I am presently reading Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This is my first reading of Flaubert, my second for Kafka and Austen, and hopefully before this month is over, I shall have finished all three books. I have made the resolution to purchase new books at least once every two months, and if my funds fall short, consider borrowing some from the café across the street, whose owners have a decent collection displayed on shelves. I have just realized that if I can spare money for new clothes or new bags, or my periodic visits to the salon, I can spare some for new books, too.
Last Saturday, Sora, Estee, and I set an afternoon rendezvous at some mall café, and as usual I was the first to arrive. Some minutes into my waiting, I was becoming fidgety and bored, and starting to hate the fact that I kept on glancing at my cell phone every ten seconds. So I left my table and started to walk through some of the shops.
At the center of the mall, a pageant was held that afternoon and a small crowd had gathered facing the stage. It was a search for SUPERMOM 2007, or something like that, and I was momentarily amused that these mothers were sauntering down the stage in sparkling bridal gowns, living out perhaps, their deepest fantasy these days: to be the blushing brides they once were. I passed by the spectacle shaking my head, and checking out my cell phone for the millionth time.
My friends were still stuck in the middle of traffic, and out of increased boredom, I went inside a bookstore and bought a new book without a second thought, even when I had no initial plans of buying anything whatsoever that afternoon. There goes again my compulsion for buying anything that strikes my fancy every time I’m bored to tears. The last time my friends had been late for our afternoon merienda; I bought a new top and a skirt without hesitation, as if I was planning such a purchase for weeks. Last year when my boyfriend and I were having one of our weekly spats, I took refuge in a bookstore and bought an Umberto Eco book, which I have yet to finish reading until now, for five hundred painful bucks. And more than once, I shopped for bags in a downtown boutique, a spur of the moment kind of thing, simply because I was too fed up with work and wanted some kind of release.
I ended up giving the skirt to another friend because I never found reason to wear it, and the bags, well; I ended up having too many bags in my small closet. But when I bought Madame Bovary last Saturday, I felt victorious at having chosen to buy a piece of literature; which is something more timeless than a piece of article subject to the caprices and dictates of erratic fashion. Finally, a purchase that will sit by my bedside table for many years to come, one with a quality that will never depreciate ( if I cover it properly or if it doesn’t get wet or burned), something which I may be able to share with my future children and grandchildren over steaming cups of dark chocolate long years from now (not necessarily Madame Bovary, though). Someday, I know I would get to finish Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco, after so many useless attempts. The fashion victim in me has given up, and the voracious reader has willfully taken over, after considerable rumination.
Hopefully, I’d be able to fill up my library in no time.