One of my earliest childhood memories, is of picking up my stack of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales and asking my mother to read them to me.
As I graduated to reading them on my own, I was on a journey of discovering a deep love for reading.
Despite money being limited, I was never denied a new book. The only complaint my mother would have was that I should at least savour it for a few days and not race through it over a few hours. The matter remains a bone of contention between us even today.
Until a few years ago, my love for reading thrived. However, when responsibilities grew and work hours became increasingly erratic, books were the first to be sacrificed from my life.
Then, in 2015 I resumed my reading habit, which had unknowingly walked itself into storage for nearly a decade.
Ever since, I seem to have developed an OCD of the reading variety.
Last year I went crazy and read 105 books (plus a few additional reads of bonus short stories to support the main novels). Upon analysing statistics, I found I had averaged over ten books a month, going as far as even 20+ books for a few months. (This was mostly during the Summer though, when Delhi becomes too hot to venture out.)
So, this year, I decided to balance it out.
2016 started with a plan. (I don’t like to use the word ‘Resolution’ because I feel that is setting one up for failure.) The plan was to set aside an hour or two every day, specifically for reading. As it turns out, reading a few chapters before sleeping does wonders for me.
I also realised I have, what some might call, an addiction. Now, unless I read 50-100 pages a day and/or night – I can’t seem to fall asleep.
To do the maths – A minimum of 50-100 pages a day takes you through an average of two books a week, eight to nine books a month, which totals to approx. 100 books a year. To keep up with such a pace, a reader needs a seriously active Book TBR (List of books ‘To Be Read’).
Those who read are well aware of the struggle to find worthy book recommendations. Visiting the local book store, checking Amazon Reviews, following the New York Times Bestseller Lists, Tracking Nielsen Ratings, and conversations with friends/fellow readers are just some of the ways to find good books. Like everyone else, I trust these too.
If you happen to follow any Publishers/Bookstores on Facebook or Twitter, as I do, you will notice they frequently list book recommendations, most often categorised by season. For e.g. Best Summer Reads, Beach Book Recommendations, Autumn reading list, Holiday/Gift Book Ideas.
To be honest, none of these curated lists work for me. Instead, I tend to follow conversations about books that are making news. Reader comments on social media, Posts from credible book reviewers, New book release announcements from my favourite authors and book endorsements by other authors are just some of them.
Keeping track of all these books is another struggle in itself. Every time I discover a new book that I want to read, I have to take a screenshot for my TBR, lest I forgot.
Needless to say, my TBR currently stands in the high three figures and is growing even as I write this. Obviously, I can’t get through them all in this lifetime. As Frank Zappa rightly said – So many books, so little time.
Yet, it is the sheer joy of discovering a new book and losing myself in its pages that keeps me going. There is still hope that I will manage to get at least somewhere on my ever growing TBR. To give you an idea, here is a sneak peek so you know what I am talking about.
Someone even challenged me to stop reading for twenty days this December (after much negotiation from my end), since I had already read more than 100 books this year. I accepted, just to prove I could do it. But it has been a difficult fortnight since.
I now find myself lying in bed at the end of the day, craving a book like a dieter eyeing a piece of chocolate cake at the end of a meal.
Thankfully, this ‘Abstain from Reading’ Challenge is almost up and I am looking forward to read an exciting new book by a debut author, before the year closes.
Here’s hoping the reader in you is enjoying a wonderful year of books and wishing you a Bookish 2017.