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Books
I moved to Bangalore with very few books. When I found a place to live, I was delighted by presence of a little wooden plank; barely five inches wide, nailed to the wall at a height of about 5 feet in my bedroom. This purported mantelpiece was to be my purported bookshelf for coming few days. As I settled into a steady routine I found myself with ample time to read and thus the stack of books grew taller with each passing month. Within a year I had about 25 odd books weighing down upon the wooden platform. During the routine exercise of dusting them, I realized that placing another book on the mantelpiece would be the end of my stack and the mantelpiece. (It dawned on me that the flimsy piece of carpentry was never intended to sustain such heavy loads – collective load of a wallet, a keychain, a cellphone may be, but not a pile of books) Without testing the sturdiness of the mantelpiece any further, I ferried the books into my closet. There are still some books left on the mantelpiece – mostly ones that I am yet to read.

This weekend as I was moving my books around, a thought occurred to me – what would it take for me to have my own library. Now a personal library would only have books that I have read or want to read. At my current pace, I finish about 4 books a month (of roughly 250 pages). By a very conservative estimate – without taking into account advances the medical science will make in coming years – I’ll probably live another 40 years. That means I will add roughly ~2000 (40 x 4 x 12) books to this library in my remaining lifetime. Taking into account 300 or so books that I will probably want to re-read I should stock this library of mine with just about 1700 books. Not a big number for a library. In fact, 1700 is such a disappointingly puny number that an average human lifespan suddenly seems short! Call it a convoluted case of deductive reasoning but it does have potential to exert a pronounced effect on my reading habits – when you have just 1700 books to finish, you better pick each book diligently! (so friends, spare me the Sidney Sheldons and Dan Browns of the world!)
posted: 18.11.04

4 Comments

Well said Deepak. Life is too short, and too many things are waiting to be done.

Life is too short to read pulp fiction, anyway :^)

By Blogger sajith, at 19.11.04  



There was a time when I was every bit as anti-pulp fiction as you are (despite the fact that I could devour a M&B within an hour!), but I've come to realise that there are enough books in the world for everyone - A may not like Shakespeare, but enjoy Postmodern "classics" while B may prefer the traditional classics, and C may enjoy popular fiction - who am I to judge which offers the most to whom? To each his own I say...allow me to choose my books according to my tastes, whims and fancies and I won't meddle with your choice either!

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 19.11.04  



Aptly said - to each his (or her as the case may be) own, but as you put it, I wouldn't like my preferences to be meddled around with - especially when after this profound realization, I am coming to terms with the small finite number of books I'll have to be content with in this lifetime ;-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 21.11.04  



Deepak

Currently, you might be reading only 4 books a month, but in a few years time, with more free time, you can up that to 8-10 books a month, thereby doubling the number of books you'd have read by the time you are ready for the undertaker.

[Nish]

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9.12.04  


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