Why buy books?

I was browsing at the Waldens bookstore,Somajiguda and happened into an aisle where two college going girls were looking through the fiction section. I overheard a bit of their conversation and it startled me so much that I pretended to be looking for something in the same aisle so I could eavesdrop:

GIRL1: I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book.
GIRL2: You’ve never bought a book in your whole life?
GIRL1: I don’t think so.
GIRL2: That’s a little weird.

I considered interrupting them at this point to tell the girl that it is perfectly okay – in fact advisable – to sever all ties with a person who has never purchased a book, but I dint make an attempt; perhaps she meant to honor the use of libraries?

GIRL1: That’s weird? I don’t know. I mean, why would anyone wanna buy a book that one’s never read?
GIRL2: Um, so they can read it?
GIRL1: (a little defensively) Why? Have you bought a lot of books?
GIRL2: Well, a lot? hmmmm.. but I’ve bought at least a couple.

And at that point I got a feeling that they’re going to suspect me that I was eavesdropping, so I rushed towards the adjacent fiction aisle and buried my face in a row of Dan Simmons novels to muffle my feelings.

Hmmm…I feel like….since buying a book is not the same thing as reading it; she could be getting everything from the library and returning them when she’s finished. There are people who love movies but can’t figure out why anyone would want to buy a DVD — how many times can you watch a movie?But there’s a trap in assuming that there are only two kinds of people in any situation, in
this case that there are people who live life and there are people who read about people living life. Not reading books (and let’s assume
that her reluctance to have ever bought a book means that she doesn’t read them at all by her own volition) does not automatically make her
a woman-of-action. I know a lot of people who don’t read who don’t do much else, either. I know people who read voraciously while leading full and fulfilling lives. You can’t always judge a book by…well, you know.

4 Comments so far

  1. Ganesh (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

    Hi Gangadhar, I’ve personally not bought any book in the last seven years or so except for children’s books. I used to be a voracious reader all through school and college and all of a sudden, my interest in reading waned to a point where I now find it difficult to skim through a magazine, leave alone go through a piece of fiction. Your blog made me think and will certainly make me reflect and introspect, so thanks for that. That said, I did detect a note of perhaps ‘self-righteousness’ in the blog, food for thought for you ?


  2. Gangadhar (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

    thanks for dropping by,Ganesh..

  3. khan lateef khan (unregistered) on October 16th, 2006 @ 7:59 pm

    Asaduddin Owaisi ……. Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
    The occupation of Iraq by America and its allies is a gross violation of the United Nations’ Charter. It contravenes article 51 of the United Nations’ Charter, that is, of self-defence. It is a slur on the international law.
    The talk of the United States that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction has been continuing even after many months and years have passed but not a single iota of evidence has been produced by the Allied occupational forces, by America, Britain, Italy and other countries which are occupying Iraq; and the verdict has been given by the people at large. When Iraq was being occupied, Germany had elections and the present Chancellor of Germany was opposing the war on Iraq. He had made it an election issue and won the elections though there may have been various factors for his winning the elections. They had elections in Spain at that time. The present Government in Spain said that if they came back to power they would bring back their forces. They won the elections. Our previous NDA Government was playing the role of Tony Blair. They were dancing to the tunes of America. If America said, ‘Today is Sunday’, they would say, ‘Yes, it is Sunday’. What has been their fate now? There may have been many factors in their defeat but one of the factors was abdicating our foreign policy and in fact mortgaging it to the American interests.
    I find it very unfortunate that in the Resolution which was passed, a word could not be added to say ‘condemnation’ of American occupation but the fact is that even the American people were against their own country’s occupation of Iraq. They were against their own country’s gross violation of human rights. The biggest example is of the events at the Abu Ghraib prison. What happened in Abu Ghraib prison shows clearly that the American forces are characterless. They do not believe in the Geneva Convention. They do not believe in any United Nations’ Resolution. I can say very clearly that there are two countries which very grossly violate the United Nations’ Charter and Resolutions. One is America and the other is Israel. They do not want to follow the United Nations’ Resolutions. Whenever it suits them, they take a stand. The latest Resolution that has been passed is not a partial victory for America. In fact, it is a setback for America. We cannot say that things have changed because of the latest Resolution. Things have not changed. It is a partial setback for America. America is slowly realising the fallacy of its occupation.
    The hon. Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas talked about the glorious past and how he lived in Iraq 25 years ago. He is not here but I would like to point out to this august House through you that Mr. Paul Bremer, the Administrator appointed by the United States, could not travel in a car to the Baghdad airport and so he had to leave by helicopter. This shows what is happening there. We cannot describe here what has been happening in the Abu Ghraib prison because it would be unparliamentary. We have seen American women soldiers laughing at naked bodies of Iraqi prisoners. We have seen how people have been killed there.
    The recent report of the inquiry commission which went into the 9/11 attacks has clearly stated that the 9/11 attacks and Saddam Hussein had no relation whatsoever. I do not hold a brief for Saddam Hussein. It is a fact that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. Saddam Hussein did kill Kurdish people; Saddam Hussein did kill the Shias; and Saddam Hussein grossly violated human rights. But again two wrongs do not make a right. If Saddam Hussein has to be tried, it is my opinion and the opinion of my Party that a trial on the lines of the Nuremberg Trials should be held. Let the International Court of Justice be seized of this matter as it is happening in the case of Milosevic of Yugoslavia. That can be done. Moreover, I would request the hon. Minister of External Affairs, through you, that the need of the hour is to revive the Non-Aligned Movement. We can have world peace only through Non-Aligned Movement.
    Even in the NATO Conference, countries did not agree that command control should be given to America. I request the hon. Minister of External Affairs that in our Common Minimum Programme, which our Party is supporting, there is an urgent need, once again, for Non-Aligned Movement for world peace.
    Lastly, I would like the hon. Minister for External Affairs to give a categorical assurance that we will not send our forces to Iraq. That is a puppet regime. We do not recognise that regime. I would like our country’s stand to be very clear that India does not recognise a puppet regime that has been imposed by America.

    Posted by Journalistviews at 9:08 AM al arabiya news channel
    Freelance Jouranlist

  4. Visesh (unregistered) on October 17th, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

    Hi Khan Lateef Khan,

    Isn’t Munsif (the link to your name) a newspaper in the city of Hyderabad?

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