Christopher Farai Charamba The Reader
Reading is a time-consuming exercise. A pleasurable means to spend the precious resource but time consuming nonetheless.
Generally, this reader takes a couple of days to finish an average sized read – by average one would gauge the book to hold 300-odd pages or so.
The real desire for this reader would be to finish a book of that size – perhaps slightly bigger – in a day, but one’s speed reading techniques are not quite that developed.
The trick to achieving that is to read more and challenge oneself to read faster. There is no other means but through practice that one will be able to read faster.
There are some techniques, many of which can be found online but the major trick would be to read and read more.
And so read is what this reader does.
At the start of the year the goal was to read at least 50 books this year. It was a flexible goal as one sometimes takes an unofficial sabbatical from reading books.
They find themselves replaced with podcasts and or documentaries as a means of consuming know- ledge.
Sometimes this reader just isn’t interested and spends the hours that one could have been reading engaging the world on social media platforms.
Approaching the midway point of the year this reader is far from the 25 books that one should have read by now.
Perhaps one should start practising those speed reading techniques in order to catch up.
The biggest problem for this reader is that some books are difficult to finish.
In the past one was of the perception that once a book had been started, it is an obligation to reach the end.
One considered it quite an insult to the author to not reach the end of their book. No different from how failing to finish a meal in a restaurant would be a slight to the chef.
There was considerable pressure for this reader to finish books, however long it took.
The classics were the worst because they were said to be of great literary importance and one felt that it would be terrible to not have finished them. And so the reader soldiered on, moon after moon.
But at some point one came to the realisation that there was no particular reason to force books down their throats like a bad pill.
If a book was unappealing after the first 100 pages or so – especially if it took aeons to get to those 100 pages – then one would simply close the book and forget about that particular read.
One book which stands out which this reader failed to complete was “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
One was quite excited when he first learnt of this author. It was soon after the author had passed on and the internet and press were raving about what an important writer he was, not only to the Latin American community but to the world at large.
With this in mind, one went out and purchased a copy of Marquez’s famed reads and eagerly attacked its pages.
The story follows the town of Macondo through the history of a particular family the Buendias. Through each generation there seems to be a different Jose Arcadio or Aureliano each with a different fate assigned to them.
From the parts of it I read, slightly more than half, each member of this family is afflicted by something different following from events from the founding of the town by the main Buendia patriarch.
The book deals with various themes of love, war, mysticism, corruption, greed and generally has a warped yet somewhat interesting timeline and narrative.
This reader, however, was unable to finish the book.
Perhaps one day I shall return to it when in a different state of mind, but for now one is quite content.
Not finishing that book set one on a different path of readership where if the interest is lost after the first quarter of the book, it’s set down for good.