In Defence of Reading

reading

Reasons for embarking on this voyage

I love reading other people’s blogs. It’s a new thing, really. My fantasy coming true. Knowing what it’s like to be in somebody else’s head. In everybody’s head. I always thought it’s such a pity we only get to be one person in this life and nothing else.

23rd of April was also celebrated as Dia del Libro, or World Book Day. Even though I was a true rebel, and had spent the day hiking instead of reading, I did find myself thinking about books and wondering why I’m not reading more of them.

But perhaps the most important reason why I’m writing this post, are the few precious comments I have received after posting here that reading isn’t considered a hobby. It seems that bloggers do not agree with me. And it made me smile. Because I too, don’t agree on this one with myself.  No matter how excellent or mediocre (or terrible) our writing is, we all share a love of reading, and that’s how our blogs probably came to exist.

Benefits of reading different things

As per Internet (hope plagiarism here isn’t as big deal as it was in college), reading has many well known benefits that come with it, such as:  expanding our vocabulary and knowledge, improving our memory and strengthening our analythical thinking skills. It’s also good for our concentration and it is said that it improves our writing skills.

I do agree that reading inspires me to write, but I’m not sure if it makes me any better. However, if I get really impressed by a book, my thoughts imitate the voice of the narrator for a good few days after I’m done reading it. It’s automatic, and sometimes I have to remind myself to stop it before having  conversations with real people.  As far as the concentration goes, I don’t know how or when it happened, but my ability to concentrate really became poor for a while, and  I was incapable of reading anything substantial. Even though I tried to focus, reading certainly didn’t help. A lot of yoga, running, and getting nervousness (and coffee) out of my system did.

Only then I had managed to finish a novel that I found satisfying, The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. The novel is more on the line of pessimistic and sad, but the sole act of diving into a story made me happy to be alive again. When somebody’s writing touches me, I start to notice unusual details in the already known surroundings, people and things. Everything looks freshly repainted; it appears as if life reinvents itself. And it keeps on doing that, with each new book I read.

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Having said that, I had to wonder how much has reading Bridget Jones’s Diary  last summer helped me with developing any of the above mentioned virtues and skills? I don’t think it really has. However, when you find yourself on a beach, with temperatures bordering with unbearable, the sunlight piercing through layers of hats, sunglasses and shirts hanging from your head, you know reading Crime and Punishment could be just the thing to send you over the edge. That book is meant to be read in winter, and we all know that. On the beach, you are in desperate need of amusement, laughter, witticisms, ice-cream and romance! Hell yeah, romance really helps! Reading Bridget Jones in fact has healing effects, according to The Bachva Research Centre on the outskirts of Madrid.

Reading blogs, on the other hand, is more a psychological case study than it is anything else for me.  I have insatiable curiosity for the way people’s brains work! This too is one of those automatic things that I have to remind myself to stop doing – analyzing people and endlessly reshaping opinions and theories about them. Amateur theories with little coverage, but with extreme attention to detail, that proved to be entertaining to my friends. I know, I know, people generally don’t feel comfortable when studied by others, but believe me, I learned to keep my theories to myself.

But even if that was all I ever wanted to get from reading blogs, I get my mind blown more often than I would expect. I get caught off guard and start uncontrollably laughing (tea spilling, notebooks falling, and snorting noises included), or it provokes a stream of nostalgic imagery in my head. Blogs amuse me, teach me, inspire and encourage me to be a bit better every day.

There is only one self-help book I read in my life, but it is a big one. Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a Jungian psychologist and storyteller. She says that if we decide to live in tune with our true wild nature, we will inevitably at one point go looking for our pack. A pack that we belong to. Now, I don’t know if my role among the pack of bloggers should be the one of a reader or a writer or maybe a mutant creature between the two (as I feel while writing this), but I do know that I should keep hanging around here.

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So, I would like to invite this newly discovered pack of writing wolves to share a bit of your medicine with me!

What is YOUR favorite thing about reading? And what is the last quote that got stuck in your head?

Please share as I would love to hear what you think!

 

 

 

 

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