When you hear the word “toto,” what is the first thing that comes into your mind? Is it, “Oh yes, I can do that!” Or is it, “Well, all right, but what happens if I don’t succeed?” Most likely, you think of to-do lists, visualization exercises, positive affirmations, and other mind-control methods that are commonly associated with fortune telling. If you think a fortune teller’s predictions about your future accurately in to, it probably means that you agree with everything he says.
In short, toto seems like a foreign language to you. But, in actuality, it’s a simple language, one of the easiest to learn and use. In toto: hiragana, in Japanese, means “that which relates to a person, place, or thing.” In English, that translation translates as, “a book about a person, place, or thing.” Tin man, by analogy, would be the book about the horse, or, more correctly, the book about the horse’s owner.
If you were to translate to English, you would read something like this: In case you choose to listen to the most skillful, most educated horse-owning man in the town, in case you choose to trust his judgment, in case you choose to heed his warnings, in case you decide to follow the counsels he gives you… what will happen? You will read a story that begins like this. You have heard it all before, right? You know the answer. That’s what the toto is all about: connoisseur’s delight.
Or maybe, you might begin with, I heard it all before, but I decided to give it a whirl, to find out for myself if I had indeed heard it all before, and to tell my story to the world as a true and honest to goodness connoisseur of stories. That story, of course, is called “The Book of a Thousand Hills,” and in its proper context (a story about a thousand hills) can be called the ultimate toto. But then, I cannot claim to be a true connoisseur of tots. I don’t have a horse; nor do I own a library. I cannot read every book in its proper context. But that does not mean that I don’t take pleasure in toto books.
To me, a toto is always better than an open window, a blazing fire, or a popcorn popper. ( BTW, I do not recommend watching movies with subtitles, even the good ones.) A toto gives you a full and rich reading experience, one that cannot be replicated by another form of reading. So I challenge you, as a true connoisseur of tots, to step into your mode of tote reading (the one I’ve described above) for a day. After which, try reading other books in the same genre (this time using the proper setting and vocabulary) and determine how much better you feel, knowing that you have experienced a true toto.
Please do not misunderstand me. Reading is an amazing and fulfilling experience. It does not necessarily require to be in a novel, nor does it always require to be set in the real world. It can also take the form of non-fiction books, comics, short stories, poems, etc. But the bottom line is that any reader who does not derive satisfaction from reading (or, at least, enjoying the experience of reading) a tote book, a book the size of a coffee mug, should consider giving it up and starting over: reading something bigger is better.