A Refreshing Escape

130401_BOOKS_CatILLO.jpg.CROP.original-original“Hey! How was your weekend?” my colleagues ask me every Monday.

“I cycled, watched a movie, and kept reading. Had a nice time,” I respond. Which has become my only answer these days. And, I am utterly honest.

Most of my acquaintances find cycling more interesting than reading. So, I field the next question, “Why do you read so much?” Before I bat it, I often receive an unsolicited advice. “Do not read so much, dude. It’s like you are escaping from something. Go out and meet people. Books can always wait.” Oftentimes, I swallow my acerbic response, and say something like, “Whatever floats my boat…” and display a shrug of resignation.

Then I tell my imaginary animal-friends, “These folks should meet the right books soon. The world cannot handle the overconfidence of those who do not read.” The imaginary friends suggest, “Lock them up in a library or a bookstore for a couple of days. Or do something like what the librarian does to a small boy in Murakami’s The Strange Library.” And then we laugh together. (Nobody is too old to have imaginary animal-friends.) 🙂

The ask-a-question and give-useless-advice routine will take place today. It’s Monday again. But, I read this intriguing story on The New Yorker, and wanted to behave like the badass granny in My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies. When she wants to stop receiving junk mails, she collects all the free newspapers in her area, and fills the lift, lobby, and parking area of the guy who prints those. Needless to say that she wins. 🙂 Her badassery is epic. Even if I cannot be as awesome as that granny, I seriously consider sending this link to people, who cannot understand why one invests so much time in reading.


I loved the article. Bibliotherapy sounds amazing. I appreciate its power because when times were too dark, my therapist asked me to read a book that gently directed me towards the light at the end of the tunnel. It was Susan Forward’s Men who Hate Women & the Women who Love Them.

RK Narayan’s The Guide is mentioned in the story. The author is one of my most favourites. If you haven’t read his books, I recommend The English Teacher. And, the irony is that I still haven’t read The Guide. *shakes her head in disbelief*

I have always liked this quote, and The New Yorker has quite fittingly included it in their story. 🙂

In his 1905 essay “On Reading,” Marcel Proust puts it nicely: “With books there is no forced sociability. If we pass the evening with those friends—books—it’s because we really want to. When we leave them, we do so with regret and, when we have left them, there are none of those thoughts that spoil friendship: ‘What did they think of us?’—‘Did we make a mistake and say something tactless?’—‘Did they like us?’—nor is there the anxiety of being forgotten because of displacement by someone else.”

Next time, if someone goes, “You don’t have to read so much, you know,” I will take that person to a cafe, and tie them up to a chair, and keep reading to them for eternity. 😉


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