Wednesday, August 27, 2008

THE DOUBLE LIFE OF BOOKS

Books have two lives - a HAPPY LIFE and a SAD LIFE.


When a book has its HAPPY LIFE, it is much in demand, pulled out daily from its alloted place on the bookshelf, flipped through eagerly, dog-eared and remoulded by over-enthusiastic fans, and read over and over (and over and over...) again (sometimes twice/thrice in a single sitting) and getting tattooed with enthusiastic comments in various coloured crayons and pencils by appreciative readers (or listeners, depending on their age - the human's not the book's).


Right now, in our home, a few lucky books are leading the happy life. Topping the popularity polls is PD Eastman's GO , DOG, GO, which the Copy-Kitten has near-memorised and where many of the dogs are decorated with add-on squiggles. Behind the dog-eared dogs, there is a haphazard list of second-bests like a sweet little book called BEEF STEW where Nicky has a surprise visitor for dinner, which is (the dinner, that is) obviously beef stew; the toils of the LITTLE RED HEN who baked and ate the bread all by herself giving nothing to her lazy friends, and some from the very active DICK and JANE series (those children who seem to endlessly jump and run and play and work).


The Lil Cat, too, is fickle with her favourites (as it the feline nature). Her Famous Fives are languishing while Junie B Jones, that funny opinionated little girl, is best book-friends with my elder daughter at the moment, the friendship threatened only by Sophie, the clever, and equally funny, little farm girl created by Dick King-Smith.


Once these favourites are replaced by new ones, these books will retire to their bookshelf-homes to lead THE SAD LIFE, relegated to dust and neglect, with nobody to open them and close them (as the Copy Kitten over-eagerly does, much to the detriment of the bindings of the books), and only the occasional flicker of the dust-cloth reminding them of the touch of little warm hands and grubby fingers.

The good thing is that re-reading is a frequent phenomenon and so the BOOKS have a REVIVAL of the HAPPY LIFE quite often.

8 comments:

Jaquanda Rae said...

Sukki! Thanks for dropping a line. I'm not sure if I'll blog about the Olympics. I don't think I have anything new to add. unless I could probably find a way to paste a great forward on the matter.

lopamudra said...

My elder one too loves Junie b Jones and Judy Moody.She reads and re-reads them just like you mentioned.

Mystic Margarita said...

That's a new way of looking at books. I must go pay my sad books some attention, pronto.

Btw, you have an award waiting for you on my blog!

tina said...

i can't imagine a book being happy after its spine has been cracked and its pages dog-eared and scribbled on; at any rate, the observation about sad books is true... my saddest books are my college math textbooks, they're still as pristine and fresh as the day they were bought XP poor things. i almost never looked at them. hehehe.

eve's lungs said...

Oh dear I realise some of my books might be sad now - must be off to give 'em a pat! But true - books are like houses - sad when not used .

ugich konitari said...

What a nice way to look at books!

While we have a lot of happy books (The Chronicles of Narnia, Dreams from my Father (Barack Obama), Lenin's Tomb (Remnick) etc ) resting in our new bookshelf, just next to them are some formerly sad books, aged, tattered, but nevertheless endeavouring to stand together in one piece : all Cricket bios written so many years ago by Gavaskar, Wadekar, Pataudi, Freddie Truman. Collected by my son, a hardcore cricket blogger.

Maybe the sad ones will be happy knowing that he is coming down on a visit, and will meet them again .....

Mina Jade said...

You can write in such a touching ways about books.
Being an author myself, I'm ashamed not to write something like this. How could you think something so beautiful like happy and sad life of the books?

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Jaquanda,

I'm sure you'll come up with a great post on the olympics if you feel like it.

Hi Lops,

Good to know our daughters have the same taste in books!

Hi MM,

Thanks and I'm thrilled!

Hi Tina, UK, Eve and Mina,

Thanks to you, this blog is having a very happy life at the moment!