Give Them Back

Reader’s Block
by Ben Huberman
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?

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My first book: I still remember it. It was Hans Andersen Tales. With it, I discovered a whole new realm, and I was the explorer. My elder brother lent it to his friend. I never got it back.

My collection of books grew. All the books by Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, Naseem Hijazi, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, PG Woodhouse joined my bookshelf. There were so many others whose names I have forgotten now.

With father’s death, we shifted to uncle’s house, as he became our guardian. From uncle’s home my marriage took place. I never got my earlier books back again.

There was a long stretch in between. Books came back in my life, once Peshawar became a permanent home. Most of them are second hand, no hard covers, unlike my first collection of new, hardcover books. Most of the books are by Judy Picoult, Bapsi Sidhwa, and Imrana Ahmed.

Between books Woman’s Weekly UK (for cooking, and knitting), Woman and Home (UK), Good Housekeeping (US), Needlework and Craft (US), Stitch Craft (UK), kept me company.

One relative took a large collection of my beloved Woman’s Weekly, and Stitch Craft. They reside in her home now permanently. Once or twice I asked for them. Didn’t get them back. I stopped buying them, cause I knew they will eventually shift to the relative’s home.

People you think are reasonably good, turn out to be book thieves. They take your books, and that’s the last you see them.

If you remind the book thieves, they say the next time they come, they will remember to bring them back.

Fed up with a friend’s excuses, I went unexpectedly to her house. When I got up to leave (inside I was gloating with glee at getting my books back), I asked for my books.

Without a change of expression, she came out, “Oh! Sorry I lent them to my friend………blah, blah”.

My ears started ringing. I was speechless. I desperately tried to control my anger, and despair. I felt like kicking her. It would have been very satisfying. I knew I would never see those books again.

Here, I get to read a variety of books from the Fort Bend Library. Recent favorites are: in science fiction- books by Ben Bova, and light fiction- books by Carolyn Brown. Ben Bova writes about future habitats in space.

One happy ending is reading e-books on IPad. No one can borrow them or take them from you.

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