I’ve travelled the world twice over, met the famous saints and sinners, poets and artists, kings and queens, old stars and hopeful beginners. I’ve been where no one’s been before, learned secrets from writers and cooks, all with one library ticket: to the wonderful world of books.
They say that “when you open a book, you open a new world”. I believe that everyone would agree with this statement, as books are packed with knowledge, insights into a happy life, life lessons, love, fear, prayer, and advice. One can read about anything under the sun. Books have been here for centuries and without them our knowledge of our past, culture, and civilisation would have been impossible. Have you ever thought what would have happened if writers never wrote books?
A book communicates knowledge and wisdom. The more you read, the more refined are your attitudes, your ideas, and your imagination. I believe that one’s personality, behaviour, ideas and knowledge are all built on the books that one reads. Nothing can add to our intellect more than reading a book. As aptly said, “Learning gives creativity, and creativity leads to thinking, and thinking provides knowledge.”
Reading a book seems like a pretty straightforward task, and in some cases, it is. If you’re reading purely for entertainment or leisure, it certainly can be easy. There’s another kind of reading, though, in which we attempt to glean something of value from the book in our hands (whether in paper or tablet form). In that instance, you might be surprised to learn that it’s not as simple as opening the book and reading the words. I believe that it requires wisdom to acquire wisdom.
It’s a frightening time, these days, a worldwide pandemic. All of us are watching the headlines and wondering, “What is going to happen next? For many people, the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. We don’t know how exactly we’ll be affected or how bad things will get. That makes it all too easy to spiral out into overwhelming dread and panic. All of us are going to need reassurance, advice, or a sympathetic ear during this difficult time. But be careful whom you choose as a sounding board. The coronavirus is not the only thing that’s contagious. So are emotions! Avoid talking about the virus with people who tend to be negative or who reinforce your fears. Turn to the people who are thoughtful, level-headed, and good listeners. If you don’t have someone you trust to turn to, trust a book.
The crisis we face requires large-scale behavioural change and it places a significant psychological burden on us. Blue is really not blue any more; grey is a much more apt colour. This is where books come as a saviour. No tapping, no switching apps, and no swiping –yet so engaging! Stress can be released or reduced in various ways, such as going for a jog, listening to your favourite songs, and even by cooking and cleaning. But whenever you feel low, depressed or stressed, just open a book or and let yourself free in its world. Stories and words can heal the mind and spirit. When you read stories, you tend to relate to the traits of characters as your own or start looking for similarities between them and yourself. This makes you feel as if you are similar to a person who does not even exist. Despite the character’s non-existence, you still understand them and root every bit for them. This teaches the human emotion of empathy. When you meet people who are somewhat similar to the characters you have known through books, you start to understand them and empathise with them.
Reading helps to contain anxiety and has a soothing effect on the brain. As you move ahead in the story through characters, your thoughts and inhibitions travel with you. It’s true what people say – when you have a book, you have a friend. Reading reduces feelings of alienation and loneliness. Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers. Books have the power to transport us to new worlds and different times, but they can also take us back to the important moments in our own lives.