Summertime… and the reading is easy

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Since my TBR booklist has evolved into one gigantic beast preying to devour my fragile conscience, I’m feeling the burden of possession with every single book I acquire, be it only $1.50 or even free.  While summer has officially slipped in, with all its alluring promises and freeing energy, I feel it’s time to confront the beast and with one resolve, slay it.

So, may I present herewith Arti’s Declaration of Independent Reading. It may not be self-evident to all that there exist certain unalienable rights for us book lovers yearning for emancipation.  Allow me to use the collective pronoun here as I feel I just might not be the only one.  Therefore, all ye under the bondage of your TBR beast, here are our claims:

  1. Nonobligatory reading.  Reading for the simple joy of the act, and not for any courses, profs, teachers, groups, bloggers or to appease that monstrous beast.  We might have book challenges to meet, but they are our own choosing.  Even if we have miles to go before we sleep, we go the miles to honor our own quest.

  2. We hold the right to buy and not read, just for the satisfaction of owning a title. We deserve to be recognized for our contribution to the economy and the publishing industry.  By our perpetual purchasing, we are supporting local and national businesses and the livelihood of many workers.

  3. Freedom to follow our hearts in our book selections, and not the New York Times bestseller lists, Amazon’s recommendations, or Oprah’s earnest plea.  No need to follow trends or don literary fashion.  No need to challenge those titles simply because we are told to read before we die.  Literary and the not-so-literary, classics or contemporary, all to our heart’s content.

  4. Smorgasbord Reading.  Our right to have more than one item on our plate, our right to read more than one book at a time.  Fiction, non-fiction, bios or poetry, whatever that suits our palate at the moment.

  5. Not to be discriminated against.   As bookaholics, we will resist any attempt to be added to the pathological list of substance abuse, addictions, or to be forcefully admitted into any 12-step programs or obsessive-compulsive behavior therapy.

  6. In the spirit of slow blogging, we hold the right to read slowly, to mull and chew, at our own pace without having to meet any quotas, numbers, or deadlines. Further, we have the right to reread a book or an author as many times as we want, and not be labelled as subversive, fanatics or cultic.

  7. We have the liberty to stop reading, throw a book out the window, or honestly declare our dislike, if that’s our view.  With this right, we keep our sanity intact, our discernment sharpened, our intelligence preserved.

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There.  Now that’s off my chest, let me get back to my reading… or not.

oooh, summertime…

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Photos by Arti of Ripple Effects, June, 2010.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Published by

Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

10 thoughts on “Summertime… and the reading is easy”

  1. Hear hear! (she says as she sits next to two piles of books that are rotated, depending on mood)

    My friend Inge found a book, whose title I can’t think of, which is about the right of being a person (middle aged woman person, I think she says) who grazes and picks and chooses what to take and what to leave, even if it means not finishing something. Now there is certainly a lot to be said for finishing something, like a book. But who says what time frame that should be?

    Thank you for your kind comment about my photos. I use a Nikon D40. I don’t know much about photography, and I use it mostly as a point and shoot. One of these days I will go deeper and take a class.

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    Ruth,

    Yes, remember one of my book reviews was linked to that booklist ‘100 Books Women Should Read’? And our reactions to that? And I still remember your reading of Henry James’ The Ambassadors. What does it matter how long it takes as long as we enjoy our reads. Thanks for the info on your camera. Those are perhaps the sharpest focused pics I’ve seen.

    Arti

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  2. Amen!! Yes, I know I am guilty of doing book challenges, but only the ones I truly want to do. Reading for the sheer love of reading. I sigh when i look at the piles (yes, plural) around my chair, but…each volume represents a different part of my brain, or my soul, or wishful thinking.Take that away and little by little, something essential dies…

    Oh, to be on that dock with a book!
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    ds,

    The Declaration is meant to eradicate guilty feelings as we navigate among our TBR piles. And the challenges you picked up are all worthy of your time as can be seen from your reviews. I have one too, Bellezza’s JLC. So, let’s just enjoy our reads and have yourself a great summer!

