Books and reading are the lifeblood of knowledge and a poison to ignorance.
In my opinion people, especially the youth, should read more and take more notice of what is happening in the world around us. It is foolish to believe that reading is nonsense and merely a pastime of the ‘intellectual snob’ – or you may think something else as ludicrous as that.
I have several friends at university who tell me that they can’t understand some of our academic textbooks (English is not their mother tongue). They say that the wording and the construction of sentences is too difficult for them to understand completely and that it seems that these writers were trying to communicate with ‘old people’, or people who swallowed an Oxford Dictionary. They give up mid-paragraph and decide that they will leech off of the knowledge of other students. But will they be able to read, and most importantly understand, their boss’s instructions one day, contained in a letter or email? Will they be able to fend for themselves in a world where everything is given to you in a written format?
To be able to read well is to be able to understand what the other party is trying to say. It both saddens and irks me that the youth sometimes expect (and sometimes demand!) to be fed with a spoon! This is just another characteristic of the sheep mentality that is eating up society. Imagine a bookless society, where there is no essential recording material. We would have to discover everything from scratch, over and over again – we would return to being barbaric cave dwellers.
Now imagine society where the majority of people do not read. There would be chaos, no expansions on theories and no new innovations. Ideas would remain in books, locked up in black and white, with no one to develop them further. People would be left running in circles, reinventing the same things in the same ways.
Knowledge’s power is unfathomable. Books contain so much information and there are amazing writers out there! You can plunge yourself into a world unknown; a world out of your comfort zone. You can put yourself into the shoes of different characters and try to understand why the feel the way they do and why they act the way they do. You can put yourself into situations you would never have dreamed of, and live it through the eyes and words of others.
I recently read Atonement by Ian McEwan, and it is a wonderful book that delved into the psyche of so many different characters. No stone was left unturned and one could really FEEL all the various characters’ emotions and relive their unique ordeals. I’m glad I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I do not plan to watch it after reading the book. In some ways a movie completely robs the audience of a comprehensive experience and explanation of what is happening, as well as imposing a predetermined imagination. I have my own imagination, and I will use it as I please, thank you very much.
Reading is an essential skill for gathering knowledge, an essential tool for providing education and expanding one’s own education. The prevalence of reading and books in a society is a reflection of its level of culture and sophistication. Where there is a lack of books and reading, there will be a lack of morals, a lack of compassion and a lack of empathy.
I have decided to make an effort to read more this year. I will read more about the news of the world, I will read more about my history and others’ history, I will read more from genres I seldom explore and I will read more biographies. May you have a great year of reading too!