People who know me know that my favorite place to lepak is the bookstore. At the bookstore, I’ll take a lot of time scanning the titles and perusing the content (usually summarized at the back of the books). I don’t patronize the library and borrow books. I find it a hassle and hate the fact that I can’t scribble in it. But I know I can’t own all the books I want to read in the world. A tight budget is one thing, but the real problem is not having space to store them. I am a recovering mild hoarder. Yet when it comes to books, I shamefully admit that I haven’t thrown, sold, donated or simply given away a single book before. Whenever I wait at the gate of the airport, I’d be wondering what’s gonna happen to all my books if I decided to migrate someday. The shipping cost is too eye-watering for something I most probably would never ever enjoy again. The most I’d do is flip through the pages and skim through the paragraphs I’ve left a note or two at the margin or the lines I’ve highlighted. But to enjoy it from page one to the last and receive the wisdom from the beautifully phrased words joining one another again is not gonna happen. They said when you read a book at different points of your life, you’ll learn different things. But I always believe the next book is more interesting.
Around this season last year was the third time I’ve moved to a new place. Moving has done a hell of a job in treating my hoarding but it hasn’t stopped me from purchasing more books until the recent death of my uncle. I wouldn’t wanna say that my uncle was a hoarder, he was perhaps, just a collector. He collected a lot of photos, photos of him traveling with his friends and family. From the 70s all the way to the day he left; thanks to the invention of digital ram and thank goodness, he was a man who won’t quit learning with the world. He was very adept at using the digital devices (better than my dad apparently). When he left, he could have probably asked his family to bury those photos with him (or not), but he could never have taken a single photo with him wherever his spirit roams any more than I could see myself paying a lump sum for the courier. It wasn’t my first time of having such epiphany about the meaninglessness of the things we hold on tight to in life. But this time it hit me with my books, as if in these few years, the things I’ve let go off in life aren’t enough, I need to also let go of that one thing, which allows my mind to escape from the reality, to truly achieve self-actualization. I can’t. Not yet anyway. Although reading hasn’t made me the best person in the world, it hasn’t made me write any better either (as I always wish to), in fact, it has turned me more introverted than I’d ever like myself to be, reading has indeed shaken my life and I know that it will continue to be one of the most critical ingredients in enhancing my character development.
Nevertheless, I should probably be more critical at the bookstore. I’ll probably take more time than I usually do to carefully pick out the most worthy and the most must-have book so that I can convince myself that even someday if I do consider to sell it or donate it away, I’d have a good reason to persuade the other person to take it. Or, I’ll try doing my own research by taking the advantage of Google or asking around before I head down to the bookstore or click add to cart. In the meantime, I can also really think hard about which genre or author I wanna eliminate from my bookshelf. Though rest assured, this is gonna take a long while.