Sunday, July 22, 2007


Anger's no good but I'm not immune.

I consider myself to be a reader, a person who reads. My "excuse" for not reading, these days, though, isn't that I'm not interested in reading, or that I have nothing interesting to read, but really that I don't have time. Considering how much time I've lately spent in front of the tube makes me question that excuse. In my apartment, there aren't many places to go. Being in the living room, unless I am alone, means the TV will probably be on. I sit out here with my laptop, sometimes with a book, and sometimes sit in my room with the same. No TV in there... I think I'd survive just fine without one, to be honest.

But the books I read... this is interesting, I think. I started reading in elementary school like most kids, I guess. But I never cared for the school books, the ones we were forced to read. I read Babysitter's Club instead. But I remember having a crush on this guy when I was in the 6th or 7th grade, and he recommended a book to me, Rendezvous with Rama. I read it, I think at first to try to impress him... maybe I came close to understanding it. It took a while for me to read though. Then after finishing it, I moved on to the sequel, Rama II which I should say I enjoyed much more than the first. Style-wise it was very different, and much more... something. The third book, Garden of Rama intrigued me beyond compare and I was delighted to read the fourth, Rama Revealed. And it was a pleasure to return to the begin and reread the series multiple times. (In fact, I might just re-read them, starting with Rama II, because the relationship between Richard and his daughters was really interesting to me...) Then, I asked for another recommendation--he suggested Foundation. I started with Prelude to Foundation and enjoyed to read the rest in that series, and any other Asimov book I could get my hands on. Another "big" author in the science fiction section of the library, with which I was beginning to acquaint myself, was Orson Scott Card, and starting with Ender's Game I dove into many of his books. In high school and college I spent time reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Anyway, I haven't read any fiction in a long time... especially since becoming Muslim, my reading choices have tended more towards religious non-fiction. I've read introductory books to Islam, some criticisms of Christianity and the Bible, and nowadays I'm reading Purification of the Heart, re-reading quite often since every time I read a chapter I realize there was something I missed. And each time I read a chapter I realize how much I needed to read it, and I learn something that I am doing wrong. Or, at the very least, find attention drawn to a particular behavior of mine that is inappropriate and most likely harmful to my own spiritual well-being. And that's tremendously more valuable than fiction, at any rate.

But between working 36 hours a week and spending 12 hours in class a week, not to mention the homework... I think I have some justification to not be a big reader these days. But the books on my shelf just call to me. Uloom al-Qur'an in particular is one I can't wait to read, and the biography I have of the Prophet saws. There are also the books I'm trying to write about on another blog--those are the ones that actually hurt to read.

So, fiction? Who has the time? Some people, apparently, who had to get the newest Harry Potter book this very weekend as it came out in order to read it as soon as possible. Like my study-buddy, my mother, my sister.... and so on. My study-buddy in fact went after the Arabic seminar Saturday to buy it, and finished reading it yesterday (Saturday!). My parents are taking turns reading the same text, passing it back and forth. I asked my friend though to tell me what happens. And I feel a tremendous amount of pride knowing that I could ruin it for everyone! And I haven't even read it. And I would, too. It's not like the ending can be that important, the endings to these books. Why? Because people read them and re-read them ad nauseum it seems. Come on... isn't that slightly embarrassing?

They read all the books prior to the release of each one; they read them all before a new movies comes out... isn't this slightly obsessive behavior? I think so. I can't say that I am free of it entirely, because I did read the first five books. The first two with interest, the third with intrigue, the fourth secretly embarrassed to be so hooked... and the fifth with nothing but boredom. I barely even paid attention and in fact can't even really remember what happened, and never even picked up the sixth. So I was happy to find out what happened in the seventh from my friend, so I can put my mind at ease knowing there is no reason at all to read this nonsense. And I'll call it nonsense, too.

The readers among my friends and family have a number of books they can be so obsessed with--Eragon is another. "You should read it," they say, but all I can do is ask, "Why?" Will it enhance my life, give me knowledge, will it better equip me to handle my life, or will it do nothing other than distract me temporarily from the world at hand and my responsibilities in it and spark my imagination to whisk me away to an uncharted dreamland while I should be concentrating at work, in school, or anywhere else in fact.

So I'm a little bit angry at Harry Potter and Eragon but I'm not really sure why. If you've read carefully you may wonder why I have no problems to re-read books I've read and enjoyed yet criticize others for what is similar behavior? My problem is this... that the world had to stop it's normal turn and pretend to be filled with wizards and muggles for a time, when there are vastly more important things to be done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some Good Books

The Writing on the Water Chronicles of a Seeker on the Islamic Sufi Path
by Muhyiddin Shakoor

Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart

by Hamza Yusuf


The Book of Stranger by

Ian Dallas