Art of Reading


I guess one of the “wisest” things that I have done in my life is to buy a proper book cabinet

(My latest collection of books – the one in green cost RM8.50 each whilst the Mammoth Book is RM19.90 – a far cry from Dan Brown’s latest thriller costing RM40)

I like reading (my wife have started to pick up reading, with a pace of 1-2 pages per day but reading a book still sounds “Greek” to my son) and over the years, I have been collecting books but without a proper shelf or cabinet, the books were simply lying all over the place. Some of the good books simply got lost (perhaps misplaced and got thrown away), some borrowed by friends and family members and ended up being theirs (I need to make plans to steal borrow them back) whilst others ended getting torn and in a bad state of maintenance

So, when I moved into my own house, one of the things I promised myself to buy is a proper book cabinet – the one we usually find in libraries – to store all those books. So, after getting the more essential furniture and had saved enough, we went out and bought one – it was not cheap but the salesman assured us that the bookshelf would be tough enough to hold thick, heavy law books. and therefore will last long.  And over the years, I have managed to stock up enough books and magazines and my son’s kiddies books into the bookshelf and it has started to overflow. The good thing is, since the books are in a proper bookshelf, the condition of the books have been better too but I am running out of space, so some books have been found lying around. It was definitely a time for another, bigger bookshelf in the house (need to start finding the money and space for that).

With a proper bookshelf in place, I managed to retrieve some of the books lying all over the place including some in old boxes, tucked away in the storeroom (some classic books are lost forever). And just when I arranging those books, I realized that I have not really read those books cover to cover. No doubt, I have touched those books and read selected part of the books (the one that interest me or those pages with pictures) but I soon got bored and put those books away in old boxes. And I realized now that there were quite a number of books that I have not read cover to cover. So I made another promise to myself – arrange all those books into the bookshelf and start reading them cover to cover. And that is what I did exactly and over the years, I have done reading all those books that I gave a slip in the past (some with second reading) – such as this one.

(As thick as a Bible but far complicated – Leo Tolstoy‘s War And Peace may need me to find the right quiet time to start on it but still at RM8.50, it was a killer bargain)

Lately a new problem has started to crop up – I am running out of books to read. I do get my stock of Reader’s Digests and Discovery Magazine on a monthly basis but frequently it is often laden with advertisements rather than with a real, powerful reading material. It was time to go to the local book store to stock on some new books. But the problem is the books in Malaysia is not exactly cheap – a normal novel will cost RM35 and more – cheap if buying one book after a long, long time but too expensive if you are going to buy 3 – 5 books on a frequent basis. But there was a way out – a cheaper alternative called Penguin Classics – it has all those classic books like Moby Dick, Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, etc – regardless of the title and thickness of the book for only RM8.50!

I still recall reading those classics a long time ago when I was still young but the books that I read back in those days was rather watered down – simple English and a lot of illustrations. But reading back the classics again but this time in its “raw” classical and unfiltered poetic language, it makes those classics more complicated and interesting. It sounds like we are on an undiscovered island and we are on a journey to find new treasures. It gives me the chill to think that I may be reading in the author’s original language and sentences. Something I am looking forward with my latest edition to the bookshelf – Leo Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace.

Now, with fresh stock of books in the bookshelf, it was time for a quiet reading and open up the imagination landscape…

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