Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out during my final semester of engineering. Kinda weirdly fitting, you might say. But the truth is, I was not a Potterhead then. I was more like a Potterear or a Pottereye, whose reading list had other books and had always oddly dismissed the Harry Potter series (my apologies to all, but please keep reading). I listened to and watched the crazed Potterheads clawing their way to the bookshops or ordering the final book and in general, behaving like the disastrously deranged. I liked the series, but I had until then read about two books (not in order – I read the 3rd one then the 6th one and a bit of the 4th one), so I watched with amusement. But after the final book was read, and silence descended upon the muggle world, I decided to give it a go. I read all seven books in one sitting – I rarely got up from my seat for several days, at the end of which my transformation to Potterhead was complete. It was a strange feeling – when at once so much awesome falls on you that you don’t know what to do once you’re done.
I felt empty, vacant and drained of all emotion after finishing the books. I still lived in a world where there was magic and all things glorious. Being a misanthrope of sorts, the muggles looked even more annoying to me than they had before.
To get over all that emptiness, I rushed into the arms of another book. The hapless book that came into my hands was none other than the American classic To Kill A Mockingbird. It may have been a great book. Or not. Truth is, I don’t remember a word of it. I read it while still book-hungover, and a book without Hogwarts just seemed pointless. Rebound is always a terrible idea.
You see, reading books is a lot like being in a relationship. Without extending this analogy further, I’ll just say I was a serial bookagamist for most part of my life. All that was before though. Once I realized, I was behind on my reading, I began to read like a crazy person – picking up two and three books at the same time – reading all – absorbing the worlds of none.
See now, that’s what cheating does to you. Like any cheater, I am gonna make excuses and say the book just happened to be there when I was or the cover was seductive or I was drunk or I am gonna blame it on my Zodiac sign.
Then I ordered this box set – yet another 7 book series. I knew with my new box set, cheating would be a no-no. Despite the fact that this series urged me to
“Go then. There are other worlds than these.”
I decided not to. I did not want to. I wanted to live in this world, much like I had lived in another seven-book wonder back in 2008. This strange world where the world had moved on, time was a face on water and the last gunslingers walked the earth.
Yes, I read The Dark Tower series. Stephen King’s magnum opus, his most ambitious work, grand enough to tower over The Lord Of The Rings (or so he states was his aim).
I did not start out by abandoning everything. But the more I read, the more involved I got, and the less aware I became of the real world. There were other books calling out to me, from my Kindle, from my bookshelf and everywhere else; the cheater in me was tempted, very, very tempted. But I did not give in. I exiled myself into Roland’s world, that I bid goodbye to my blogs (I wrote just one post that I absolutely had to – it was for a cause). I bid goodbye to micropoetry games on Twitter, I stopped reading other blogs (may I mention here that a lot of hate-filled blogs have suddenly cropped up and there’s just so much filth frothing around in the blogging world?), I even muted most of my WhatsApp groups. I decided against participating in TOI Write India’s short story competition for the month because, though I had a story in mind, I did not want to come out of Roland’s world long enough to get into the world of my story. I stopped listening to music. The man of the house dragged me to watch The Martian, a great movie which I would have enjoyed under normal circumstances, but during this time, all I did was stare at my watch every few minutes. I sort of split my mind’s focus into two, such that one part of it stayed firmly in Roland’s world (let’s call it the ROM) and the other focused on the movie, fleetingly enough to make me forget it as soon as I stepped out of the cinema hall (let’s call this the RAM).
In short, I didn’t give a shit if there were other worlds than these.
This post is not going to be a review (I hope you’re not regretting reading this far). Like I mentioned before, I need to clear my head a little and stop nitpicking and making notes. I have also mentioned before that I have mixed feelings about King’s writing. While his prose may sound too straightforward to hardcore litterateurs (I personally have no problems with it, though I know some people who do), you have to admit whatever he writes, it’s gripping, to say the least!. That takes skill. I’ve read a lot of fantasy/horror/scifi over the years but only few have been captivating enough.
Sure, there were some predictable bits, and some parts that were King-I-Will-Kill-You-If-You-Don’t-Speed-Up-A-Bit slow, but I am in such a benevolent mood that I can only say this series was good (sorry about the struck out words; I have a problem, I am working on it). The Dark Tower should be more popular than it is; I don’t get why it isn’t as popular as any of the other gazzillion series out there. King’s fertile imagination has created worlds, worlds within worlds, portals between worlds, wizards, bears, robots and whatnot. I feel like greeting everyone I meet as “sai.” It is not breathtakingly marvellous oohlala, but it is good, the amount of imagination that has gone into it is commendable.
This post is to let everyone know that I have returned from my self-imposed exile. It took me this long because I did not have the luxury of being jobless as I was in 2008 – I am, unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, considered an adult now, and that, along with a myriad of shit, comes with limited reading time. I don’t know which poor book will bear the brunt of being my rebound this time, but I cannot begin to get back into the game. There are so many books waiting, after all, and I am quite the Barney Stinson of the world of reading! Am I book-hungover? Not so much, really.
PS: “Go then. There are other worlds than these.” is a quote from the first book. It still breaks my heart when I think of the scene in which it was spoken.
PPS: The working title for this post was “How books are like relationships” I edited a whole lot out of it.
PPPS: You know what, if you were following me on Instagram, you would have already known from the title of this post which series I was referring to and would not have needed to read the post at all. Gotcha, sucker! Now go follow me on Instagram.
PPPPS: I am working on a new blog – who wants to guess what it’s about!
PPPPPS: I am BACK, BLOGOSPHERE!