There is a whole world of reading material to choose from. The variety of books and magazines is really staggering. If you are a sober and serious type of reader, you can read history books or books on philosophy. To an emotional and imaginative type of reader, there are books of drama, poetry, fiction, fantasy, romance, travel and essays. You may choose books on fine arts if you so like. Then there are books of light nature which include story, comics, jokes and cartoon books. Then there are detective novels to give you pleasure laced with thrill and sensation. Reading is the only leisure time hobby which is matchless. The ability to get pleasure by reading is really a great gift and boon. They are fortunate who possess and practice it. It provides pleasure, knowledge, experience, language, skills and a type of entertainment which no other hobby can. For reading you do not depend on anybody else. You are your own master. In many other hobbies you require the company of someone else, but not here.
Modern age is the age of information and knowledge. Knowledge is a great power. We can keep ourselves well informed about various topics and things by reading. A good reader is also a knowledgeable person. The horizon of his Knowledge and understanding is bound to be vast and broad. Reading is a pleasant and gainful occupation during leisure hours. Ruskin has called books, “Kings, Treasures’-treasures far more precious than silver, gold and precious stones. Knowledge provided by books and reading can help in accumulating all these and many more things. Books are best friends and leaders as they inspire with great hope, optimism, and courage to face challenges, high ideals and noble thoughts. The boons of reading are many and priceless. There is no other hobby or leisure time pursuit which can be compared favorably with reading.
In the opinion of great philosopher and writer Francis Bacon, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested, that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by depth and extract made of them by others”. Again he says, “Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.” Bacon has written on all aspects of study and reading of various subjects. He further says, “Histories make man wise, poetry witty, the mathematics subtle, natural philosophy deep, moral grave logic and rhetoric able and contented.”
Milton calls the books as the life-blood of master spirits. We can become intimate with Kalians, Topsides, Sure, Mira, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Raindrop Math Tagore or Dante by reading their works. Thus, we can share their experience, joys, sorrows, hopes, inspiration, imagination emotions and feelings. While absorbed in reading a good book there is a perfect identification with the main characters of a novel, story, play or fiction. There is magic.
Charm and fascination in reading, which defies description. With various authors, characters, countries and climes, which are far more intimate and lasting than those of real life? Reading is a sure protection against boredom, idleness, loneliness, pain, suffering, frustration, tension, fatigue and various complexes of modern life. In the words of Thomas Carlyle*, “All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been; it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books. They are the chosen possession .of men.” Once a writer said, “I trust in God and good books.” There cannot be anything more sincere, loyal and trust-worthy than good books.
But we must be choosy in selecting our reading material. There are good books as well as bad. There are cheap, substandard, harmful and misleading books in plenty. They can poison your mind and mislead you on undesirable, anti social and ruinous paths. In the selection of books one can consult friends, elders, teachers, librarians and parents. Then there are book-reviews to guide you to better and suitable reading material. Moreover, there are many famous books which have successfully passed many tests of time, relevance, utility and universality. They can be bought, read and digested. One should be judicious in selection of books. Sensational, sexy, obscene, and cheap and trash books and magazines should always be avoided. Gradually we can have our own library of choicest books which can encourage, inspire, guide, and entertain. You must become a book lover and not a book worm. Possession of books is not enough. Read them, be intimate with them and imbibe the master spirit treasured in them for your lasting pleasure and enlightenment.