Wednesday, September 07, 2022

A Pdf Babel

There are so many books and yet, so little time.

That could do. If I knew you understood that feeling, I could end the post here.

I have more than enough downloaded books to read. That does not stop me from finding an ever-increasing list of alluring titles to download. 

My mind feels something itching at the sight of my pdf collection.

My reading habits have radically changed. Years of hopscotching among blogs that lead to a link to yet another land of online interestingness have drawn new reading routes. When it comes to books in any format, fictional or other, the number of pages I read per day has diminished considerably. How many books can read in a year? How to select them? How many days do I need to finish an average 300-page book? 

If I did the math -no, I won't- I am fairly certain the remain of my lifetime will not be enough to read those books. A daunting fact.

Borges, aware of his old age, once wrote that he came to the hard realisation that there were books on his shelves that he would not open again. Ever.

Still. I download books. 

What do I look for there? Why persist in a futile attempt, when I know I cannot read it all?

Maybe it's the thirst for answering difficult life questions. Finding a few answers reinforces addictive pleasure circuits in your brain.

Maybe it's the configuration of my learner mind -with a thousand atomised interests that need to be satisfied.

Perhaps the answer is something far simpler and deeply engraved in ourselves. 

Just like that intermediate zone of light and shadows that occurs briefly before dawn -or when you write a blog post-, I can now take a glimpse at the root of my thirst for books and see that what actually lies there is a sense of hope. It is simply human to hope beyond your lifetime. Because in spite of all the negative news being flung at us on a daily basis, beyond the painful gradual loss of a family member health or the overwhelming reality of a not too distant war, you would still plant that proverbial tree and take your book to cuddle up under it and feed on a fruitful, soul nourishing, human-scale hope.

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