Even though I call myself a voracious reader (hang on while I try and understand the meaning of voracious.. oh.. okay.. I am back), I am skeptical to join a book club or reading clubs. There are few reasons for that. The first one being, space is always terribly crowded. And I develop cold feet when it comes to the crowd. Then I have to over socialize to seem normal and I end up cracking bad jokes and offending almost all of the participants.
The second one is the lack of conversations. The upside of meeting readers is you can easily develop a conversation. You can talk something more than “The heat is killing me” or “Did you watch Bahubali?” You can actually gossip about two characters and judge them based on their actions with such a passion and ferocity that nobody will judge you. The feeling of liberation is something words cannot do justice to. We just have to make sure that the characters are from a book and not from the next table. But these days most of the people have this syndrome called “I know”. It is almost impossible to read all the classics and contemporary novels in a given period of time. Say 40 years. But to prove the society that they have read a lot and they are cool people, few members read just the good reads profile or Wikipedia page of the book and come to these book clubs. It is not hard but impossible to like these people.
Note to police: If I am found dead or locked with the disfigurement of the body, the sole reason is following the passage. You don’t really have to catch the people who did this to me. Just give this article to newspapers to publish.
I mostly feel out of place in such meetings. I am trying to get into the world of books and literature. But it looks like most of the reading world is stuck in a rut and they don’t ever want to come out of it. At least the circles I am moving in. Whatever might be the topic of discussion, some idiot will start the topic of how they started reading. And invariably everybody will start to talk about Enid Blyton and Famous Five. I have nothing against it. The thing is I didn’t know who Enid Blyton was.
I grew up in a town where getting books were tough. My father had to tell the local newspaper mart and they bought just one copy of all children’s magazines and all of it came to our house. I didn’t even have anybody to discuss the stories with anybody except my brother. The bookstores in my place had books about cookery, astrology and badly written Tamil love poems. They didn’t store Enid Blyton. I can safely say children from this particular town and a time frame could not have read Enid Blyton at all. So when they talk about different kids in this famous five series and how they relate to each one of them, I keep quiet.
Who is even worse is the group of people who call themselves “Potheads” oops I am sorry “Potterheads” These type of people are the rudest and arrogant people I have ever met in the reader community. And incidentally, they are also the people who had read the least books in any group. I mean they don’t have time to read the seven books over and over. It is a long call for them to come out of the stupor and realize that there are other books in the world. They form separate communities within themselves and while having a social conversation drop in a Harry Potter reference which only the people who read the book would understand, which is plain mannerless. What is worse? They feel sorry for people who hasn’t read Harry Potter and discriminate them with a name. “Muggles”. In short, these Potterheads just reverse what reading evolution should do. They just go back to uncivilized, mannerless human being even after reading the seven books over and over again.
Back then when I was in school a guy called Rahul joined our class in seventh grade. He had lost his father recently and his mother came to school every day and talked to all our teachers about how the boy is struggling because of the loss. The teachers went lenient on him. She would even talk to the sweepers and made them feel bad for the boy. The old set of boys tried to be friends with him but couldn’t really understand what he was going through. But he was number one rogue in the class. He would do everything that is banned. And always got away with the fact that he is having a difficult childhood. When he started using his loss to his advantage, we started moving away from him and slowly started to hate him.
I digress. So what I feel is reading and discussing books should bring people together. We read for the pleasure of reading and not because of the peer pressure or to join in a group which proclaims itself superior because they had read something. I find Harry Potter as the biggest marketing gimmick of England to make people look forward to each and every book. I have nothing against J.K. Rowling or Harry Potter series. It is the fan club that makes me cringe. I hope they understand someday.
I have enrolled for a bibliophiles meet this month. If anybody is to come and talk to me about how their C-Section scar is like lightning and they wanted the doctor to do it because they are Potterhead, I am going to lose it and stuff them with muffins till they choke.
Wish me luck folks.