Do I have to? Does it really worth reading? And, of course, is it required? No, don’t get me wrong, I love reading and I read every day. But the more I read, the more I understand that such thing as required reading does not exist. Every book is a challenge, every book shapes you and makes you a better man. For me, the moment of picking the new book is so magical and sacred: what could be better than browsing through the Kindle bookstore and, finally, pick the right one? For sure, not downloading the one you’ve been told about.
It is like the medicine prescription. You don’t say: “Shit, man, you haven’t tried Diazepam yet? Maaaaan, you have to! You just have to!” It’s not working like that. When you think about it, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t want my friend to give me a mind-blowing reading when I just need some funny short stories; plus I am not sure if I can trust my friend’s taste. Another problem: do they really mean it, or just trying to be a highbrow? Usually, it is the second one. Nowadays society makes people look and think the same, they even imposing a rhythm of life: finish the school, get a degree (preferably in the field of Law or Economics), start a family, etc. So, every time I thing about “a required reading” I already have some doubts about it.
Few days ago I met an old man in the restaurant in Vientiane, Laos. Soon I figured out that he was a writer. Now, I though, I will have a good book talk. Although… it didn’t work out because we just couldn’t find a connection. Well, we both have read Camus, Sartre, Dostoyevsky, Hesse, etc. But it just wasn’t enough for it is well-known anyway. See, I am not surprised if somebody knows Shakespeare, but I am pleasantly surprised if he can talk about Christopher Marlowe. Does he have to? Not at all. Neither he has to know/read Jorge Luis Borges, Geoffrey Chaucer or François Rabelais. I am not judging him for what he has read, but for what he is now.
Bookworms like to have fun of super religious people (read – fanatics) for they try to find all answers in just one book. Bookworms forget, though, that they do the same, and, what is more, they even try to humiliate others for not knowing books and authors they adore. And THAT sounds ridiculous. Now, if you ask me: “How many books should a man read, and what are the books?”, I would have to say either all or none. Both answers are impossible, so calm down, get some fresh coffee and find a book YOU like.
And if you still need an advice…hm… I would say, cappuccino is the best choice.