Maria was saying yesterday that she thought I was the type of person that liked to read a book. And that got me thinking…
Am I? I love to read, but thinking about it, books come way down in the pecking order. They certainly come after newspapers and magazines. I always have been interested in current affairs more than anything. I like to keep myself informed. I can watch CNN or BBC 24 for hours. My parents always found it puzzling that whenever we were on holiday abroad, I would always have a news channel on, as soon as we arrived at a hotel. Last week, because I stayed at home, I had to control my urges not to go out early in the morning just to pick up the free Metro at the train station. I “feel naked” without that daily dose of information, as stupid and strange as that may seem.
Magazines are my private indulgence. I spend quite a lot every month on the ones I really like (mainly fashion titles) and if you ever visited us it certainly shows. The shelves are packed. And I read them all. I don’t just buy them because they look good.
So why don’t I read books? Well, I do. I just don’t like them that much! First of all, I have a very active person. Nothing gets me going better than doing something, preferably outside. And reading a book means calming down, sitting still, staying at home… and these are three things that are very difficult for me. My attention span drifts away from the book at light speed, if I am not in the mood.
So what kind of books do I read, then? Certainly not fiction! I dread Fiction books as much as I dread Romance films. There is something in them that make it impossible for me to like. I know it will sound stupid but I don’t see the purpose of reading something that is made up, imagined, not real. But I like to see them in movies! For instance, I love the Harry Potter franchise but I can’t read the books. Some of you will say the adaptation to the big screen is never better than the book itself, but for me it’s the only way I get to understand what was written in the first place. 90% of the books I own are non-fiction. They are written about things that happened or are happening. They are investigative stories, biographies, travel books… I love all these.
But do I read them gladly? No. I am currently reading a book I heard about while I was in Lisbon for the Christmas – New Year period. I was driving to dinner one night and TSF was broadcasting the best interviews they had made in 2008. On that particular evening, they were repeating the one Gavin Menzies had done. And I was so excited by it I had to buy the book he was endorsing: “1421 – The Year China Discovered The World”. I bought it but still haven’t managed to finish it, more than 4 months on.
It’s not that I don’t like to read books… I just can’t find it in myself to sit still and read them!