I looked at my bookshelf with helpless eyes. “I have no books to read,” I announced, to which the husband just rolled his eyes and then frowned, as he realised what I was planning to do, the minute home deliveries were to be restored in our area. No one but an avid reader can understand my dilemma right now. Yes, the bookshelf is almost full, but it is stuffed with books that I have already read and then those which failed to hold my interest even for the first 50 pages. Life is too short to try and read a book that bores you, even if you are in a lockdown. But I guess it isn’t that short to revisit an old favourite. In fact, I think this is the perfect time to re-read your favourites.
- A lot of us have run out of books to read during the lockdown.
- This could be the perfect time to read your old favourites.
- There are books that bring us happiness and comfort and stay with us long after we have finished them.
Life is too short to try and read a book that bores you, even if you are in a lockdown. But I guess it isn’t that short to revisit an old favourite.
Books are a non-essential item, I’ll give you that, despite being an author and a dedicated reader. It would be foolish to demand that book deliveries be restored or that book stores are allowed to open their shutters. Flattening the curve of the novel coronavirus spread is a priority over everything else. Of course, you can take to e-reading, which allows you instant access to books and is convenient and compact. But if you are not in the mood of e-reading, or picking up a new book, I would like to make a case in favour of your favourite reads. For starters, they already occupy your bookshelf. You don’t have to spend another dime to acquire them. And secondly, you know that they are good. You know how you’ll feel reading them. This isn’t about knowing the climax of a story, but what kind of a journey you will be signing up for, if you pick a certain book.
When I think about re-reading my favourites, a few names come to my mind. I have read The Kite Runner and Memoirs of a Geisha multiple times. As a student, I didn’t have much money to pamper myself with new books at a whim. Then when I was living outside of India, it was a struggle to find a bookstore that sold English literature, and there were only so many books that you could carry abroad with you. Which meant I would go back to these favourites of mine, and many more, whenever I found myself short of new books. I can still feel that lump in my throat that became a permanent fixture whenever I read The Kite Runner. Or how Arthur Golden’s book on the lost glory of geisha’s of Japan left me mesmerised.
And it might come to you as a surprise, but I have read some of my favourite thrillers again and again too. Yes, despite knowing who the killer is in a whodunit, you can still enjoy it. You see, when the initial thrill of how a story will unfold ceases, you can always read a book again to appreciate a writer’s writing style, their observations, or the labour they have put in their book in the form of research.
There are stories that books hold within them, that goes beyond the one that is inked on their pages.
A good book makes you happy. It knows how to manipulate into that sense of comfort that a lot of us need right now. Besides, there are some books that just have so many wonderful memories attached to them, that reading them again, is like looking at an old photo album. The book that you read on a rainy day at a deserted café- an evening of solitude that remains unbeaten. A book that was gifted to you by a beloved. A rare edition that you just happened to come across at a second-hand book store with personal notes scribbled here and there by its former owner. There are stories that books hold within them, that goes beyond the one that is inked on their pages.
So to satiate your craving for a new book, why not revisit old stories, that have brought you joy, comfort, poignance in a way you haven’t felt ever before. Life may be too short and unpredictable, but it is long enough to rediscover the joy that we know certain books ought to bring us again and again and again.
Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash
The views expressed are the author’s own.