In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self – Proust.

I’m currently reading this book called a Tale for The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It’s taking me forever to get through because I keep having to socialize and sleep and do all those other life things that get in the way of reading. It’s a really unusual book that I eventually had to investigate using Google because its written in a ‘what if’ fashion. As in, the author imagines that she is faced with a certain scenario and writes out what she thinks would happen if such a thing came to pass. I was totally confused at the beginning and had a hard time figuring out whether it was fiction or not.

It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read because Ozeki’s fictional characters have complicated, raw emotions which the reader can recognize and relate to. I keep having to mark pages so that I can go back and reread or look up things she mentions. It feels like I’m learning a major life lesson by reading this fictional book. But I think Ozeki anticipated this reaction because she quotes Marcel Proust: In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self.

It feels like I’ve been let in on a big secret. Like I’ve leveled up as a reader or something. I wonder if other readers reach a stage in their life where they realise that some books make you learn more about yourself than the topic about which it is written.

The funny thing is, I borrowed it from my local library because I liked the title. It was a total coincidence that I happened to glance at that aisle, and pick up this book. I wanted something that would capture my attention completely and give me a break from the real world. But instead it’s helping me deal with what’s happening in my life at the moment.

Ultimately, that’s what I look for in a good book. Something which helps me alter my perspective. That’s the whole point for me. Ruth Ozeki does this. It’s probably because she’s a Zen Buddhist priest and she’s managed to suck up some of that wisdom Alan Watts talks about. She’s come into my life, like Nao has come into the fictional Ruth’s life. She has contributed to the way I act and live my life. Which is a pretty big fucking deal for someone who lives halfway across the world and will never know the impact her writing has had on me.

Anyway, the funny thing is that her character talks about writing a blog that no one read which is just one of the few things I relate to. Her character raises the oh-too-real point about the whole blogging community. A lot of the time we use these websites as another space where we can say what we want without really listening/reading what others have to say. Which sorta defeats the purpose in my opinion. I prefer to read rather than write. But sometimes it’s nice to get things off your chest without having to deal with people in person.



One thought on “In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self – Proust.

  1. Pingback: #14 “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki | My Infernal Imagination

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