Sunday, June 27, 2010

So many Books, So little Time

Man reading a book in bed

Sometimes I feel I am lost in Borges labyrinth-sized library. There is an infinite number of books out there in the world that I will never be able to read in my short human lifespan, even if I were to forsake family, work, food, and sleep. So many books will be left unopened and unread; worse, I won't ever know of their existence.

Normally, I would not despair about this fact. Despite being an avid reader, I would simply choose the familiar and beloved authors and philosophers and let all the others be.

Yet how will I know if I have made the right choice? What if I have not yet stumbled upon my most favorite, destined author that could give me unfathomable reading pleasure or even be able to change my life forever? What if his or her works are lurking in a bookstore or library corner gathering dust and being eaten by moth, while I go about ignorantly completing my supposedly meaningful tasks in this world?

A lot of it may have to do with luck – and advertising. What others consider literature may arouse my interest. What close friends suggest as good reading I might take on. What the media or critics rave about, I might actually pick up and read.

It is always intimidating to enter a bookstore or library of any size and be overwhelmed by the odor and the hidden wisdom of so many stacked and shelved books. If I had better hearing, I would hear their whispers echo in the empty spaces. They could call out to me and make me pick up the right book at the right time.

Sometimes I have dreams about books but so far they have been misleading. I dreamed once that I picked up Kazantzakis' Zorba the Greek. I followed the advice, bought it in the same week, read it and felt baffled and disappointed afterward. Why did my higher self want me to read that particular book? Did I fail to read between the lines? Was there a hidden message for me?

In the meantime, I can only try my best and read voraciously whatever crosses my path or catches my interest in the hope that somewhere in those pages I will find my spiritual guide or “soul-mate” - in a philosophy book or a book of excellent fiction. Who knows I might even stumble upon the perfect recipe in a cookbook.

2 comments:

Haiku King said...

Amen! There will never be enough time. Are you familiar with goodreads.com

John said...

Arash,

I have bad news, very bad news. I heard yesterday that another book is being published. One more! It seemed impossible. The significance of this book is almost beyond comprehension. You made me realize how important it is when you stated: “There is an infinite number of books out there in the world.”

Now I am no mathematician, but what I think this means is this: the next book will be the first transfinite book! It will be the book that resides in the universal collection of books in the set of books numbering beyond the set known as “aleph null.”

If I have helped clarity the book matter in any way, I am glad to help.

JMyste