Annual Rings of Books
I first encountered comic books in the primary school, and reading comic books was a diplomatic strategy to find some common topics with my classmates. Most of the time, the kid whose parents were generous about his pocket money would bring the latest Spiderman, Superman, Thor and Batman. All those Marvel’s and DC’s heroes were to thrill all the students. We talked about them all the time. Reading a comic book was a public activity and brought me some hero-like feeling of justice.
In my middle school there was a library. And it was my library.
At that time, comic books seemed stupid enough for me but they were all right for my classmates, so I went there mainly for something better. The library was very quiet. I was happy that few students came there. I could have the books to myself. I always went there alone. Reading Reader’s Digest became something private. Like the daffodils of William Wordsworth, that was bliss of solitary.
During high school, I was heavily burdened with homework and tests. Reading books was a luxury, and I had to choose something worth reading in order not to waste time. The best way was to follow the list of masterpieces recommended by the teacher. In this manner, Reader’s Digest was no doubt outweighed. Gorge Orwell, Charles Dickens appeared in my composition and helped me get high scores. I found Bacon was right because reading can be used for ornament, as least in my examinations.
The best thing of college is that you always have your time to read. And you don’t have to read for a certain purpose. Suddenly I found my previous concept of reading rather stupid. Just as Oscar Wilde’s art for art’s sake, I began to read for reading’s sake. I chose something I would never thought of before. I read The Heart of Prajna, Paramita Sutra, some poems of Heine in original German and also popular fictions online. I read what I like. I don’t have to pretend to have a very literary taste for books.
All the books, comic books or Notre Dame de Paris, leave marks on me. I was always despising the books I read some years ago, thinking that they were stupid and naïve. But they are like the annual rings of a tree that grows inside me. Some of them are shallow while some are very deep. I should not be ashamed of any of them or try to show them off, because all of them, without discrimination, have become a part of me, lying inside the soul.