image You are what you read (or not read)


I live in fear that I will one day be hauled out and shamed for masquerading as a Book Reader. You see, the crime of not reading is not as irredeemable as the crime of not reading and yet, parading oneself as if one did, despite the damning knowledge that one, in fact, did not.

My habit of purchasing books is coupled with the whorishness of displaying them in all their color-coded glory in my living room. This scandalous display is augmented by a few well-chosen hardcovers strategically placed right under my glass-top coffee table to reinforce my superior intellect, wit, and love for authors whose names nobody cannot pronounce. I knew I was out of control when I found myself toying with the idea of lining my other wall with, yes, more bookcases.

I am not one who whines about a problem without following it up with a solution. In desperation to make good my filthy habit, I always bring with me an arsenal of books every time I fly, only to end up shamelessly watching in-flight reruns of ‘Thelma and Louise’.

I may give binge reading a try next. According to Huffington Post, it means that you binge guilt-free on as many books as you wish, feeding yourself without regard for the crumbs you might leave on the table. You allow yourself to skim opening and closing paragraphs, completely skip stuff you don’t like, even put a book down mid-way and move onto another one. How liberating.

The novel concept of binge reading is not new. Michel Montaigne, who clearly had his share of struggles wading through many a dull book back in the 1500s, once said:

“I am not prepared to bash my brains for anything, not even for learning’s sake, however precious it may be. From books all I seek is to give myself pleasure by an honorable pastime … if I come across difficult passages in my reading, I never bite my nails over them: after making a charge of two, I let them be … if one book wearies me, I take up another …”

So I’m going to drop the guilt complex and accept that it’s OK to have an apartment where the number of partially-thumbed, half-forgotten books outnumber the completely-thumbed, fully-remembered ones. I will read whatever I want to read and bin them without flinching if and when I start to get bored. Then, I will gleefully and without remorse, pick up another.


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