Musings of a bookaholic

“Reading is boring.”

Excuse me, but I can’t hear you properly over the sound of my incredulity.

Yes, I do understand that not everyone shares the same interests, but please also allow me to disagree with you when you say that reading is boring. (My bookaholic heart dies a little every time I hear that statement.)

Growing up as an only child meant I had to be creative in finding ways to amuse myself. While there was no shortage of playmates (my cousins were my neighbors), the introvert in me apparently manifested early on and steered me towards the bookshelves. I spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book – Sweet Valley, The Babysitter’s Club, Secret Garden, Black Beauty, Archie Comics, and my all-time favorite, the Nancy Drew series. I remember being in awe of the pretty and intelligent sleuth, and harboring a small crush on Ned Nickerson, the seemingly perfect all-American boy. Nancy was my first fictional hero – she could do no wrong in my eyes. Of course, I learned to be more critical of the series and characters as I grew older (yes, I now consider Nancy a Mary Sue), but I still enjoy reading them up to this day.

After Nancy Drew, I can’t remember any book that had the same impact on me. Sure, the required readings in English class like The Little Prince, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher In The Rye, Lord of the Flies have touched me and still linger in my mind years later, having read what I considered then as heavy materials at such an impressionable stage, but nothing that really made me crave for more. Outside of class, I lacked the desire to consciously search for books to read… until Harry Potter came into my life. When I finished reading the last word of the last chapter of The Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone, there was no turning back. I could not return to my ordinary life when millions of pages worth of adventures were out there waiting to be read.

The series rekindled my love for reading – and I mean reading in the pure, recreational sense of the word. It is also the main reason why I’m such an anglophile and flailing fangirl right now, but that’s another story altogether. College came and I met fellow book-lovers who introduced me to so many other wonderful reads. I immersed myself in lives and worlds completely different from my own through One Hundred Years of Solitude, Memoirs of a Geisha, Bel Canto, The Alchemist, Tales of the Otori Trilogy (Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass For His Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon), The Hobbit, The Hunger Games trilogy, Looking For Alaska, The Book Thief (one of my favorite books of all time), Agatha Christie books, Good Omens, Norwegian Wood, The Millenium series (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), I Am The Messenger, The Kingkiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear). There are about two piles of books in front of me still waiting to be read – books by George Orwell, Libba Bray, Haruki Murakami, Louisa May Alcott, Chuck Palahniuk, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Green, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These lists are by no means exhaustive. I haven’t even included the non-fiction books which, if I have the time and muse, will be a different post. Besides, I’m too lazy to stand up right now and have a proper look through my bookshelf. Anyway, my point is, I still have so much to cover, and I have no intention of stopping what others consider a tedious and lackluster activity while dealing with real life. Why?

Because through books, I’ve been to so many kingdoms, met the tiniest to the most gargantuan of creatures, invested myself in the lives of the poor, of kings and assassins, of fairies and witches and wizards, cried my eyes out, felt outraged, had my heart taken out of my chest, beaten to a pulp, only to be patched together by the sweetest and most healing of words. I’ve lived a hundred years, experienced anguish and ecstasy and everything in between, been allowed to glimpse my own experiences in another light while in the comfort of my own bed. I have learned much about myself in reading about others.

So yes, please allow me to disagree with that statement. Reading has afforded me extraordinary journeys of self-discovery in my otherwise ordinary life. Not every worthwhile experience happens outside, in the thick of things – sometimes it happens within, and that doesn’t make it any less meaningful or authentic. To quote one of the wisest fictional characters I know, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

*Quote taken from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.


Can I?

Maintain this blog, I mean. I think this is my 4th one, not counting my tumblr bog which is more of a squeeing place for me than anything. I occasionally post drabbles and random one-shots there, but otherwise it’s filled with posts (mostly images) of the fandoms that I belong to. I started blogging on and off in 2003. Yes, I have a history of not being able to maintain a blog for longer than 3 months, but the fact still remains that for one reason or another, I keep returning to the idea of having a blog.

Like one of my friends, I don’t really consider myself a writer. But I do like the act of writing, and the internet has given me (and millions of others) a way to let my thoughts out in the open without having to speak in front of a crowd. I know that journaling has been able to do that since time immemorial, but there’s something quite different about knowing that someone other than yourself can read what you’ve written. Could it have something to do with ego? Maybe.

There is also that possibility that maybe – just maybe – someone out there can actually relate to what I’m going through, that someone out there might be thinking “I understand the feels, man” as they read through my ramblings, that I am not alone in what I’m feeling and thinking. There is something very comforting in those thoughts, especially when times are tough and you think that no one in your own little circle understands how you feel. Maybe that’s why blogging keeps drawing me in.

There’s one problem, though – my muse is fickle at best. There have been so many times when my mind was about to explode from all the things I wanted to write, but when I tried to write them down, it went blank. What’s the deal? Lack of practice is one huge factor, I suppose. They say writers write everyday, which makes perfect sense, but something which I am unable to do. The urge is always there at the back of my mind, buried underneath thoughts of family, music, books, work, but nonetheless still there. Which brings me back to this blog. I really hope that I’ll be able to maintain this. I’m not the type who goes out a lot, and there are only a few people to whom I can speak freely with about my thoughts and feelings. This will be one avenue for me to unload some unspoken ideas (or let off steam?) to help keep me sane.

So, here’s hoping that this little virtual space of mine will remain habited for an indefinite period of time with my sometimes crazy but mostly mundane ramblings.