Excursions Of A Bibliophile

What are u reading these days?

Notes of a Nobody: Strangelands

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on July 27, 2013

StrangelandsNew books, like new beds, do not agree with me at the first encounter.  I struggle with both of them. At first glance both appear inviting but to adjust to them takes time and demands some effort. A good night’s sleep is nourishing; so is a good bout of reading. Somewhere in my adolescent years, the siren song of books had cast a permanent spell on me. Ever since, there has been a magically enchanted and restless hunger for the written word. The need for reading on a regular basis has now evolved into a natural activity almost akin to satisfying hunger. Take away books from me for an extended period and the mind starts to feel restless, famished and a tad depressed. And yet for all this, I struggle whenever I encounter a new novel, a collection of essays or short stories. Page turning in the initial stages of any read is like walking with heavy feet – slow, dragging and cumbersome. I persist and at some stage, magically, I start to get a sense of grip over what I read. The progress becomes palpable and gradually acquires a galloping pace till the last page is turned and the book restored to its rightful place on the bookshelf. This pattern of silent transition puzzled me a bit initially. Much later it dawned on me that it is nothing but a struggle of acclimatization of the mind.

All books of fiction are strangelands to begin with. For regular readers like me, the choice of a book to read is very often a matter of chance. One gets to discover them as one goes along. Sometimes a visit to these strangelands is also prompted by recommendations from previous visitors. However strong the recommendation, the experience of the journey will nonetheless always remain one’s own. The initial signposts that enable one start on the journey are the narrators voice and choice of words, the characters, the setting, the inklings of the story line – all of which demand a need for patience for familiarization. As I plod through, the sense of familiarization grows and along with it the sense of acclimatization. Somewhere along I cross a critical transition point and then the journey becomes smooth, comfortable and very often enjoyable.

And then the strangelands cease to remain strangelands anymore

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