Since my TBR booklist has evolved into one gigantic beast preying to devour my fragile conscience, I’m feeling the burden of possession with every single book I acquire, be it only $1.50 or even free. While summer has officially slipped in, with all its alluring promises and freeing energy, I feel it’s time to confront the beast and with one resolve, slay it.
So, may I present herewith Arti’s Declaration of Independent Reading. It may not be self-evident to all that there exist certain unalienable rights for us book lovers yearning for emancipation. Allow me to use the collective pronoun here as I feel I just might not be the only one. Therefore, all ye under the bondage of your TBR beast, here are our claims:
- Nonobligatory reading. Reading for the simple joy of the act, and not for any courses, profs, teachers, groups, bloggers or to appease that monstrous beast. We might have book challenges to meet, but they are our own choosing. Even if we have miles to go before we sleep, we go the miles to honor our own quest.
- We hold the right to buy and not read, just for the satisfaction of owning a title. We deserve to be recognized for our contribution to the economy and the publishing industry. By our perpetual purchasing, we are supporting local and national businesses and the livelihood of many workers.
- Freedom to follow our hearts in our book selections, and not the New York Times bestseller lists, Amazon’s recommendations, or Oprah’s earnest plea. No need to follow trends or don literary fashion. No need to challenge those titles simply because we are told to read before we die. Literary and the not-so-literary, classics or contemporary, all to our heart’s content.
- Smorgasbord Reading. Our right to have more than one item on our plate, our right to read more than one book at a time. Fiction, non-fiction, bios or poetry, whatever that suits our palate at the moment.
- Not to be discriminated against. As bookaholics, we will resist any attempt to be added to the pathological list of substance abuse, addictions, or to be forcefully admitted into any 12-step programs or obsessive-compulsive behavior therapy.
- In the spirit of slow blogging, we hold the right to read slowly, to mull and chew, at our own pace without having to meet any quotas, numbers, or deadlines. Further, we have the right to reread a book or an author as many times as we want, and not be labelled as subversive, fanatics or cultic.
- We have the liberty to stop reading, throw a book out the window, or honestly declare our dislike, if that’s our view. With this right, we keep our sanity intact, our discernment sharpened, our intelligence preserved.
There. Now that’s off my chest, let me get back to my reading… or not.
Photos by Arti of Ripple Effects, June, 2010. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.