“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time—proof that humans can work magic.”
– Carl Sagan
I made a new year’s resolution last year to read a book every week. Like most of my new year’s resolutions, I failed miserably. However, I did manage to read around one book a month, which is not bad considering the books I read are mostly business books which require more time to digest.
I was hoping to continue this habit of mine this year but somehow I didn’t. It was only a few days ago when I bought an e-book online did I realised I have not read much the past 7 months. I have picked up a few books and read a couple of chapters each but that’s about it. I easily have 20 unread books in my possession right now. Yes, I’m so guilty of hoarding books.
Some books I bought knowing I might never be ready to read them. Do you know how long it took me to finally read ‘How To Kill A Mockingbird’? At least 5 years. I can’t remember. Maybe even 10. I knew I wanted to read it because it is a great book but knowing what the book was about and how it would make me feel, just made me delay reading it. I’m a cry baby and I get emotionally affected easily. The book ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ is still collecting dust somewhere in my room.
Why still read it then? Because books can change you. It’s taking a little of the characters and their stories inside of you and changing yourself in the process. Mostly, it’s a subtle thing but once in a while, a book could change the way you think and what you believe completely!
We all live in a box, no matter how much we think we are not or try not to. We are all restricted, bound and affected by our own beliefs, knowledge, experiences, environment, friends and family etc. It is impossible for us to experience every single thing on earth. Even if we lived a few lifetime, it’s not possible.
But with books, we are given the opportunity to get a glimpse of the many, many things in life.
Fiction or not, books offer us a safe (safest) place to experience different scenarios, meet different people, go to different places, experience the good and bad in humanity, enter a different world and time, and see things in a totally different point of view.
Books can challenge you in so many ways. If you allow it, books can make you a better person.
Books can make you a horrible person too if you, unfortunately, stick to only that one type of books that feed your screwed up mind. Don’t read just to reinforce what you already know and believe. Read to explore and see how things are from other sides. It is important to read a wide variety of books. And don’t read rubbish. Find books that are worth reading.
Books don’t need to be expensive. I seldom buy new books now. I used to buy new books because I wanted to collect them but you can get pretty new second-hand books at a fraction of the price. If I buy a new one, it could cost me around RM100 for a business book. I can get a used one for RM20-30. And we have The Big Bad Wolf Books sale happening every year. Get some books there for as low as RM5. Or go to the library. If you fancy listening to books, get audio books. No excuse for not reading.
I am very thankful to my mom for instilling the habit of reading in me since I was a little child. Books and trips to second-hand book stores were a huge part of my childhood.
I never had a routine when it comes to reading (or anything, really). So, I want to start making reading a daily habit. I will now make it a routine of mine to read every night before bed, even if it’s just 5 minutes.
I will check back in after a month to share how I did. Lol!
“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”
– A.C. Grayling