Living a life through books

Episode 3 – We are who we are

Hello and welcome again. Today, let’s talk about the mirror. OK, not the literal mirror, but the mirror that allows us to look within ourselves and try to discover who we are and what we really like, without fear of judgment from others.  I remember talking to someone years ago about how he loved ABBA but hid the CDs from his friends because they might make fun of him. Similarly with books.  Do you feel that you need to hide your books, in fear that someone may think differently of you?  For starters, I’m in a different spot.  When I started reading Percy Jackson last year, it didn’t matter that I was reading a kids book.  So what? I’m a pediatric dentist, and I’m trying to keep up with my patients and what they read.  What if I weren’t a pediatric dentist?  Would it be acceptable for a 46 year old woman to be reading the 12 and under section?  OK.  We are not talking about people who are learning the language and learning to pick up their reading.  So, what do you think?  I would say, you are who you are and you cannot help it.  Live up to yourself and own yourself.  I feel that’s the only way to happiness.

So, last year, when I was doing this whole exercise, I was reading through the prime books that I had already downloaded in my Kindle.  Basically, Amazon Prime members get to pick one free book a month from their upcoming new releases or something like that.  I get a monthly email and I’ll just see if there’s something there that sparks my interest.  Well, I had a heap of books on my Kindle – still do and that’s what I started with for my reading project.  Interesting enough, as I was reading through the books, I realized that some books were great and held my interest and then others were just a drag.  I apparently had downloaded a romance.  Well, I was reading through this and when I got onto an entire chapter where the hero and heroine make love, I was skipping pages at a rapid rate.  I didn’t realize it would be a chapter.  An entire chapter of making love.  I’m reading and skipping and oh her clothes are still on, and continue reading and skipping and well, long story short, by the time I glanced and skipped and the couple were done, it was the end of the chapter.  That was telling to me.  I was shocked that books these days went into such great detail.  I “think” they do because I skimmed and didn’t fully read the whole chapter.  But come on! Is this book porn?  Is this supposed to turn someone on?  Of course, if it does turn you on, my question would be, why do more men not read romances?  I’m getting off track here.

The thing is that I used to read Danielle Steel in my teens.  Used to.  And then somewhere I grew out of the romance stage and with dental school and all, I got busy.  When I was done with school, Harry Potter was the craze and I joined in.  I did not realize that I enjoyed fantasy.  Here I was, a Harry Potter addict not knowing what genre I was reading.  I also enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha a lot, but somewhere in this reading project, I ran into the book “Artful”, the story of Artful Dodger from one of Dicken’s novels. This was a fantasy with vampires. There was one scene where Artful was trapped by the vampires and he spits on them in spite.  What good would that do?  Well, the vampire reeled back and had a burn mark on his face.  It was later we realize that Artful had drank some holy water or was blessed with holy water and his spit had powers for 24 hours. That’s so cool.  I found it so creative.

It doesn’t really help my life personally, I don’t deal with vampires on a daily basis, but it was so neat. It was after I read Artful that it hit me.  I really enjoyed Vampires and fantasy.  My next book was Inamorata.  The concept of the being that sucks your creative energy and drains you by making love to you or something bizarre.  It was a year ago.  I can’t remember the details, but I remember being enthralled when I read it.

So, in this adventure of reading, I realized that I love the teen fantasy genre the best.  At least for now.  Who knows?  As I get older, that may change.  I read the Clockwork trilogy by Cassandra Claire.  And I find myself lost in the teen fantasy section of Barnes and Noble. If I ran into someone who knew me, would I be embarrassed that I wasn’t reading “adult” books.  I don’t mean “adult” adult.  I mean, more mature books.  Again, it’s a matter of who you are and who you see in the mirror.  Might as well accept it and move forward with it.

I know some people are strangely embarrassed to read motivational books.  Somehow, the words motivational, implies an existing weakness. Why should it?  And even if it did, what does it matter.  I think it’s strong for a person who chooses to grow through reading rather than someone who thinks they are amazing and knows it all. Isn’t there always room for improvement?

Motivation and self help is a category I enjoy immensely.  Some books are repetitive but I’ve come across some new concepts in one of the books I was reading.  In You are a Badass, most of the concepts were stuff I had heard of before, but then there was the chapter about the self-deprecating jokes.  Apparently, we are not supposed to do it.  I guess our brain gets tricked into believing our jokes and acting according to our weakness.  I did not know that.  I’m always up for self-deprecation, so reading that book was the kick in the ass I needed.

Now, I don’t care what you think of me because of my choice of books and I feel you guys shouldn’t give a rat’s hoot about what other’s perception is of the books you read.  Your goal.  Your issue.  The end. Keep plugging along with reading and you too may soon open your eyes to respecting your true self.

Thank you for listening. This is Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with living a life through books, signing off. and remember to water the seeds within you. It’s time.

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