We are our choices.― Jean-Paul Sartre
I did not know, but apparently it is World Book Day and Anindita Ganguly asked: “What are the books that you keep reading often? Do you have any favourite book/ books?”
To answer that question: I do have some favorite books, but I don’t actually reread. There are too many books I still want to read, before I again start looking up books I already have read.
Favorite books though… Well, off the top of my head these come to mind:
About Haruki Murakami… ‘Kafka on the shore’ was the first one I read of him and it is pretty special to me. I was really into the atmosphere that Murakami manages to put into his storytelling. Murakami’s ‘Men without women’ I read on the plane, when we were flying back from Indonesia in 2019. I bought it at the airport in Jakarta and I just blazed through it. When we touched ground again in Amsterdam, about 14 hours after takeoff, I was almost done with it.
And while I was watching the Yann Martel interview about ‘Life of Pi’ I link to in the list above, I was thinking… this could actually be a book that I could read again. – Immediately followed by: hold on, I also still have to read his ‘Beatrice and Virgil‘, that is lying around here somewhere.
When I started thinking about other books that I could add to my list, in my mind I went back to books that I read in my… erm… youth, and that I know I really liked:
Truman Capote’s ‘In cold blood‘, ‘De kellner en de levenden’ (in English: ‘The waiter and the living‘) by Simon Vestdijk, Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses‘, Umberto Eco‘s ‘The Name of the Rose’ and his ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’.
I know I loved those books, but when I try to remember what they were about, I just have vague recollections, not an outlined idea of what their stories were really about. So, perhaps I should start rereading some of them. Why read something, love it, and then lose the plot right after? (Erm… Yes.)
A question then came up. Why did those stories not stick with me?
I think it had to do with my age and with the way I gave attention back then. I have always tried to get my hands and eyes on as much information and influences as I can. And I still do. The internet is great for that and I have a hunger for it. I don’t consider it a bad thing. But sometimes it has to be focused, reigned in again, you know? Shout “Whoa boy, calm down!” and meanwhile pull down hard, something like that.
The slower I go (read: the older I get) and the more I become conscious of my surroundings, the more I can appreciate the value of certain things that, when I was young, I would have passed without noticing. I’m also pretty sure that I miss a lot of things that my younger self would have noticed without noticing it.
It is what it is.
Hey! It’s Friday again! Who’d have thought? (God, I can ramble sometimes.) My son has just made us some nice coffee and brought me a big mug of it, and my wife just called to tell me she can probably finish work early today. Yesss…