June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am surprised at how my sieve of a memory remembers certain books vividly, books I read as a teenager, books I read when falling in and out of love, books I read determined to be better, wiser, books I read to impress (Thus Spake Zarathustra, my goodness, the bookmark is still in it, the book that will probably take me 15 years to complete).

And then there are those the traces of which have been erased by time, by the lack of devotion to power through the hard to grasp and digest. Now, after all these years of reading in English, I realize that this is exactly what has kept them in my head and heart – the fact that they were often beyond comprehension, beyond the simple subjects and objects surrounding my mere self at that point in time. At different periods of my life it could have been love and devotion, at others – friendship, power, loyalty, sacrifice, kindness. All these lessons to fit in one head. So much of the universe to carry around with me, a burden so easy, too.

I was not a naturally born book-worm, I grew into becoming one after experiencing my first loss. I remember clearly sitting on my mother’s bed in a way-too-well ventilated room (no double glazing in those days) cradling the tiny book in my hands. It was a book on the works of Aristotle, perhaps the Metaphysics? The little book was the size of a pocket notebook, one that could easily fit in the back pocket of one’s jeans, yet it felt heavy as a conscience in my 17 year old hands. The unknown, the unheard spreading across tiny little pages. Oh how cliché that sounds now but it was the unheard, it was all new to me but new in a way that was not terrifying. It was easy to accept it. And so my first step was made.

I then picked up any random book I could lay my eyes on which was not hard, the flat was covered in books, both my parents are avid readers, so is my sister. And it just got better and better since.

You read to find people like yourself, someone once said. I read to grow primarily; be it the basic ‘oh I learned this new word today’ or ‘yes, I feel it now and oh how ignorant I was a year ago when I first read it.’ and so it becomes you and you become it.

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