Saturday, April 6, 2013

Smorgasbord:Weekend Read, Orange Afternoons, Jethro Tull

My reading life covers a broad spectrum of fiction and negligible non-fiction that includes only biographies. I read purely for the joy of discovering new stories and newer insights, and the continual amazement of how words can be stringed together to evoke varied emotions. But i want to do a little more than flip pages to find the next twist in the tale; and want my reading to enhance and diversify my perspective of the world around me. I want to develop critical thinking and form sound opinions of my own rather than inanely agree to those of others. Not long ago it was a painful realization that i had only inserted 'packaged opinions' in my mind. Writing (or blogging) had changed that as I can gather and give some shape to my thoughts when I write them down. Despite the participation in numerous debates in school, I am unable to formulate convincing arguments and raise essential questions about the things I read and hear. So this weekend, two decades late into my reading life, I have picked up 'How To Read A Book' by Mortimer J.Adler in the hope of getting more out of the books I read and increase my curiosity and understanding of a variety of topics.
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Nowadays, between four and six pm, the day takes on a warm orange hue. Outside my window, the leaves are yellowish-green and the warmth encompasses the red-brick houses too, converting their shabbiness into a rustic charm. The faces in the crowd has taken on the warm sheen of freshly baked biscuits. The sun lingers in the sky suffusing it with orange arteries and the impatient sliver of  a pale moon is already visible over the distant grove of trees. A pair of crows fly soundlessly, spiralling around the coconut tree adjacent to the window. Somewhere just beyond my field of vision the cuckoo melodiously leads a noisy lot of birds. I take in the unassuming and quiet beauty of this orange day; and you come in and reverberate in the sudden tranquillity of my thoughts.
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A friend, who knew my penchant for soulful and understated lyrics, had gifted me Jethro Tull CDs a few years ago, citing that they are lyrical gods whom I must hear. I wasn't an immediate convert. But lying awake in the dark and still hours, the words and the flute grew on me. Here is one of my favorites:

'Fire At Midnight' by Jethro Tull

I believe in fires at midnight
When the dogs have all been fed.
A golden toddy on the mantle
A broken gun beneath the bed.
Silken mist outside the window.
Frogs and newts slip in the dark
Too much hurry ruins the body.
I'll sit easy, fan the spark
Kindled by the dying embers
Of another working day.
Go upstairs, take off your makeup
Fold your clothes neatly away.
Me, I'll sit and write this love song
As I all too seldom do
Build a little fire this midnight.
It's good to be back home with you.

1 comment:

Sujith Abraham said...

Despite its dumb title, Adler's book is a real guide to everyone who wants to be a serious reader. Though it is geared more towards the non-fiction works than fiction, there are sections where you can find useful information. If you are looking to read fiction criticaly, may I reccomend to How to Read Literature like a professor (https://www.google.com/search?q=%22How+to+Read+Literature+like+a+Professor%22)

Looking forward to see your thoughts on how you find this book in your quest to be a good reader to reach "sound opinions".