In session, I asked one of my clients if she wanted to read some material on a therapeutic tool that could help her in her marital relationship. She was interested, and I suggested she buy the book and after reading it, have it lying around for her family members to read. She started to laugh, saying no one in her in-law’s house ever read anything. They preferred to watch inane serials and news on television. They did not read the daily newspaper or any magazine.
This information was quite surprising for me, because I am a voracious reader. How can someone not read? But then I cannot be judgmental. I started to ask around out of curiosity, how many people actually read? The responses were mixed. Some read the newspaper, but nothing else. Some read weekly, fortnightly or monthly magazines, but not the newspaper. Some told me they are saving trees from being cut down and made into paper by not reading.
Reading habits have changed over the years. People are getting into e-books and reading has turned digital! Technology has taken over this area too. But can technology give the pleasure of holding a good book, turning the pages, reading and re-reading, and also sometimes using the books as pillows? Book fairs do attract a lot of enthusiasts and you can spot a true, blue blooded reader by the way he/she handles the books. Some get sensual pleasure in caressing the books.
Book clubs have come up and organizers say the membership is increasing. There are book reading sessions and also help for launch of new books. New authors are being encouraged and literary fests are happening. One was held recently in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It was a resounding success.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “ Learning is a weightless treasure you can always carry easily”. A book lover will totally agree.
Apart from gaining knowledge, reading a book is a great way of spending holidays and a lazy afternoon. I hate being disturbed when I am reading. But invariably the phone rings or the door bell. The intrusion of the real world can be irritating then.
I am waiting to introduce books to my grandson. For him, right now a book is meant to tear pages. He is ten month old and he has a story book all his own. He loves the book, it has glossy pages and he keeps thumping his palms on them. He has torn a page, I hope he will develop a bit more interest as he grows. It will be great to introduce him to the concept of reading story books. A whole, different, fascinating world is waiting for him.
A young girl told me she loves reading her history books, though she does not score well in that subject. Maybe she likes the stories, but cannot remember the data required for her to score! Reading can be in any language. There are great writers who write in different languages and who have a wealth of either creativity or information to share. No language is inferior or superior. The art of writing poetry really amazes me. It is a natural art.
Some people prefer to own the books they read. They buy them no matter how expensive. I prefer to take from libraries. Books need to be shared, not stored. It is great to browse in libraries and choose the books you want to borrow. You can read so many excerpts on the back pages before you make your choice. And when you find more books that you have to absolutely read, but can borrow only a fixed number, the choice can be difficult and agonizing! Of course you can return the books that are read and borrow those that you had to leave behind. But they could be missing in the shelf, someone else could have borrowed them. What a disappointment.
Libraries are great places to spend time. Also book stores. You may or may not buy a book at the book store, but the pleasure of just browsing can be understood only by a book lover. Some people love shopping for trinkets, clothes, jewelry, etc. I love being amidst books.
Some people decide when they retire they will catch up with all their reading. That may not be a great idea. Why postpone the pleasure? Make time to read at least a few pages everyday. Find time, enjoy in small measures if you are really busy. It is a great stress buster. A gentleman used to read occasionally, but of late he cannot be seen without a book. He was under tremendous stress and found that reading really helped.
Today is World Book Day. A day for all book lovers. A day to renew the passion and enjoyment. For a true book lover though, all days are book days. The size or weight does not matter.