A colleague suggested I read Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho. I ran it by an old friend. She told me these exact words: “Don’t even think about it. You will regret it.” I said OK and diligently pulled it off the list at the library.
Two weeks ago, daughter whined and cribbed on how she desperately needed a book to read. An emergency trip to the library was in order. We went in with hopes of picking random books and giving it a worthy shot. New authors had to be given due attention before forming an opinion we decided.
As luck would have it, the county library started a new venture, where they would (randomly) pick a bunch o books and place them strategically at the entrance in an inviting presentable fashion. It’s a great marketing strategy to snap up the bored, random, listless, lazy reader or in some cases reader by compulsion. How do I know? Coz I got suckered into picking up two books from the assortment. While I went around the pile, so did many others, and left quite excited at their choices.
The arrangement reminded me of Pondy Bazaar’s pavement kadais right across the humungo Rathna stores. There’s this kahuna sitting chock full of priced valuable quality goods, and then just as we are entering the crowded place, our eyes get diverted to those shiny stacked up stuff on the tables and the prices dirt-cheap. You make a quick calculation in your mind. Okay, so it’s cheaper by a whole 10, and it costs 20. Let’s say we use it 20 times and it then goes bad, we’d have paid a buck a usage. Not bad at all. We succumb.
Sometimes the product lasts a buck a usage. Sometimes it crashes on you after the 2nd usage. The luck of the draw as they say.
Paulo Coelho’s Brida is just that. I tried very hard to push myself further into the pages, and make sense of the magic, the bookstores, the eccentricity, the eyes and the characters that talk to themselves. After 23 pages, I officially gave up. I tried reading it cuddled in bed, biking at the gym, while waiting for the daal to cook, while carpooling the kids to activities and even while sitting outside the son’s 30 minute viola class. The font was large too, not the usual paperback style.
YET, I just couldn’t read the lines and move on!!
Seriously speaking, I am quite strict with my time. A movie or a book has just the first 15 minutes to engross me. Any longer it takes, am gone. Time’s up.
I checked with the daughter as she insisted she’d read it. She came back and yelled at me one morning “Mom, next time, please may I choose the books when we check them out at the library?”
Me: “Excuse me? I didn’t pick that up for you!”
Daughter: “Yes, I am doing you a favor. I shall pick all books, and you read what I choose. Sorry, but really, look what you picked?! Better luck next time if you don’t want to read my choice.”