You won’t be able to tell what’s on my mind when I read, nor can I tell what kind of thoughts you have when you read. No one but yourself can understand how to absorb the content of a book; not even the author.
I used to be envious towards those who can finish reading a history or philosophy masterpiece at lightning speed. Fully aware of my own capability, I have to go slow, or else my interest in reading will be forced away. I can’t finish a book that I can’t engage in, and it makes me sad if I have to give up a book halfway through. Having gone through many trials and errors, I’ve gained the ability to pick the right book for myself. I think books are all connected in a way that when you’re done reading one it will bring you to the next, and then the next. What’s even more amazing is that books can also connect people who will encourage you to read even more.
In his book The Story of Reading, Tang Nuo shares a lot of interesting thoughts and reflections in regard to reading. For example: Where is the first book you owned? What should we do if there is no time to read? In the chapter “Memory of reading,” Tang remarks that the best memory “always has that so-called impressive element that resonates with our hearts. It is traceable, and sometimes comes in an orderly manner. You know where in your memory cabinet it belongs.”
So I looked through my own sacred memory cabinet, and realized that the memories left behind after years spent reading books are safely kept in the cabinet; The memory of that one summer in my adolescence when I laid in bed all day reading Hear the Wind Sing, the flashback of that midnight where I tore my heart out reading Kokoro, or the fact that Marina Abramovic’s autobiography lit up my boring life. I treasure all these precious memories and feelings even though they have become blurred and veiled as time goes by, and I blamed it on my reluctance to memorize book content for I am more concerned with immersing myself into the perfect book.
The fact that I am getting older means the time I have for reading is getting less and less. Though fortunately, I can now re-read, with a more thoughtful and mature mind, some of my favourite books with content I’ve long forgotten about. My eyes linger over the words, and lightly I place the book darts next to those that I’ve once forgotten. I believe wherever I leave the darts is the same place that I’ve noted ten years ago.