Book Gluttony

I love to read books but mostly I LOVE to THINK that I love to read books. I have a whole bookshelf at home filled with books, half of which I have finished reading, some of them half read and rest just the first few pages. My wife gets pretty angry with me for collecting books because they just take up space if I am not going to read them.

I go through various phases when I am reading (apart from the phase when I don’t read at all). But once I pick up reading and I come across a good book in a genre, I start collecting best selling books in that genre under the presumption that since I am in momentum, I will read rather “feverishly devour” all those books.

My collection comprises of equal part fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is mainly crime, thriller, a few science fiction books whereas non-fiction comprises mainly of politics related (US-Pakistan relations, intelligence, civil military relationships etc), popular maths (around 10 books half of which I have read), and popular science (evolution of medicine, quantum physics, sexual evolution etc) and law.

What happens is that mostly by the second book, occasionally by the third book and very rarely by the fourth book I lose interest in that genre and the rest of the books in that genre go unread. Sometimes its because I get bored from that genre some times because the book I am reading is not as exciting or insightful as I found the books before it. But mostly its because I see that I have bought all these books that I have to finish. Rather than being a pleasure activity, it becomes “things to do” list, starts feeling like work and I start losing interest in that genre and for some time even from reading books itself.

Its not that I haven’t read a lot of books. I have more than two bookshelves worth of books in storage which I have read. In addition, many books I have given away after reading. One benefit of getting married and having kids is that I don’t buy paperbacks anymore as my wife doesn’t like them taking up space and constantly criticizes me that why do I buy books when I don’t read them. My kids had started using books in lower shelves to build stairs to reach books in uppers shelves.

As time passes, I am moving to ebooks. I had bought an IPad just to read ebooks and finished quite a few books on it including scanned Urdu books. Not that I had stopped hoarding books but since the books on IPad do not take much physical space, my wife couldn’t find anything to complain about. Unfortunately, one day one of my kids dropped it causing a crack in the screen and that was the end of reading books on IPad.

Now I read them on IPhone. One would think that I would have learedt my lesson about not hoarding books. But no! I had just finished first book of five part Genghis Khan series by Conn Iggulden. Few years ago, I had read 3 out of four books of the same author’s (Roman) Empire series. My friend had recommended Genghis series and said that rather than reading Harold Lamb’s encyclopaedic book (which has been on my books-to-read-before-I-die list) on it, these 5 books are more interesting. So what do I do, I go and get the remaining 4 books in electronic format on my Iphone. Now I am in my second book and if I come across a couple of boring pages (not every page can be a page-turner) I lose interest in it and start thinking that I have three more books to read in this series and how am I going to get through them.




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