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Reading: An Ideal and Stimulating Pastime

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By Nelson Lewis, Bahrain [ Published Date: September 12, 2011 ]

It is sad that these days reading is losing its popularity that it had in the past. Today, people are sparing lesser time to read dailies, books, magazines and printed materiel in order to keep themselves well informed, knowledgeable and educated on various topics, issues relating to current affairs, local, regional, national and international news.

In bygone days, people had fewer sources of entertainment and avenues for diversion and, therefore, reading was one of the very few sources of diversions, including reading of holy and religious books. However, today they have plenty of opportunities to keep their minds absorbed, depending on their spending power, interests and tastes. Today, people can surf the Internet, spend time on personal computers or laptops, watch movies on the televisions, CDs or at the multiplexes, go to the discotheques and indulge in many other diversions that, in the first place, did not exist in old days and one could not fathom then that such unseen or unheard of things would make an appearance in future, i.e. today. The world has completely changed and transformed and this transformation is for the better or worse is a debatable issue.

I have to thank Almighty God for giving me the talents to read and write. I got hooked to reading at the age of seven or eight years, when I used to wait for my father to return home along with that day’s newspaper. I would grab it from him and spend one to two hours reading whatever I could read. Reading, along with writing, helped me to improve my grammar, spelling, increase my vocabulary and instill a sense of confidence and cockiness.

Those days, I also read the outcome of the freestyle wrestling matches that were going on, on a daily basis, in Bombay and I can recall the names of Dara Singh, King Kong, Randhawa and Zorro. I have forgotten the names of other wrestlers, since it is a long time ago. Moreover, I also followed international cricket matches, though cricket was a low key affair those days, compared to the intensity with which it is played today (and the enthusiasm with which it is followed by the followers and enthusiasts of the game), with the megabucks being available to everyone, be it organisers, players, commentators, ground staff and anyone connected with the game, either closely or remotely. I can recall the name very great cricketers like Sir Gary Sobers, Sir Collin Cowdrey, Everton Weekes, Charlie Griffith, Freddie Trueman, Barry Richards, Glenn Turner, Clyde Walcott, Sir Frank Worrell and many others.

Reading has many benefits: some are very obvious and apparent and others that cannot be comprehended immediately, but can be appreciated in the long run. In short, the benefits of reading have immense benefits and its value can be appreciated, as one progresses in life and career.

A person who has the habit of reading is never bored or lonely, even if he has no one for company or does not have the right sort of people with whom he could interact and socialize. Even if expatriates are living in those countries that are highly conservative, undeveloped and backward, the habit of reading can salvage and redeem them. Imagine a passenger is stranded at the airport, because his flight is delayed for hours. In that event, reading can keep him totally absorbed and engaged and hours will just vanish away, till his flight is ready for takeoff.

To those people who abhor reading, I can assure them that there is nothing to fear. They could take up this beautiful pastime in a slow and steady manner. Read short tracts or simple books, newspapers and dailies, then take up reading interesting books like Readers Digest, National Geographic, Newsweek, Economic Times and countless other material that is readily available. You will then lament why had you not pursued this exciting pastime years ago?

Well, buying books is an expensive proposition. However, there are many other options: one could buy secondhand books available on the roadsides at cheap rates or become members of the circulating libraries, where books can be borrowed by paying reasonable fees or rentals or buy books at book fairs, where these books are sold at discounted rates. Otherwise, four or five friends could pool in money to buy a best-seller and all of them benefit by reading it. Thereafter, they could sell the book.

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Guru, India :
There are many pastimes and one among them is reading. If we play also we can enjoy. Chatting too gives innumerable knowledge. Go to a kitchen in a hotel and just enjoy how the items are prepared, arranged and presented..
Each one has his own interest and taste.

Knowledge need not be by reading alone. It is called bookish; Experience is a great teacher.
Today we have more writers than readers. Everyone, you and they.
Who reads?
I don't think, Nelson ever read what I wrote!!! Because he is choosy. He likes issues of war, arms, Pakistan etc. Some other will be like Newton..observing apples falling.
More than reading, listening is an art. You can listen to chirrups to great speeches. You need not read the twisted gist by a reporter. You can attentively listen to the speaker.
Listening, combined by viewing (films, Youtube etc) keep more impressions on mind than usual and casual reading. They increase our store in mind than books.

Nobody can claim to have read even few out of million books.

I contradict views of Nelson know why?
A. S. Mathew, USA :

As you have stated, the young generation is heading towards a different world with a pocket computer, strictly knowledgeable only in their own work-related subject, without anything else in the brain
to communicate with the next person. If things are going like this, the Oxford dictionary would be reduced to half size because the young people are making their own spelling for each word as they prefer.
This is a very dangerous trend, and must be addressed very soon. We need to instill the habit of reading in the students as early as possible.
Original R.Pai, USA :
"..interesting books like Readers Digest, National Geographic, Newsweek, Economic Times"

Another good, thought provoking article by Nelson. Due to electronic visual media, the interest on books has certainly gone down. Most of today's kids lack attention span to focus on a book. In this 'tweeting' generation, I wonder what would be the future of writing and reading books!!
Drona, India :
Good points. One of the things we see now a days is that the younger generation has no real ability to write letters.The language they tend to use is atrocious.Every sentence is reduced to code words and SMS messages.At this rate, we may end up seeing only cell phones and androids being used and no note books/papers will be around.Things are changing very rapidly. That does not mean that we should give up on good traditions.Reading books is a great hobby.While waiting in railway station, bus station, air port, one can buy books and read during the journey.Thanks for this article Mr Lewis.
A. S. Mathew, USA :
An excellent article emphasising the urgent need of cultivating the habit of reading. It is very true that the habit of reading is getting a thing of the past due to the modern gadgets of pleasure, but this modern habit will create serious problems later on in

"One common characteristic of virtually all the great leaders I have known in that they have been great readers. Reading not only enlarges and challenges the mind; it also engages and exercises the brain. Today's youth who sits mesmerized by a television screen is not going to be tomorrow's leader. Television watching is passive. Reading is active" Richard Nixon
from his book "Leaders".

Habits are created through constant repetition, when we get into the habit of thirst to acquire more knowledge in any subect in the world, we will be forced to read. Then, it will be
quite natural to have a book handy to read and enjoy it.
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