Recently I have been trying to understand my obsession with books. I can’t remember a time when I did not read; from the worn M&Bs and Harlequin books that made the rounds back in secondary school, to the excited chatter among my friends and I, my taste buds grew and evolved from there to more meaty tales — crime thrillers, hardcore police procedural to sci-fi and everything in between. I developed a very voracious appetite for books and read like my life depended on it. I can say a very large percentage of who I am now is owed to the books I have read.
Back in Uni, my friends didn’t understand how after all of the stress of reading and preparing for exams, on the last day of exams, I’m picking a new novel to read. I’m supposed to not be able to stand the sight of another book for the next two weeks! But I never saw it that way because reading was a way for me to unwind, and still is. I can’t explain it, it just is. Getting lost in another world unnerves and relaxes me. They thought I was weird.
With books, you are drawn into this dance; could be any dance style depending on the kind of book it is, a dance that transcends space and time and for the moment you are flipping those pages, you are moving to the tunes and the pace set by the author. It’s enrapturing and you let the author lead you where they may. You experience an amazing connection with the characters and their lives and more often than not, you recognize bits of yourself in them.
Books explode the boundaries of your mind. You see no limitations, endless opportunities and concepts you would otherwise think are unimaginable become imaginable. It allows you to explore the depths of your imagination. Whatever kind of book it is — fiction, non-fiction, an auto biography — opens your mind to a lot of possibilities.
Books broaden and deepen your knowledge and then you would realize that the knowledge you glean from extensive reading, become a bank from which you draw to make powerful and persuasive arguments that resonate with people.
For some, a book is a way of escape. It has been that for me at different points in my life. In this often crazy world, with all of the realities staring you in the face, I find books a source of catharsis for me.
A good book is a gift that keeps giving…
I have never gotten this from movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies and I enjoy them. I can’t count how many movies I have watched that has changed my perspective on important aspects of life. I have watched movies that have messed with my mind and left me in awe. But with books, it’s a different feeling.
Books are longer, hence this affords you a longer time to get drawn into the story. And you are the sole person responsible for whatever kind of imagery you create when you read. For example, the author writes, “…and Peter went through the door to discover that…”. Now, the word “door”; I can see a wooden, red door with black door knobs, you might see a mahogany door with golden door handles, you might think it has stripes on it, or just plain coloured. And you don’t necessarily have to pause to picture what kind of door it is, you just see it. It occurs in a split second because you are moving along with the story; kind of like you are sitting on Peter’s shoulders. It’s a fulfilling experience. This might be a simplistic example but you get the idea.
This is why my heart breaks a little when I meet someone who says they don’t read, with not an iota of remorse. I don’t get it. I agree that books can be time consuming and more often than not, we have a lot of things competing for our attention — biggest of which is social media, but that’s not why we are here — but the benefit of reading isn’t something we should miss. And the time spent reading is never a waste. Great and visionary thinkers/leaders are readers.
Reading is the way out of ignorance and road to achievement. – Ben Carson (Think Big)
- If you think auto biographies are boring, then by all means find that which interests you and work your appetite from there.
- And don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. You don’t have to read five chapters daily or finish a book in two days. Pace yourself. A chapter a day is fine until you are able to get into the rhythm of things and then books become enjoyable and not a chore.
- Audio books are a good alternative. That smartphone is good for audio books, not everytime Facebook. You can download audio books to listen to while you are stuck in traffic or stuck at the bus stop waiting for the bus to get full. This is a good way to pass time and feed your mind as well.
- Turn off your phones, and other digital devices once in a while (I recommend at night, after a long day. Rather than check how many likes your Facebook post got, relax with a book before you go to bed). I promise you, you will not die.
So what’s the point of this? Books are great. There are whole worlds hidden between the pages of books. Ideas and concepts you may never find if you don’t crack open a book to look. I love books and you have won my heart if you give me a good book as a gift (Hint: Christmas is around the corner. wink wink).
I have made a decision to read more extensively and widely and I am now already on that path, so help me God.
Do you love books? Do you read because it’s a necessary evil? What kind of books do you read? Or maybe you think books are overrated? Let me know your thoughts in the box below.
PS. This started out as just writing about my relationship with books and then I started giving tips and carrying out a survey. Lol.