My poor reading habits

Melbebs with VC
Cartoon by Veena Carmel.

These days, I spend most of my time on YouTube or Watch Series. The habit of picking up a book when bored or actually enjoying it has weaned off on me. Every time I do pick up a book, I begin yawning and the next thing I know, I’ve fallen asleep. I wake up from a wonderful dream much, much later, drooling all over the pages.

When I have to read a book for college, I end up watching a movie adaptation instead. I loved the film adaptation of Gabriel Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, for instance. I watched the movie over and over again.  All this reminds me of the doomsday my mother and teacher had predicted when I first began my obsession with films.

To be honest, it’s been a long time since I touched a book by its cover, especially since everything I need already exists as an e-book. The PDFs keep waiting for me though, but I can’t care less. On the one hand, I am pained to see this change but on the other, I remember I have less free time (that’s how I console myself).

I still have the habit of buying books and storing them in my cupboard, however. Perhaps it’s my high-speed internet that’s spoiling me. I wonder why books can’t be written like movies or TV shows. Often, there is a huge distinction between the way books are written and how motion pictures are made. In an era where people wait an entire year to watch Game Of Thrones on TV, the quicker entertainment option of the internet seems more pleasurable.

What I cannot gain from books, I try to gain by watching movies. There is always something like a Game of Thrones or a Mr. Robot that can literally capture you, although most of the time, I am just going with the flow of images flashing across my screen – I need to watch something while I eat my dinner. Nyan Cat can be seen as the most impossible pop culture read, but I would now rather watch the video than read a thick book. This might seem like blasphemy to the bibliophiles but I am just saying that the medium of consumption is changing a lot faster. A TV show like True Detective follows both the narrative style as well as manages to entertain.

Now again, when I swell up with the guilt of not reading, I pick up a graphic novel or a comic. I remember reading my first graphic novel in the first year of college. In our tutorials, we were expected to read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Dressed in black and white ink, this beautiful creation is pure pleasure. As my professor told me, graphic novels are a blend of movies and novels—dynamic and static. You can feel the characters move while reading them. You can hear them speak. And often, they have a very bold voice that talks for the character.

This satisfies both my guilty pleasure—that of savoring movies and the need to read books. The only problem with graphic novels is that they are often too expensive for a student’s budget. This would not be a problem if the e-versions existed or were easily available. Even as I typed all that I have said above, I checked my Facebook notifications twice, watched some stupid video on ScoopWhoop and visited my YouTube to check if College Humor posted a new video. This is my first instinct when I wake up as well; to check for new videos and new notifications. Now you see why I don’t have time. I lose around one and a half hours trying to get off Facebook. I think I need psychological help. I really do.

We live in a flood of information and sweep of notifications, likes and videos. Have you heard of the new AIB video? I think it’s sexist!

Bling! ‘You have another notification’.

Listen! Seriously! How am I supposed to read with all these distractions? Sometimes I wish I never had internet at all. I wish I lived in one of those cottages on the outskirts of the city, with only books to read beside a fireplace. Wait! Where is the WiFi?

After a point, I realize that I cannot any longer speak in normal sentences. I speak in slangs and broken sentences; my tenses all wrong. Perhaps, it’s because in all this chaos, I have never managed to finish an entire book. Not one in the entire year. I truly have begun to sound like one of the YouTube videos I am so accustomed to watching.


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