    Arti

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  3. This could be a wonderful new year’s resolution for me! I’ve a few shared reads this summer but more allotment for spontaneous choices. I’ve made a list of things I want to read in July (just because I love lists) and The Corrections is one of them. I see it there in your box. I’m itching here to peek under those books..
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    Claire,

    To see what are in the boxes, just click on the link in the beginning of this post. When you get to my TBR Beast, the last line: “Plus all the titles here and here and here.” You see, all the “here’s” are my book sale loot… they are the books in the picture.

    I saw Love In A Fallen City years ago. I remember I’d enjoyed it but not the details. Here’s the link to it if you’re interested: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087959/

    Have a wonderful summer and enjoy your self-directed reading plan!

    Arti

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  4. Artie, you’ve nailed it – the perfect contract! I adore #2 that we can buy and not read – yes, yes! we support the economy and we’ll get around to reading the newly purchased title, well, when we get to it.

    ANd I love #6 Absolutely! Whereby we hold the right to read slowly.
    No races, no contest, no cheats.

    Perfectly put.
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    oh,

    Thanks for sharing. Glad to know these ripples have stricken some chords. I’m sure there’s truth in saying ‘we are what we read’, maybe how we read speaks volumes too.

    Arti

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  5. Arti:

    You are 30 years behind. I have been practicing your list all these years. Otherwise, how can I justify to keep buying books? Nowadays, with so much to read on the internet, it is getting harder and harder to devote more time to our beloved books. Internet stuff are transient and books are forever, the more reason why we do not have to hurry to read them, right?
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    Be,

    Guess I’ve discovered some ‘ancient wisdom’ 🙂 Yes, buying books just for the joy of it.

    Nevertheless, in this digitally driven age, I’m afraid the battle has taken another front, that is, can printed books, even with our whole-hearted support, be able to win over eBooks? Another point to mull over is, will book lovers be as gratified in the downloading action than in browsing real printed books in a bookstore? And if not, why the difference?

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

    Arti

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  6. I’m just laughing at a couple of these, most especially the right to buy and not read. I just confessed at oh’s that, as a prodigal reader, I went to the library and checked out three books. I took them home. After three weeks, I renewed them for two weeks. Then, I took them back to the library, unread.

    But I had fun at the library!

    Oh – and if a book doesn’t “grab me”, I’m done with it, at least for the time being. I have a friend who will torture herself to finish a book she declares she hates – all the while missing the chance to be making friends with a different book. It’s a mystery to me. But then, so is much of life.

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    Linda,

    Personally, that’s what libraries are for… allowing me to browse and read (or not read), and after that if something really ‘grabs me’, I can go out to the bookstore and purchase my own copy. For me it’s kind of like a tester before buying… not just books, but movies too. How can we live without libraries all these years?! I’ve to pay $12 to get an annual library card, but it’s all worth it.

    Arti

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  7. I forgot to add that I’ve been spending hours at a site called The Oil Drum during this BP business. It’s a site dedicated to the exploration of peak oil, and the changes that are coming to our world re: energy.

    It may not happen in our lifetime, but I’m more convinced than ever that it is a truly bad idea to get rid of books. The day may well arrive when, because of EMP attacks or a scarcity of batteries or other things we can’t imagine that all of our gizmos and gadgets will be useless.

    When I lived in Liberia, a church group who wanted to help us sent over a great microwave oven. Unfortunately, we had no electricity. We used it to store files.

    But even there, we were able to read our books, by the light of lanterns or candles at night and by the blessed sun by day. Sometimes I think our greatest failure of imagination comes when we imagine things always will be as they are today.

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    Linda,

    What you’ve painted here could well be a scenario in an apocalyptic or science fiction like F. 451… the reverse of it. Anyway, I hope readers can distinguish between reading for efficiency and information, and reading for literary appreciation. Just like a music lover would not be satisfied with listening to the classics in an elevator. It’s that Roland Barthes thing again… books are more than mere texts.

    Your experience in Liberia is most interesting, and so vivid in illustrating what’s essential in life. A microwave used for storing files? As they say, LOL! Thanks for sharing!

    Arti

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  8. Ooh, I like your declaration 🙂 I think one’s right to buy and not read is to be championed! Especially at the prices you paid. But even if it were free — like an e-book I checked out from the library that was too boring to continue…
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    Glad to know I’m not alone.

    Like

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