Ask a group of book-averse people what they think of books..and after telling you that they never have the time and the patience to finish a book to the end, some of them will smugly tack on that they think reading is just a form of escapism.. and though they don’t know what they’re talking about, there’s a degree of truth to that.. It is such a potent means of escapism too, much more than movies or sitcoms are, because books let you wander into wildly creative alternate universes that stay stuck in your head longer than any 3 hour movie possibly could.
I’d have thought that feasting on too many unreal books ( I never read stark, life-as-we-know-it books) would make me discontent with the comparative ordinariness of my life. But that hasn’t happened..of course when I was younger, I was naive enough to wish that I lived a century or so back in Concord, Boston. Which is where L.M Alcott’s Little Women series was set. But as I grew older, I realized that they didn’t even have woman’s suffrage at the time and that the chief recreational activity for women was needlework..and that I was way better off. I learnt, for the most part, to stop living vicariously all the time, and start living my own story.
However, there are times still I have trouble getting used to the real world after reading an awesome book..like this morning. This post comes on the heels of a day and a half of frenzied reading – I have been devouring Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. After going to sleep at 3 A.M with a swimming head, I surprisingly didn’t dream about the book, but woke up listening to imagined conversations between the Twilight characters.
It got tiresome after a point, and the crabby mood that ensued set me off thinking about why I felt irritable, rather than content, after finishing the book..after all, it was very apparent that the series would end with the guy getting the girl, and good winning over evil, and I should have gone about my chores and GMAT prep with a song on my lips after the much-needed break from drudgery. Then I realized that it was probably the cynic in me kicking into action..
I should have known that it would happen- the feeling of flatness that follows the reading of a particularly absorbing romance or adventure. When the characters are all either dead or married, and the loose ends are tied up, and I’m looking at finis with a frown creasing my forehead thinking..does this kinda stuff happen in real life? Perfect love, as is depicted in Twilight..isnt that something most people reach for and never attain? Aren’t we in danger of expecting too much from a relationship, fed on a diet of all-too-perfect romances in books?
There is a whole genre of realism of course, where people do break up after declaring eternal love, where frailities are revealed much more than perfections.. but I never seem to finish such books from cover to cover. So there is no justification for this grouse, it appears..Im a sucker for perfect heroes and heroines, and if I feel disillusioned after reading these books, that’s a flipside I have to settle with..atleast the cynic doesnt rear its head while I’m reading the book and spoil all the fun.