The time it takes to quit on a book

99DaysIf Stephen Chbosky wrote that we accept the love we think we deserve, is that also true for books? Do we read the books we think we deserve?

I don’t have a lot of complicated habits when it comes to reading but I try my damndest to stick with this one commitment: to finish every story that I have started.

Out of respect to the authors who have labored to produce their works, I feel compelled to at least read the book till the last page before I could pronounce any judgment on it. There are moments when some books make me want to yank my own hair out due to intense boredom: when plots seem to unnecessarily drag on for ages and ages and nothing really happens and you realize there are still 9873363820 more pages before you get to the end.  There are times when I stumble on the occasional misfortune of reading crap literature—when the plot is so convoluted and predictable and the characters drive me crazy with either a.) their mediocrity or b.) their stupidity or god forbid, c.) both.

And yet, I struggle through a thousand yawns and yikes just to make it to the epilogue. Mostly, I do this just so I can justify my dislike for the book. I strive through the agony of every chapter because I want to be able to confidently say that I have the right to say it sucked, that I gave it a chance and it didn’t redeem itself, that my patience as a reader is steadfast and that I am not eternally perched on my literary high horse of snootiness. Yup, I am conceited like that.

But what if you just can’t really go on anymore? Continue reading

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The actual price of things we call priceless

To what people open up their wallets for is none of my business, but curiosity is a disease I have never found an antidote for, even after all these years. It hasn’t killed me yet.

I look at people and I muse: Where does their money go?

A perilously flirty pair of Stilettos she’ve been coveting from a co-worker for weeks? A haircut that will hopefully make her bored husband tell the difference between her actual presence and the kitchen wallpaper? A car he dreamt about every single night since he was nineteen and less jaded? A mortgage several months past the due date?A debt that’s draining his entire bank account and sanity dry? A bag of popcorn for nights of sedentary solitude? A present for her father?

Does anyone ever look at me and wonder the same thing?

I spend money on books. And books, and books, and books.

It is the accessory I invest in to decorate my average existence—I wear tattered pages like a pair of shoes and I feel lovely. I feel like I will go places. It is the makeover I splurge on to put up a disguise. Notice me, I am more than a wallflower, I promise. It is the dream I have saved up every penny for—what gets me out of bed every morning, what keeps me wide awake at night. Ambition, Acquisition, Asset. Mine. Mine. Mine. It is the rent I pay regularly for inhabiting so many worlds when I am not here and absent. It is an addiction consuming me in hours, no, in split-seconds; I will never get enough of it. It is a necessity I cannot bear to live without, oh god, it is breakfast, lunch and dinner. I feed on it. It is healthy, it is poisonous. It is the only luxury I allow myself to indulge in. Mmmmm, books.

I exist for no other currency. I am blind to whatever it costs. Like any kind of love, it leaves us broken, makes beggars out of us.

It is my choice of poverty, my preferred form of wealth.

And yet, as another story beckons me to a life of starving, I succumb.

I open up my palms and cry out: how much? take all of me, take everything—

I am a reader. I am a millionaire.