The Love of Reading
(By Sumana Singha)
The mere sight of books makes me feel good. They bring a smile to my face. When I touch them, I sense something within me. This something feels like a bond that is eager to grow between me and someone I still don’t know. And the moment I pick a book to read, I know I will have new acquaintances surrounding me, who will become everything for me for a few days. Some might gradually disappear into thin air while others might live within me for the rest of my life. Every time I read a book, I befriend someone; I see myself in someone or I can just completely relate to and empathise with someone. That someone might be a character in a novel or even the author.
At times I wish the author could be my friend. A friend who feels the same way as I feel and whom I could open my heart to. It would not be an exaggeration if one says that the characters in a novel or in a book start to live in our mind. They build their homes within us and influence the way we look at the world around us. They lend their experiences to our lives. Yes, they add to our experiences.
I completely agree with William Styron when he said that,
A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.
I believe reading makes us aware not just of the world around us, but it also makes us aware of our own reality.
Many times, we remain unaware of the subtleties of our feelings. While at other times we might choose to ignore many of our tangled feelings for different reasons. But suddenly one day, we pick up a book, and while reading it, we come across some lines or some phrases, and we realize that those lines or phrases are exact manifestations of our feelings. Of those feelings which we ignored or of those feelings which we thought are just particular to us and no-one else.
At times it feels strange and at times it makes me baffled to think that a person I have never met, or a person who might be dead already, had set down in words what I once felt or what I have been feeling all along. Such wonderful experiences that come with reading usually humble us as well as soothe us. The realization that our feelings, our pain or our troubles are not unprecedented in the history of the world is itself a great achievement. It makes our pain and our troubles look mundane and undeserving of our attention and energy.
Reading is not just an experience of many lives in one lifetime but is also a path towards a transformation.
It was reading that made me realize that life is irrational. It helped me to make peace with many irrationalities of life. And it was reading that made it easier for me to cope with many painful realizations of life. Through reading I was made aware of the existence of many experiences that I was yet to experience. And one day when I myself encountered these situations, the experiences I had read about helped me to to cope with these emotions. I could thus handle the harsh realities of my life better. Reading can truly save you from denying your reality, your heartbreaks and your pain.
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