in time as he unravelled one crime scene after the other. Paulo Coelho breathed meaning into even the most mundane pursuits signifying it is the journey that brings us happiness, not the destination.
Another habit I forayed into was signing up for a book subscription box each month. I was enamoured by the idea of a monthly/quarterly subscription surprise box that you look forward to, bringing in a mix of genres you may have never experimented with, along with goodies that a bookworm indulges in like coffee powder and cookies, unique bookmarks, lapel pins, and posters. These boxes made me step into the world of adventure, an ever gripping mystery even before I had read the synopsis on the back cover! With certain social media sites like Quora, Facebook Groups, and Instagram, you have avenues to meet fellow book lovers and discuss, debate and at times co-create fan fiction that lives long past the length of a series.
Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books, to find words for what we already know. In Louis L’Amour’s words, “For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.”
Deepti Thomas is a solo traveler and a storyteller at heart. She wonders if there is a Latin version of 'I write therefore I think'. She is often found lost in the passages of either a crime thriller or in the world of Tibetan Energy Medicine with the eternal hope of writing a book she would understand one day.
She works as a freelancer with The Curious Reader and also runs a home bakery for ketogenic desserts. Follow her on Instagram.