Books behind walls

I find hard to believe that we have monetized our books, there are millions if not billions of them not being open, not only because a child, college girl or professor can’t buy them, but mostly because, when they do buy them, those books stand like trophies at their homes or offices.

 

Por: Gustavo Osorio López

Sitting on my bed is something I often do to wonder about anything. Lately, I’ve found myself staring at my books and realized that there are more that I’ve ever cared to read. I’m not quite sure when reading became a feeling of possession. I remember that I loved going through a fairytale book my father gave me when I was a child, because I happened to like Rumpelstiltskin. But I’m certain that the relation towards that book wasn’t any different from the one I had towards my bike. Besides from that experience, I don’t recall ever liking to read, even when I reached my early teens, I wasn’t  much of a reader, so the idea of  owning a book never crossed my mind.

The first book I’ve ever finished reading was October sky, though by the time I didn’t know Sputnik was real and it took me a few months to find out it wasn’t a novel, but a memoir, I enjoyed most of it. Then, I went on to Lord of the flies and The book thief, the first books I’ve owned since the one given by my father, although these ones were also given by him. I was to read them as an school assignment over the summer and so did I. However it was not until I read To kill a mockingbird that I developed a true passion for reading; despite that, Edgar Allan Poe’s biographies were the ones that made me get my first library card. From then on, I can’t tell much about what I read, but what I can tell for sure, is that it wasn’t then when I started buying books. I think that obsession got into me when I reached College.

To own a book you don’t know if you’re ever going to read is something I never thought about. As weird as it may sound, when I first started reading, I thought about it as a race: I had to go from one book to another as soon as possible, I had to tell my friends that I‘ve read this book or that other in a day or two, that I could keep up the pace with anyone else, or that I would at least sabotage my sleep until I was able to get through most of the book, essay, article or whatever we were supposed to read. I now sit on my bed staring at the books I bought four or five years ago and don’t even know if  I’m ever gonna read them.

Reading isn’t a race, it isn’t about how many pages you can gulp at onces, nor is it about how many books await you on the shelves. It might seem impossible, but realizing that you will never come to read every book you’ve ever heard of,  dreamt of ot talked of, is a step into mortality and into yourself. Once I did that, I care to read only those books that I found meaningful. I stopped reading books just because someone told me they were great. I am not ashamed anymore of telling any of my friends that a book they’ve found life changing, is annoying and boring to me. I do know that this sounds as rather off the subject I started with, but it is my guess that whenever it was that I started thinking about reading this way, is when I ceased to buy that many books.

Knowledge is ought to be share. It is said that we have access to more information in a minute than all humans did until the invention of internet. And yet, we confine books within our homes, to sit on desks, night tables, beds or whichever the place may be that someone places them. I find hard to believe that we have monetized our books, there are millions if not billions of them not being open, not only because a child, college girl or professor can’t buy them, but mostly because, when they do buy them, those books stand like trophies at their homes or offices. To barter, to share, to gift is what books were made for, we have, and I must, rethink our relation towards them. Books can no longer be imprison, and we can no longer depend upon materialism.