Life & Arts

So many books, so little time.

Thursday: The cases of COVID-19 begin increasing in Greece. The Greek Government announces that bars and clubs should be closed as precaution measures.

Friday: The increase in cases is starting to accelerate and the Greek Government announces that everything should be closed.

And suddenly everything freezes. The phone has stopped ringing. The annoying and endless work emails as well as all the obligations about it as well. There is now silence and perhaps a disturbing sense of calm.

Sitting on the couch I am confronted with a strong awareness. I finally have free time! It's like someone, so magically, has pressed "paused" in this movie called life. Something new for me as in the past months my daily life was full of work, reading and many many deadlines. The day was definitely full, but I was not.

While all these thoughts are circulating in my mind I feel something looking straight in the soul. I look up and see my library and all the books I have abandoned. They were looking at me, with a complaint. And they were not just looking at me today but every day, every time I passed by them, neglecting them. And instead of rejoicing that I finally have free time to read I start to get stressed. I think that there are so many books in the world that I want to read (except for the 20 something forgotten in my library) but we have so little time.

Choosing between Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, TV series, movies and New Yorker cartoons - how the f*ck do I find the time to read a book?

I do not know how, but let's assume you read 1,000 books in your lifetime. Everything you will ever be able to read fits in a large library. You look at it and you know that these are your limits. You feel small. Time seems short. From the vast knowledge and the infinite journeys, only this small library belongs to you. So we realize that we have to be strictly selective in the books we read. Because with every book we read, our available balance is reduced by one. With each "bad" book, we waste a place in our library for another that might change our lives.

And somewhere here I think that in the end it is not so much the quantity of books we read but also the quality of our reading. How much time we devote to really investing in the character and the subject and seeing the world that the author created, immersing ourselves in it. Away from reality. Away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And it is there, in this deeper part of our mind where we can think freely.

So I wonder, what will your last book be? And who will you be when you read it?

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