Saturday, 8 March 2014

Tracing my reading timeline without success

If I have to trace my reading habit, I will be at a loss for I don't exactly know how I started to read and why. There are a few I know who will exactly tell the moment as if they forced their memory to record the significant date and episode. Alas! when I started reading, I hardly knew that one day reading would be considered such a fantastic activity and that there would be book-clubs, Facebook pages and blogs devoted to the love of reading and hoarding books. For that matter, I have never wondered to stop and think about the reading habit that found its way into my life until recently when we were having dinner with a BBC-Canada film director who asked me: So, Susan, do you read? How exactly did you start reading? Did your mom and dad read a lot? Did they ask you to read? What did you read as a child?


Well, I have to admit that I was looking at him with a blank expression for I cannot put a finger to my timeline of the much adored habit. I also seem at a loss when people gush and mush about Enid Blyton. I think that I haven't read Blyton and the much acclaimed hostel life stories. I remember having read Famous Five, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew but never cared about the author. I used to remember titles but not authors but now I know that the names should be remembered and flaunted wherever and whenever appropriate.


The reason for reading is another topic that used to confound me. When I enrolled to do English Literature, the first day of the College, one had to meet the head of the department to collect our handbooks and also the identity card. She was a splendid woman who had a fine Brit accent. She asked me (in her RP): You are Susan? and then proceeded to ask, What do you read? to which I muttered 'Fffiction.' She then responded by asking, Why Fiction? I was at my wit's end. Why fiction? Come on, how would I know why I read fiction at the tender age of 19! Those days I did not know that there should be a reason for reading something. Coming from the suburbs and reading whatever managed to catch my fancy, I did not know how to respond to Why Fiction? What I did not know then was also that there were other genres like drama, poetry and other such which people did read for pleasure. I wish I had known that then. As they say, we get to know everything at the right time. Maybe that holds good in my case.

Why do people read afterall? Why do you read? I would like to read your responses.

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

11 comments:

  1. maybe because it is my idea of having a good time.....i would rather hit the bed with a good "horror" novel rather than hit a club to unwind.....as for where i started- i remember reading disney comics- Donald duck, mickey, goofy et al before i graduated to archie, tintin and asterix and maybe that explains my short attention span when it comes to reading long novels

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    1. True that, Dok. Being transported to another place and time in the comfort of our homes without having to spend money is something fantastic.

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  2. I have loved books since I was a tyke, but I can't recall how I actually learned to read. Just all of a sudden, I could open a book and recognize words! I was reading on a third-grade level by the time I started school.
    Oh, and why fiction? Why, not! :) Love it!

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    1. My story, as well dear Martha. I feel that it happened just like that - all of a sudden.

      Lovely to see you here.

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  3. I read because I find the idea of words penned by someone else very interesting. I believe written words speak to me far more than verbal or visual expressions can ever in one lifetime.

    i started to read because of something at school, had written a post for it. Will not plug it in here because I get very weird when I plug in posts in a discussion :D I normally avoid it, if you still want to read it ping me! *yes I am mad and you already know it*

    Richa

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    1. I would have loved to have seen that link here, Richa. Plugging in posts in my comments adds to the richness of the already written post, dear Richa. Hereafter, you know what to do.

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  4. Reading has been an on-off activity for me. During a certain period I read so many books, but I did not read much for a few years afterwards. Now again I have started reading extensively, on my Kindle.

    I read to learn about people, places, culture, activities, motivations, etc. (Good) books can teach us so much.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Kindle and Rajesh! Killer combination, I say.

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  5. because its the most enjoyable time I ever have... it takes me into a world where its just me and the stories that I read.. coming to life... livening my imagination and sparking of my thinking and helping me learn in the process.. does it make sense?

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    1. Of course, it makes sense, Seeta. We all love our wee escapedes, don't we? And how I get those priceless, free and exotic journeys free of cost :)

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  6. I just don't know I remember my mother telling me that all I needed to be kept busy was a pan with some groundnuts which I would keep mixing and a slate and chalk to scribble and I would happily pretend to be a cook or writer! Then there was this giant doggie in our compound and I would play with him although everyone was scared of the doggie; he seemed to take care of me. I guess I was four and a half years old when I got some read-aloud fairy-tales. Memories that I can recollect and relish are Indrajal Comics - Phantom, Mandrake, Bahadur, Flash Gordon..... ah those were the days.. and then I got a Jaico edition for children of 'Oliver Twist' and my tryst started. But the single most defining moment for me was my uncle buying me 'Tintin and the Blue Lotus Comic' :) Tintin is an affair that continues to this day :) Enid Blyton well my cousin had all the books which she inherited from her uncle who ran a library - so Enid Blyton was part of growing up :) Serious reading started with a book on Jiddu Krishnamurthi by Mary Lutyens - I guess I was 13 and since then I am considered slightly eccentric by all :)

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