Do you ever feel that reading becomes a chore sometimes? It’s weird that I haven’t felt that way before, but now that I’ve joined some challenges, I feel that I actually need to read something instead of just reading any book I want. The challenges are something I enjoy. They’re fun, and the satisfaction of crossing out a book from a list feels great, but I am starting to feel a little ‘limited’. Maybe I’ve always been a moody reader and dive into a book I feel like reading instead of consulting a TBR list. Perhaps next year I’ll join fewer challenges because I sort of feel overwhelmed with all the books I need to read. I’m taking a cue from Sophie (Paper Breathers) to scrap my reading schedule because I do read for pleasure, and if I find that I am forcing myself to read a book, I need to look at myself, ask why, and probably stop. Also, I used to not abandon a book once it starts to drag. I try to finish the book even if it’s boring me to tears. Now though, I feel that I have the right to stop reading when it’s not working out. For me, reading is for the absolute pleasure of diving into a different world. And yes, when the reading experience is pleasurable and I feel that I have a great book in my hands, I learn. Boy, do I learn.
There are times when I can devour a book in almost one sitting, but there are also times when I take my time not because I’m bored with a book, but because I’m enjoying it so much I like to spend as much time with it as possible. Usually, these books stay with me for a very long time even if the last page has been turned.
I started reading Bel Canto on March 21. It usually takes me two to three days to finish a 300-page book, that is, if I don’t have anything else to do. The reason why I’m trying to linger within the book’s pages is because I’m so immersed in the story I honestly don’t want it to end just yet. Needless to say, I am captivated by Bel Canto. It’s a whole new experience. I have never appreciated opera before and yet here I am trying to google songs or music mentioned in the book just because I read that each character is being transformed by the beauty of music, and I want to experience that too. Like the hostages, I seek to hear Roxanne’s songs. I have been striving to read Bel Canto only when I’m alone because I want to spend my reading time absorbing everything without any distraction. When I put the book down to answer to reality, the images linger in my mind like a stubborn stain that just won’t come off. From General Benjamin’s shingles, to the food served before everything went terribly wrong, and even the Spanish words mentioned in the book – they float around my head wherever I go. I even ask myself at times, how can captivity and being a hostage be so pleasant?
Do you buy books from second-hand bookstores? I do.
There’s always something to find in them, well, at least for me. I’ve seen signatures, underlined sentences, highlights, and even the occasional “Great book!” scribbled on one of the pages. In one of the books I bought, there was a boarding pass tuck between the pages. I’m guessing it was used as a bookmark. Unless the owner has left a clue for the next owner (me)? Hmmm…
My problem with second-hand bookstores is that I tend to spend too much time in them. I can stay there for an hour (or more) just to find books. Okay, so it’s not really a big problem because I do like being there. I love looking at the books, especially the tattered and worn-out ones. I’ve always believed the creases on the spine are always a good indication that someone enjoyed reading it.
People dispose of books for many reasons. Some may not like hoarding the books they buy because it takes up too much space inside their homes, some may not like it and thought of giving it away instead of throwing it away… But I’d like to think that these books are in second-hand bookstores because a previous reader wants to share the book with anyone who can find it. I think it’s wonderful when you get to hold one of those books that have been held and owned by another person. It’s like passing along a message or a book recommendation.
Do you purchase books from secondhand bookstores, or do you prefer new books?
The first book that I read this month was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I haven’t written my review yet but I have to tell you that it has made its way to my favorite books of all time. It’s a wonderful, uplifting story about friendship across the miles and the love of books and reading.
For today’s Reading Quote Sundays, I’ve picked up one of the many quotes I liked from the book. I think it’s wonderful when books ‘find’ you instead of you discovering them. It’s equally wonderful when books find you at the right time too. In my review of ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running‘ by Haruki Murakami, I mentioned how this book popped up from nowhere when I was looking for running books. It’s a ‘running’ book, of course, but it was more than that. It was a memoir of an author I haven’t heard about until then. It was an unexpected discovery or book-finding-a-reader scenario that I will always treasure. Because of that book I discovered other books by the author. To date, I’ve read five books from him and although I didn’t love all of them, I enjoyed reading them a lot. What I always appreciate in his books are the nuggets of wisdom that make their way into my thoughts. Sometimes they’re revelations, some are thoughts mirroring my own views about life, love and living.
Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or any book by Haruki Murakami?
Did you ever feel that a book you read ‘found’ you instead of you having to look for it? What book was it?
There are two books that I remember reading more than once:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
In my second Reading Quote Sundays, I wrote how I started reading. I didn’t develop a habit of reading when I was younger so I guess I can say that I missed out a lot when it came to reading books. Back in college, I completely forgot about it, reading only (for pleasure) one to three books a year, focusing more on magazines and my textbooks. When I graduated I have completely abandoned reading any book. When I look back at those times, it makes me a little sad.
I rediscovered my love for reading last year and I hope I won’t turn my back on books again. In 2011, I discovered Goodreads and it somehow sparked that interest again. However, I wasn’t picky with what I read. Most of the books I read were owned by my sister even if I had my own collection of books. There wasn’t really a book that could bring back that old desire to read a lot. In 2012, I only read 8 books. That year though was special. I discovered Banana Yoshimoto’s The Lake. To date, I’ve read it three times already. Why? Because I loved it. A lot.
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time. I have two copies in my bookshelf, ready to be read again. I think I’ve read it three times now. The character of Jane Eyre appealed to me like no other. Here’s a woman who is strong and intelligent. I admired her and empathized with her, I delighted in reading her thoughts and I especially loved that love story.
What are the books that you have read more than once? What are your reasons for reading it again?