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On Reading Books

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by HariLakhera, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    On Reading Books

    “Pothi Padh padh jug mua, pandit bhaya na koi,

    Dhai Akshar prem ka padhe so pandit hoi”

    Kabir

    (Loosely translated- one does not become a scholar by reading many books, one becomes a scholar by learning the meaning of the word PREM (Love)

    These days, there is so much to read. Whatsapp University is flooding us with all types of Jyana. Facebook and other internet sites including this very group add to our ‘knowledge’. Then, of course, there is Google Baba who has answers to all our queries to satisfy our hunger for knowledge.

    The question is does it make any difference in our thinking or behavior or we read because we have to obtain some knowledge for performing some worldly activities or simply for time pass or enjoyment?

    They say you are what you read. Our reading habits change with time. Starting with fairy tales as children, detective stories as teens, romantic novels as young, intellectual, professional and philosophical books as adults and finally spiritual books as seniors, the pattern was quite apparent. There might have been some overlapping in between or maybe happening even now but this, as my experience says, is the general chronology.

    So as children we believed in fairy tales, as most girls do and in warrior kings and adventure stories as most boys do. As teenagers we were inquisitive to know ‘what next?' in those detective stories and novels. As young, we pretended to be the hero or heroine of the romantic story or novel we read. As adults, we were more in intellectual, professional and philosophical leaning with little room for fairies, warriors, detectives, romantic couples. We started reading serious stuff on history, politics, and sociology and so on. Now as seniors we are more in spiritualism.

    I am not sure to what extent our reading habits at different stages in life helped us in molding our personality, thinking and attitude. Maybe, we are the sum total of what we read, learned and observed. Maybe, we are what we needed to be to survive and not what we read.

    Some of us might still be interested in and reading all types of books. Some may be interested in a particular genre of subjects. If that be so, a person reading detective stories may become a criminal or a crime detective or a criminal lawyer. Then there are good books and bad books. One reading good books will be good and others reading bad books will be bad.

    Or of a person who did not read at all. If reading makes us what we are, what about the person who does not know how to read. There have been many unlettered or not much-educated persons who made this world a better place to live. And there have been many who remained on the other side of the law who make this world a living hell.

    Reading broadens our horizons but so does traveling. Reading shapes our personality but so does observing. Reading of spiritual books by itself has no meaning if we cannot learn and comprehend and imbibe the in our life what we read.
     
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  2. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you. Earlier I used to read a lot but of late no patience to read books.
     
  3. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    We read for three reasons: For pleasure, for profit and third out of compulsion.We read out of compulsion our schoolbooks though creative teachers can turn that into pleasure. Then we read for pleasure and reading for profit comes into picture only when you first derive pleasure from your reading
     
  4. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Hariji,
    Yes. Different kind of books at different ages. As a child we do not start with....what am I going to learn from it. For pleasure. If we find pleasure we read one after another. It increases imagination, creativity and entertainment. Dr. Suess mainly wrote for kids. He does not have kids if his own. Somebody asked him "Why do you write?" His reply.....you have kids and I would entertain them with my books!!! Very true.
    School books...we have no option if we like them or not. We have to. In the end we are introduced to many subjects.Ultimately we gain knowledge which is useful to us in our career and becomes a passion.
    Other books....one reads because they want to. No reason or logic behind it. It is a habit, obsession or even addiction (addiction may be a strong word which is used for negative things and in my view reading is not a negative trait). They cannot live without reading. Do not count profit or loss.
    Syamala
     
  5. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Kudos to your incisive analysis. You had convincingly brought out the essential difference between mere reading and studying.

    2.Reading is for some time - pass and knowledge. But knowledge generated and disseminated of various kinds are seemed to be commercially oriented with an eye on bottom line and to provide some pleasure and pain.
    3. In intro to vocal of Bhaja Govindam song by late Ms , late Sir Rajaji said if when knowledge obtained by reading is not transformed into Bhakthi, such (reading) knowledge is useless.
    Thanks and Regards.
    God has bestowed humans with faculties to gather knowledge and utilise to serve humanity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
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  6. ramasala

    ramasala Silver IL'ite

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    Bacon said, “Reading maketh a full man; writing an exact man, and conference a ready man.” Reading is an essential basic skill building activity. One’s language fluency is determined by the quality of reading. Besides, vocabulary enrichment, ideas collection, familiarization with different types of writing formats, speaking fluency, etc, all depend upon reading. In all cultures and civilizations, much stress is laid on reading.

