Tuesday, April 29, 2008

book counting

Over Facebook iRead listing a good friend of mine recently commented that I was ill-read as I had listed only a 100 odd books. While I have read a few hundred books, it is nothing compared to him who has read a few thousand books! (Thanks to a professor father and a university library, grumble!) All I ever read during my growing up days was fairy tales and comics. Our school did have a “library”, but it was kept in the Principal’s office in a steel cupboard where he also tucked away heaps of files. We were too scared to even enter his room leave alone browse for books , and our school never actually required us to read anything other than the textbooks.

A whole range of experience—children’s literature—remained completely unknown to me throughout childhood. In fact, it was only after I joined college that I discovered that there is something called a children’s literature.

Just the other day I happened to drop in at our local British library and was tempted to take a sneak peek at the colorful children’s section (spent more than an hour there, actually) only to be reminded of the opportunity I had missed. I know I said in an earlier post that I loved everything about my school, but here is something that, in hindsight, I wish had been different. I now wish we had had access to a good library with fun books—there are so many to choose from! Newberry, Plumes, Superfudge, Scholastic, Puffin…

Last year when I decided to build up my own library; I started with children’s books. I now keep buying them for my little cousins back home. I’m not sure if they read those books at all, but I know they are not going to miss an enriching experience, and that they won’t have the regret that I do when they grow up. This assurance, my own ever-expanding library, and my compulsive reading give me respite from that regret.