“Reading maketh a full man”. Francis Bacon’s famous maxim of 16th century holds good even today, for it is indeed the art of reading which makes a complete man. It not only helps to make one’s self complete, but also affords a lot of pleasure in the bargain.
Food is necessary for our body. Similarly, we also need food for our mind. The best food for the mind is the reading of books. It has a joy of its own, which perhaps nothing else can give the pleasure one derives from reading is procreative as well as ennobling. Reading gives us peculiar joy and we forget the cares and worries of life.
People read for a wide variety of reasons, for pleasure, knowledge and display that is, to impress others. Unless you are studying for a special purpose, you should read only books which interest you. There is absolutely no point in reading just to be fashionable. It is a sheer waste of time. Lovers of literature read not for any material gain but for its own sake, for the simple sheer pleasure of it. One has a wide variety of reading material to choose from – novels, poems, short stories, biographies, histories, travelogues, sports and what not!
Be aware of Bacon’s maxim, “Some books are to be tasted, others are to be swallowed, and some books are to be chewed and digested”.
If you choose according to your taste, interest and aptitude, reading becomes a pleasurable experience. Taste differs and often one man’s meat is another man’s poison. While some people derive pleasure and satisfaction from books on scientific theories, some others love history books presenting the glories of the past. Stories are a favourite with many. Whatever is your taste, affords you pleasure.
As we grow, our interests also undergo changes. As a kid, the wonders of Lewis Carrol’s Wonderland would transport you to Alice’s world of fun and frolic. Fairy tales and stories of Aladdin and of the Panchatantra and Jataka would fly on magic carpets into wonder worlds of fantasy where birds and animals talk like human beings. As you grow up you derive pleasure from thrilling adventure stories and detective takes. There is an abundance of books with “love’s young dream of romance” as the theme, voraciously devoured by the youth. As you mature, the interest may become channelled variously into science, history and philosophy. Whatever it be, it is better that you decide yourself and make your choice of books. It is better that a teacher also does not prescribe books, though he may do some sort of guiding. If you forbid a book, that will incite the curiosity of the child to read it.
Man wants to escape from the dull realities of everyday life. The spirit of adventure is in the very blood of man. Books of travel and adventure infuse into us the same spirit of adventure and fearlessness as was displayed by the travellers themselves. Nothing is more entertaining than to spend some time reading a novel in the afternoon or in a train. The reader forgets his own personality and existence for some time and totally identifies with the characters of the book. This identification of unconscious is a source of endless pleasure to him. Thought to hem is a necessary exercise, and therefore his pleasure is great when books provide him with the substance of thinking.
The great pleasure afforded by fine words of literature has to be experienced to be enjoyed. In old age as well as in convalescence reading helps you to ward off boredom and enjoy your days of enforced inactivity. Some people are capable of entering into such a rapport with the author and his world that they become oblivious of life around and spend hours together in a state of blissful oblivion.
The ordinary man enjoys reading, in a large measure, as a healthy and innocent form of recreation. After the day’s labour, one feels happy to relax over a pleasant book, a book of one’s own choice, which makes no very great demand on the mental power, and is therefore soothing and comfortable. He turns over the pages, taking in what amuses him and without any other ulterior object. Such reading is, in a material sense, unprofitable, but it serves the purpose of refreshing the tired mid. Few pleasures can really be greater than this.
The habit of reading is a sign of culture. It is a great source of enjoyment and the best means of utilizing leisure. Books are a treasure richer than the treasure of any king. They are the gold mines of art, literature, science and information. They are our constant companions.
Human companionship may be sometimes unwanted and irritating. It can neither be always received with pleasure not dismissed without giving offence or causing pains. But books make no such demand. One can take up a book or lay it as one’s mood dictates. Is this not a great joy in itself? Life indeed has few greater sources of pleasure and happiness than the joy of enjoying freedom in the matter of dictating our own happiness in terms of our convenience
Unfortunately in these modern times of hectic life, the invaluable pleasures of reading seem to be endangered. With the invasion of the Television over our culture, people hardly spare any time for the pleasures of reading. Reading is reduced to a cursory flipping of film magazines or sports magazines. Whether the modern devices of pleasure will be an adequate compensation for the treasures of reading is questionable.
– N. Jeny