I am not an avid reader. There are times when I don’t even touch a book, there are times when I start reading a book and then leave it unattended for weeks, and then there are times when I cannot put down a book that I am reading and finish it off in a day or two. I have been asked often why I like to read, which I am sure a lot of book readers are asked as well. Is it the detailed description that movies cannot ever explain (book lovers will always begrudge the movies). Or is it something else?
I just read a heart wrenching book and I just had to talk about it, the book, the experience of reading, not this book but reading in general. Couldn’t have been a better time to talk about why I love to read so much.
I do not know how to appreciate movies, mostly the direction, the dialogues. It is just the story for me, which I may or may not relate to. The dialogues are mere lines spoken matter of factly. If they are complicated, deep, meaningful lines, it is most likely that I will not be quick enough to grasp that hidden meaning behind that line. So I will end up liking a movie if I resonate with the story and the characters (or if it is a thriller, I am sold). But books ! Ah, what can I say? You are at leisure to read, re-read a certain line. There is nothing there, no actress giving you the visual aid of expressions, no scenic beauty to get lost in. It’s just you and your imagination. You have to get into the details of imagining your character, their actions, demeanors, expressions. You are at a free will, yet the burden of how this experience will turn out lies on your shoulders. Going too fast may ruin it, so might going too slow. The perfect pace matters. Patience matters.
There are times when an author may write a book with such honesty that you just believe them. The characters are too good to be true, yet you believe them. You rejoice in their happiness, shed tears for their sufferings, you laugh and weep with them. Your heart longs to be with someone who does not exist. All the emotions that you have buried deep within yourself come right out. You live a life in those moments that is not yours and you get to see so much of this world through someone else’s eyes.
I used to read for the sake of reading at some point of time. Hurrying through the pages, skipping lines. More concerned about reaching the end rather than enjoying the journey and the experience (I blame you Agatha Christie for doing this to me with all the action happening in the last chapter). But then again, better late than never. I loved reading because it was a good past time and the stories were damn good! I think now I read because I love to get lost in a different world for a few days, living a different life. Next time I’ll learn how to appreciate movies and non-fiction better!