Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are you spineless???

David McKie at the Guardian Books muses about his ‘uncontrollable urge to seize the nearest magnifying glass and try to decipher the titles’ from the spines of books in a photograph.

Do you have this intense urge to reach for the nearest sharp instrument and use it to scratch your body parts, which in other words can be termed an itch – now imagine that we bibliophiles have a similar feeling when seeing books anywhere ;only with double the intensity.
I have known people to wade through the ocean of people in Mumbai local trains only to find out the title of the book being read by the last person seated at the last window seat near the exit.
Also if the DVD you had borrowed from your local DVD store suddenly starts imitating a mouse – with squeaks ; I am sure that there would be at least one guilty person who seeing a book featured in the movie would have hit the FF and RW buttons a few hundred times.(remember ‘Crime and Punishment’ in ‘Matchpoint’?)
Old houses with books, libraries, bookshelves in any building form other parts of this serpentine queue of obsession.

But this saga of the spine-obsessed continues to haunt those who are not.
As is evident from one of the comments ‘How about just reading 'em and shutting up about it?’ to which comes the apt reply ‘Down in the antipodes, we have something called the "tall poppy syndrome". Means that anyone who takes a risk and tries to be interesting gets shot down. Guess it happens in the northern hemisphere too. WHY shut up about it? What's wrong with conversation?’

As for me I keep looking at any books hovering in the background until the person in front feels that I am more interested in inanimate objects rather than the conversation ,wish I could say, ‘Yeah, please take the hint!’ .

(Update: Much thanks to Lotus Reads for this site.Very interesting)


Phish said...

your last point made me laugh out loud. i don't remember how many times i have been distracted by similar backgrounds. i am a smelller of books though. if i don't like the smell, i don't read it.

with your permission, i would like to add your blog as a 'stop' on mine.

iz said...

I've erad about tall poppie syndrome. Actually one of those racy novel things thatrelates it to 3 gorgeous successful women-you get the picture right?

Chimera said...

another new obssession to add..
smelling books.
of course, go ahead and blogroll me, always glad when ppl do that :)

that is indeed very much like the tall poppy syndrome :)

Anonymous said...

exactly... whats wrong with conversation :)

now... i need to figure out what tall poppie syndrome is... ignorance is a great excuse :)

Manish. said...

Whenever I visit your blog.. though not often.. I wonder if I know you? You keep changing... as you aptly Quote from Alice in....

Further.. You must subscribe to a GPS service (Global Positioning system) so that you can be traced out.

A Reader from India said...

Thanks for the interesting link - I empathize completely. Also interviews of authors sitting in their studies, the walls of which are lined with books and more books. I could stare forever!

accidental diva said...

Oh I'm guilty of being the person who would rewind a movie just to check out the title of the book!!!:)

Gr8 post:)

Chimera said...

indeed it is,esp. when they do not ask us to stop conversing on the said subject.

i think u have found a great way to keep track of me, others keep searching in vain for my profile on orkut :)

@a reader frm india
did u see those fotos featured in the guardian books blog?

@accidental diva
ah, of all the obsessions mentioned in this post, i am guilty of exactly the same thing that u have.

Crouching Tigress said...

Oh mi Gawd! I always fall into trouble trying to check out titles of books being read by someone around. And around here, if its a book in English, I get even more enthusiastic..I must be such a pain! If its a book I've read/want to read/heard about/discussed..I have all these expressions and I talk to myself even. Ok. I'm done.

Chimera said...

@c. tigress
ah, i can imagine ! i still remember noticing someone reading 'Shantaram' on a train in Italy and the person staring at me, perhaps he was thinking that i hail from Mumbai !

Anil P said...

I must admit that there have been times when I've kept a list of books I came across in the hands of people I saw riding the public transport.

Samudraa said...

smelling the books,isnt that as exciting if not more.

Chimera said...

@anil p
can u please let me a sneak preview of the list, puleeeeze

ah, don't remind me of the smell, which is one main reason I love 'Blossoms'

Lotus Reads said...

Great post, Chimera!

Someone has turned "over the shoulder reading" into a project of sorts, it's called "Seen Reading" and you can take a look at it here:


I am always curious about books people read and most times, to the great embarrassment of my family, I walk up to virtual strangers and ask them about their books...made a lot of friends that way...it's amazing how most people are super enthusiastic to chat about their books!

~RAUL~ said...


am lost as always....again !!!

Chimera said...

@lotus reads
thanks soooooooo much for the wonderful link, i'm updating the blog with the link..
so when r we bumping into each other with a book? : )

don't try too hard :)

Lotus Reads said...

I hope we will soon, Chimera, do you ever come to Toronto on work?

Chimera said...

@lotus reads
wish I could come to Toronto but currently all my proejcts are in US :(