    However all are not inclined to read books.
    There are two kinds of people—the one who loves reading books and the one who doesn’t read at all. Most of the time, these two kinds have ideas that clash also. The one who loves reading books always justify his or her passion while those that don’t like reading books always argue about why they disdain this popular pastime.

    For people who are avid readers, reading books is definitely a relaxing activity but for those who do not like reading at all, they consider it as a boring pastime. Reading books, for them, is intended only for school or work purposes; they do not really enjoy doing it. Most of the time, those who hate reading books only do it for the sake of passing book reports and literary analyses. Instead of reading books, they’d rather be on the fields playing or at home facing the computer browsing the Internet for stuff. Reading has never been appealing to them.
    Time is gold; that’s what people who hate books always say. Instead of reading books, they have a lot of things that needed to be done first. Reading books is a time waster, that’s what they say; they do not have enough time to sit whole day and concentrate on books because there are a lot of stuff that should be done. And with many books being adapted into TV series or movies, they would rather sit for an hour or two to watch them rather than read the book. Reading really takes time, not unless you are the fastest reader on earth, and that’s one of the reasons why some people avoid books.

    For avid book lovers, reading books can melt away the stress and help them turn a bad day into a good one. Reading books can provide an avenue for relaxation and it is an ideal way of unwinding after going through a tough day. Reading definitely relaxes the mind. Studies have also revealed that people who read books before going to bed fall asleep more easily and soundly compared to those who do not read. Do you want to have a goodnight sleep? Then make it a habit to read books before sleeping.


    Although books are still one of the most effective methods of providing an experience (narrative, intellectual, etc.) for an audience, they are far from the most efficient way to transmit information. For curious people who love to learn new facts, ideas, and happenings, the internet provides the most rapid, direct, and accessible means for learning. One might argue that a book could provide a deeper or broader kind of learning, which may be true for some, but for those with intense levels of impatient curiosity, there is nothing like the internet. They can hop through dozens of Wikipedia pages in the blink of an eye or spend hours on Quora, rather than being restricted to the whims of the Author.

    People who are not in favour of reading argue that reading restricts their learning. From the front cover to the back, they almost feel like the author's captives..

    We, human beings, are basically lazy. When there were less sources to get entertainment from, regular people used to read books and live the life of the characters vicariously and get pleasure by doing so. Now, we are in an era when we have televisions, tech savvy ones have modern gadgets with Internet on them, we have movies, we have other sources to get entertainment from, well visual entertainment.

    When we read something, we actually inadvertently visualize scenes in our mind and relate them with read words to comprehend the meaning of them. When we are watching a movie, or watching a programme or news on TV, or watching a video on YouTube, we are getting entertained with less effort as visualization of what is stated is already done by others. Why will you then spend your energy to read something and comprehend the meaning of the words by visualizing scenes in your mind? This is true for most of us.
    In summary, people who do not enjoy reading are probably not very adept at imagining. Often this is not caused by a lack of intelligence,but out of laziness.
    ramasala
     
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  7. hermitcrab

    hermitcrab Gold IL'ite

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    You have explained reading! Very nicely written
     
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  8. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Your are very right Ma'm. At my age I am very selective now. Gone are the days when I could finish a 500 page book in 5 days or less. It takes any number of days now. But somehow I finish it sooner or later. The important point is grasping the contents. That is where the problem is.
     
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  9. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Balajee,
    Of the three, compulsion is out as far as I am concerned. That leaves pleasure and profit. Pleasure in the sense that I am gaining some new insight and profit in the sense that the insight so gained is making the subject easier to me. I guess we have certain preconceived notions about most of the subjects now because of the experience of life but there comes a book in your hand that throws a different light. One of these was "The difficulty of Being Good" by Gurucharan Das.
     
  10. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Syamalaji,
    Addiction of reading books harms none -the reader nor the people around. It is a good time pass also. One of my friend said-read anything that comes your way, even an old paper or a page torn out of a book or magazine. There is nothing useless. It however does not include material you already know is not to your taste.
    Reading serious stuff all the time May be 'injurious to health'.
     

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