Having a Book on Hand

11 05 2010

Living in Korea means that English books are hard to come by. I mean, not impossible, but you really have to make the effort. So when I get the chance, I check out or buy books. Of course, I’m often far too ambitious and check out a dozen books… and proceed to read a chapter of each. But I’ve discovered something more valuable – the random used books. Whenever possible, I pick up a few used books with no intention of reading them. They’re something that catches my eye, that I might browse for a bit in a book store. There’s no particular category for these – some fiction is great, but even theology or history books will do. I take them home and forget about them. They don’t call to me, I don’t feel guilty for not getting around to them. They just sit on my shelf, hidden and forgotten.

Until the restless evening when I find myself staring at the shelf. I’m usually surprised at what I find there. I pick something up, flip through it, and then proceed to read about half of it. I usually manage to finish it in a few days. I’m discovering that this is a highly effective way to read in Korea. Strangely, I’m sure this wouldn’t work for me in the US – I think I’d buy too many books, or feel “obligated” to read them because I bought them.

Of course, having access to a university library means I can usually find the books I really want as well. So, although I’m intentionally restraining my reading (I get lost in ideas easily & anti-social), it seeps into my life wherever I go. Books I’m currently reading:

All in all, my reading is pretty slow at the moment, thoroughly eccentric, and pleasurably entertaining.