Books are haunting me. I’m not lying.
Books are very real to me: they have a solid, reliable nature. Their presence in my head is enough to make them real, tangible, even if the actual paperback is no longer within the reach of my hand. Somehow, the stories they tell seem more real than life.
Pardon me, I don’t mean to say that I don’t enjoy living. I do, I do very much. But books are like my food – if I didn’t read I’d starve and die. If I ever do drugs, I’m sure I will hear books talking to me. We would have pleasant chit-chats, drink tea together, laugh and spend a sunny afternoon in the park. I would listen to their colours; I would smell their memories; I would touch their dreams with my fingers and see them changing shapes and textures, like soap bubbles. I know I won’t ever do drugs, because all this is what I already do with my books anyway.
Very often, I’m terribly, terribly bored - like DesEsseintes in Against Nature. A book in the room or in my bag reassures me that ennui can always be kept outside the borders of my mind. A book somewhere close is an emergency exit from loneliness, to the point it exalts it into much cherished solitude.
I always loved books, but since my teens I have found it hard to concentrate, so my reading became messy, sporadic and sloppy. I still can’t concentrate a bit, but the sheer effort of reading makes me feel good, like jogging or cooking or painting. It’s more like manual, not mental, labour for me.
Books are haunting me. I’m not lying. I dream about them. I mean, not characters from the stories, but the books themselves. I wake up thinking about certain books. And I know that the very same day I must compulsively find the book and start reading it, or else I’ll become obsessed. That’s the second reason besides my failure to concentrate for reading so many books at the same time: they compel me to do so, they order me. I’m their eternal slave.
I have no idea where this lifetime love affair with books will lead me. I hope I won’t neglect people because of it. I was never very good with people so, even though I find them more interesting than books, I always ended up reading books anyway. Perhaps it’s my love for people and life that makes me love books so much. They’re not just ink and paper, they breathe, they think, they live. We tell stories because that's all we can do; because elsewise we wouldn't be alive.
I always sleep with a book next to me. I think I can feel its heartbeat.