The Daydreamer

Books are meant to be read cover to cover, to let the story carefully, but surely unfold as the pages turn, illuminating further truths within. Over the years, I have crafted an alternative method to reading which works somewhat like this: I start reading a book until I become anxious to know what happens next and impatient to find out. I then skip to the end to understand all the initial loose threads and finally, I jump to the middle of the book to make sense of the ending I just read. 

I admit it is a tad nonsensical, but I somehow found it nearly impossible to get through a book without following this method. The unimaginable temptation to simply flip forward in order to reach the conclusion became torture for the impatient reader I am, but I also found that it made reading seem hollow. It never felt like I earned the premature spoilers and seeing the characters develop from beginning to end without any time passing at all made their growth feel superficial. I started to wonder what led me to develop this habit in the first place and it occurred to me that it all hovered around my need for resolution.

My disorganized and confusing method of reading meant I was constantly dissatisfied with the books I read. (Photo by Karuna Chandran)

My whole life, my only goal has been to see into the future, to know exactly what happens next and to do anything in my power to safeguard that future. If I get into an argument, I want it to be resolved as soon as possible and when I am studying for a test, all I want is to take the test and let the stress end. I simply wish I could speed up the clock until things are back to what I am comfortable with. Similarly, with books, it pains me to see my favorite characters go through hardship after hardship. All I want is for them to be happy and I hope that by reading the end, I can avoid the uncertainty that comes with not knowing how situations will resolve. 

What I realized eventually is that life does not simply stop moving or jump ahead just because I want it to and those moments where I have to struggle and fight for what I want are the moments I feel the most pride in myself. They are what give the final results and circumstances value and importance. I had to learn to live with uncertainty and embrace knowing I was doing the best I could, whether it be waiting back from college or trying to grasp physics, and so were the characters I was reading about.  

Now, every time I pick up a book and am tempted to cheat fate, I remind myself that the tension and energy that comes with flipping from one page to the next is why I love to read in the first place. Not knowing exactly what happens next, but to be a part of the journey with my favorite heroes.