If you were to ask me, what is that one book you should read, I would ask in return what is it that you wish to find in that book?
Is it enlightenment? Is it joy? Is it solace?
Do you wish to experience adventures while sunk deep in your comfy chair, or be scared a little while cocooned under the duvet in the secure warmth of your bed?
Or is it that you wish to know the despair of loving someone so out of reach, as deeply as Jane Eyre did, or feel Ishmael’s perplexity at his eagerness for the familiar comfort offered by the exotic Queequeg?
What is it that you wish out of those pages that you cannot get from the late night chats with friends, (the later the night, the wiser they seem), the first sip from a hot mug of black morning coffee, or the surprise bite of red chilli in a Vietnamese spring roll?
Some people read to forget. To escape the mundane, the torturous and its repetition. The dull, the bland, the agony of sameness. To feel alive! To discover something so different it would trap the mind between the pages, even if just for an hour. An hour of strangeness, of peculiarity, of wonderment.
Others search for meaning, scooping a spatula of ideas like putty, to fill the cracks and empty crevices of the mind. Or build bridges between their senses of right and wrong, as if that would be a substitute for actually doing something to rectify it.
What is it that you wish out of those pages that you cannot get from real life that must be fulfilled by this one very special book?
If you were to ask me, that is what I would ask you in return.