Why I Love Reading?
Reading is something we learn to do from an early stage in life. Hopefully our parents have passed it onto us that pleasure of opening up a new book, waiting to discover all manner of mysteries, of hopes, of fears, of joys, of new adventures to be had, even if we are adults by now:-)
For me reading was extra special since I had a lot of difficulty learning to read. The black symbols on the white page seemed overwhelming and all alien to me. I wanted to understand them but no matter how much I tried I could not.
Then…after a LOT of persistence they finally made sense…and then I was using my parents library tickets to extend the number of books I could borrow as a five year old! I loved books, libraries, the row upon row of book shelves, the silence in those days at the libraries.
The smell of leather books was wonderful, opening a new children’s book and seeing all the pretty pictures, some of which I could immediately understand now! I even loved the sound of the library stamper as it stamped when the books were due back!
From there, at primary school, I quickly went through the reading classes from beginner to advanced, almost as if to make up for my initial challenges in learning to read. During primary school I was soon onto the classics, having read most of the great British literature classics by the time I was 10 or 11 years of age. A big challenge and joy was reading the 3 tomes of Lord of the Rings by the age of 11 years.
And so began the lifetime of my love affair with books and reading. I would read secretly at night my Wilbur Smith adventures in Africa stories, when I often could not sleep with my over stimulated mind. I would then drift off into a deep sleep dreaming of tigers, crossing rivers with deadly creatures and then relieved to wake up in my own cozy bed
I loved where any book could take you in your mind, in your imagination. Whenever I had a nightmare, books again would be my friend, soothing and easing me back to a deep sleep.
So that was then. Over the years my love of books and reading has even led me to qualify as a Librarian, managing books and now indirectly to wanting to teach English as a second language, passing on my own passion for both English and reading!
You see my love of books in not just about the physicality of them. It does not stop at their texture, their look and feel but the content within. They represent the words, the depictions of far away events, of feats that I would never dare to carry out, of romances that seem far fetched but ideal.
The beauty, scope and semantics of the English language still holds me in awe. It seems no other form of media can depict so accurately human emotions, a dramatic landscape or the complexity of social interactions in society as some of those literature classics!
In the same manner, no other form of entertainment can instil such hope, even in situations of hopelessness and despair as reading can. Somehow in books, optimism and a way out is possible, there is no finite ending or so it seems. I also find that as I solve the main character’s dilemmas all my own everyday cares and worries disappear completely. It is like having a massage, a mental and physical massage!
Yes, reading takes me to places that ordinary life cannot and does not take me, in a mere second. I can find myself lost in the minds of the characters. I have empathy with the characters as they face untold challenges and adventures, ones that I help them try and solve with my very imaginative mind, now a budding writer myself!
I have even found that reading about the challenges of a particular resilient character in a favorite book has made me more resilient in life and better able to cope with adversity. No other media format does this so well as reading a paragraph of the main character determined to persist in life no matter what the odds or the outcome!
Why I love reading is that when you read just a chapter or two, you feel you have been reading for a whole night. Unlike television and movies, you create the context, the colours that are in “your movie”.
You choose the texture, the sounds, the atmosphere, the dynamics between the main characters, how they react to one another, what each character is thinking beyond the stated dialogue in the text.
Yes, there is something incredibly rich and multi-layered about the process of reading a book. Your mind wrestles with the key themes, associating events and making up your own theories, getting the old grey matter working hard but seemingly effortlessly and oh so joyfully!
Books can also teach you things, practical skills to try out in real life, books can help you see things from a different angle. They can help you make sense of things you have done previously in life. Many authors base their books on their own life experiences and so often this overlaps with the readers.
The reader experiences that wonderful, ahaha moment, where they realize what was happening to them in some past event or why the other person acted or reacted that way to them. In this manner it can be an incredibly cathartic, soothing and reassuring for a person. It helps to see things from either an empathic perspective or an opposite (other mind perspective).
I know how much I love being in the middle of a big, thick volume of a book given that the moment I finish it I seek out my next tome, ready to get immersed into a new set of experiences, emotions and challenges in my head.
Yes reading is something I can strongly recommend to everyone. It helps impress others’ experiences of life, give empathy to your own, new ways of expressing yourself to others, of understanding nuances of communication and emotions, the full range of human experience all in your two hands, in the comfort of your sofa:-)