Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Of Books and New-Year resolution

How many books?

How many books can one read, say, in one year? I asked my friend. The person is not exactly in the field of literature but has nurtured reading as hobby. Well, most of us are like that but he is an avid reader. His take is one book a month and that makes it twelve in a year. Yes, he said, "take twelve to fifteen if you intend a mix of fiction and non-fiction". Further adding, “Fiction alone would take less of your time than non-fiction, hence the range”.

Well, most of us take to reading as a hobby but in this age of multimedia and all the spicy infotainment how do we stick to the bland habit of reading books. Perhaps only by addiction. The editorial pages and literary supplements in print media often carry the lament that the reading habits all over the world were surely on the wane. However, we find new books being published, reprints also coming out at regular intervals yet shortage was persisting in the market. A reputed online store failed to get me the book I had ordered. After a long wait I got a regret mail instead of receiving the courier. Then there is this trend of e-publishing fast coming up. And cash rich publishers as usual continue to run after scoops and tell-me-first types.

The publishing industry is flourishing as more and more book exhibitions and fairs are organised around the globe. Larger crowds throng such fairs. Sales are on the rise despite the fact that book piracy is rampant and footpaths everywhere are literally littered with pirated versions of bestsellers. All this makes it hard to believe that the hobby of book-reading was dying out. Clearly, there is some unflinching commitment to the printed matter from the likes of my friend who never kicks old habits.

While I prefer mostly ordering my books online another friend always buys them from the shop. When asked why, her reply was that first of all she wanted to feel the book. The size, the binding, the weight and even the smell of a book were the reasons bOfehind her compulsive visits to the bookshops. I find merit in the statement.

Honestly, each year and for years now, I have been accumulating more books than I could possibly read. This New Year eve I made a resolution not to buy any books in 2007. However, by the first week of April itself, nine are already piling up on my desk while my book mark is running through only the second this year. The first one was finished in February. And now for me in addition to flowing in books there is another problem; how to keep a resolution?

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