I love February. It was nearly three years ago,a round this time, I remember venturing for the MyLibrary facility of British Council. I had first come across this concept of home-delivered library books, at the interval of some movie I had been watching at PVR. My mother had been a member of the British Council in her days, and secretly, I so wanted to be a part of it too, though why, I cannot say. So I gathered some pluck, and asked for a membership in February. And boy oh boy ! Am I pleased ! I got my first two two books from the library - Brilliant Careers - The Virago Book of 20th Century Fiction and The Bottom Line: Business Finance - Your Questions Answered. I ended up reading neither. I don't think I even touched the second one. It took me some time to navigate my way through their wonderful stock of books and figure out where to go to with regard to my interest.
These last few months however, what with this thing and that, my dependence on British Council has bated a bit - I think that is mostly because I found a well-stocked bookshop close by, and I am too greedy to stop myself from buying books. Nevertheless, its that time of the year; I renewed my account with the BCL yesterday and right now I am rocking back and forth with the potential goodies in store for me.
Anyway, back to my reading lists. Here, I need to make a confession. I am discovering that maintaining a list not only doesn't work for me, but is also a tad too disciplined for my taste. A good friend of mine - whom I had brainwashed against the concept of making lists and targets - pointed out that I was, put bluntly, being a hypocrite. He, being a few years older to me, was very much in favour of setting a whole timetable of sorts, and I had thrown up my hands and said WHY??? Isn't reading all about fun? Isn't it a spontaneous respite from the drudgery of life? Should it be bound in pencilled columns and 24-hour formats? What is the difference then, between curling up with a book and sitting for an exam the next day?
There is no difference. My dear friend, I still stand by what I said. But I am also beginning to realise that at times, I need the push. Especially, when the book doesn't exactly grasp me by the collar, but is one of those which is mild and a bit rambling. The last time I was absolutely rivetted by a book was when I read The Caine Mutiny, and to a mildly less extent while I was in the middle of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Those were the books that kept bugging me as I slogged through my office work or threaded between the throng of people on my way back home. The rest I picked up when I was fairly done with my day, and reading them made me calm and thoughtful.
So this month on, I shall quit making lists. If I need them, it probably means that I am not enjoying reading, and deep down I know that's not true. My Goodreads Reading Challenge will continue to adorn the side of my blog, and make me shamefaced, but that's all right. If it takes a few months to finish a single book, so be it. Nobody should rushes through ice-creams and chocolates. How are books any different ?