The pleasure one gets from reading a good book is only understood by a fellow reader. Not caring how you look, forgetting to eat your meals, becoming a complete social retard till the end of the book are all signs of a readaholic. Reading for the sake of reading is dying. Reading the newspaper, reading something work-related, reading to teach your kids or parents is not what I am talking about.
Curling your toes when you read a romance, biting your nails, or sitting on the edge of your seat while you read a thriller, the characters of the book becoming so real that you actually start to care about what happens to them, becoming so engrossed in the book that you laugh and cry out loud according to the story not even noticing the people staring at you thinking that you’re a lunatic, having endless fights with your mother to let you read just one more chapter, staying awake the whole night to finish a novel of thousand pages is what I mean by Reading.
In today’s world of social media and video games, and all other kinds of entertainment, books are taking a back seat. But people don’t know what they’re missing. The magical world of Harry Potter, the unceasing delight that Enid Blyton is, the hair-raising climax of Sidney Sheldon, the evergreen classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Gone With The Wind, and many more can never be substituted with TV and Netflix. I do not want to preach, but I believe that every child should inculcate the habit of enjoying a good read. If we missed this opportunity during our childhood days, then we should try to make up for it in our adult lives.
I once asked my best friend, who, as a matter of fact, is a voracious reader as well as a shopaholic and clothes addict, what her choice would be if she had to give up either books or shopping for a year. First of all, she informed me that she sincerely hoped that she would never have to make such a choice, but she would give up shopping if push came to shove. “Shopping is my therapy, it soothes my frazzled nerves, but reading is neither therapy nor a pastime for me. Books are my lifeline, and they keep me sane in this insane world, they keep me company during my loneliness, inspire me, give me hope and let me believe in the illusion that everything will be all right again. And so I could never give them up even for a day.”
Reading not for bettering ourselves but for the joy of it is dwindling but is that such a tragedy? The fact that reading is a dying habit doesn’t negate that kids of the future generation are becoming smarter day by day. They are more aware of the world’s happenings, formulate opinions, and express them quite succinctly. They are street smart, and they don’t need books for that. In this space and age of technology and connectivity, with the world becoming a global village, people are more interested in keeping up with each other and the world than losing themselves in a book.
People are trying new things and exploring different avenues. They are learning to discover themselves and do that, and they are breaking out of the mold of accepted pleasures and joys, which included reading. Haven’t all parents wanted their child to read regardless of whether they enjoy a good book or not?
Children, I think, have now started to decide from an early age what they feel will bring them joy, and if reading is not it, then so be it. And I think that’s a shame. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on reading. Even if you are not a reader, I urge you to read for at least 10-15 minutes daily. It will deeply impact your life.