This question really sounds absurd to start a decent discussion on reading. I am not a writer nor pose to have any writing skill but I like to read. It is said the type of books you read generally depends on your attitude and personality. I believe reading as a habit has always allowed to nurture a wholesome sense of well being. But most of us read books to lull ourselves to sleep.
I read any thing that I can grab and not picky about subject or writer. Once I like a new writer; try to read his other work as well. In last 5-6 years can only think of two books that I started but couldn’t finish – ‘Satanic Verses’ and ’The Argumentative Indian’. This makes me wonder am I a good reader or not? Normally, I do not try to review books as I read for pleasure and have a good time. Though these books are well known, well read and sold million of copies I wonder is it wrong with me or with these books?
The journey of reading book takes back to memory lane - we (me and my brother) were hooked to reading from very early age as we grew reading books. Special thanks goes to my Mom for inculcating this habit in us. Switching from a totally pictured short comic to a immensely boring book of at least a hundred pages, with no images or diagrams was not easy though so I don’t blame any kid who would frown at the idea.
But there were others too who really appreciated this habit of ours and gifted us wonderful books as we grew. We were considered as book worms; we even saved money that we got from our elders to buy firecrackers at the time of Diwali. As for us the philosophy was simple – book lasts longer than a firecracker and you can always re-read books. We still have those well preserved collections to re-read. Now a days, with too much stress in work place many of us miss out on reading in this very manner and sadly it is only in times of grief, loneliness or insomnia that we seek refuge in reading some stuff.
I read many writings of Mr. Rushdie and really liked them a lot. ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ is my favorite; just found out it got published after his most controversial work. I was in adolescent when ‘Satanic Verses’ got banned and always wanted to find out what was out there - a forbidden passion. So while in US I tried to borrow it twice from public library - got bored and could not follow the story after few chapters. I still wonder who are those who might have read, realized the content before banning the book? Did they just ban the book based on its name, who knows its a long history now.
Now coming back to ‘The Argumentative Indian’, a collection of published works by Mr. Sen during his long career and research. Though there are excellent foot note and reference in page I could not agree with writer about his view on recent India. Besides this, there were so many words which require frequent referring to a good English dictionary.
May be being a young Indian I see India from a different lens. Being in India I find his view on recent history of India to be unaccurate and one sided. To me his references are very academic in nature and away from ground reality; also his views are squinted for recent political history. Without doubt he poses to have vast knowledge about Indian history, culture and I am no one to make any comment on it.
To sum-up, this two books failed to keep me glued to finish it. May be one day I will try to finish them and will re-read… till then happy reading.