Books- A Uniquely Portable Magic!!
Books evoke that lovely feeling – a sentiment that is difficult to describe. When you come across a new book or rediscover an old one, it arouses a unique set of feelings. A sense of mystery; an association with a set of thoughts and memories; a warm embrace ; a gentle caress ; a sense of belonging ; a sense of loss ; a train of ideas- all this and much more – books have this unique ability to trigger such myriad emotions. That is the power of the written word- it can be evocative; emotive; energizing or it could be calming, comforting and uplifting! Books and reading could transform you into another person or transport you to another world- all with the flick of a page..
I couldn’t agree more with Somerset Maugham when he wrote,”To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge, from almost all the miseries of life”. I am not sure if reading is an acquired habit as most say it is or one is born with a reading gene which makes you a lifelong addict to the reading habit. Thanks to a voracious appetite for reading, I have travelled to distant lands and made my way through forests; climbed daunting peaks; dived miles under the sea and braved storms and typhoons and gales and survived earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I have been an Architect and a Miner; at other times a Rocket Scientist and a deep sea Diver; a brilliant Detective and a Philosopher seeking the truth of life. I have voyaged through ancient China and medieval Egypt; lived through the trials and tribulations of Emperors and Pharaohs; lurked in catacombs and caverns; soaked up the company in taverns and spent nights in cheap motels. All this and more sitting in the comfort of my chair with a steaming cup of coffee..the power of the written word!!
I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to reading. I have been encouraged to read on a tablet or an E – Reader. I do have all shapes and sizes of them – dustproof and waterproof and days and days of battery life. The Kindle and the Kobo Aura One: Wi-Fi enabled and with cellular connectivity. Adjusted lighting and backlit display and all of that and more. The convenience of carrying multiple books on the go and what have you. But for me – the good old smell of paper; the flick of the page and the inserted bookmark and the dog-eared, well thumbed tome. That feels familiar; that feels comfortable and that is home! I also did try, on much insistence from friends, the Audio Book. Well it has its merits, I daresay. But let me enjoy my reading the way I enjoy it.
What can be more pleasurable than spending a day in the library; or in a well stocked bookshop and the best book shops I have enjoyed have been in tucked away alleyways and by lanes – books spilling from every shelf. It does feel you are with old friends and companions who have known you a lifetime. Mortimer Adler got it spot on,” Reading for me is spending time with a friend. Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life”. Books are, truly, excellent company, in sad times and joyous times- for, books, indeed are people, who have survived and thrived by hiding between the covers of a book..
As somebody famously remarked, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library”. A book which has touched you in some way will always remain a part of you; it will always stay with you. Over the years, one has acquired books and more books and yet more books. With each move, the cartons get heavier and seem to multiply in number. But it feels like home and surrounded by friends and family when the books find their way out of the packing crates and cartons onto the over laden shelves.
It doesn’t really matter what you read and when you read and how you enjoy the book- whatever works for you should be fine. JK Rowling succinctly remarked, “If you don’t like to read, you have probably not found the right book!” So reach out for whatever creates magic for you!!