“Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist”
– Ian McEwan
Don’t you think books are perfect as a form of entertainment? Not only for they come with no commercial breaks, but you can stop it whenever you want or continue for hours. You can construct imaginary dialogues with your favourite characters and fancy yourself to be the protagonist. A dedicated reader knows how it feels to be there in a decrepit house with the sleuth while he is pulling off to find the murderer! The excitement is so much that the female readers often make a mess of their impeccably manicured nails (experience speaks, you know).
Like any other habit, reading also needs practice. I’m not saying that you are bound to read a book you are not very fond of or which is incomprehensible to you, but one should read everything; classics as well as trash, it enables one to figure out the difference between the two and, how authors do it. It makes one a perfect reader eventually.
“The books I loved in childhood – the first loves – I’ve read so often that I’ve internalized them in some really essential way: they are more inside me now than out.”– Donna Tartt
As a child, when I used to sit snugly in that old armchair of grandpa with a new book, happiness seemed to know no bounds. The smell of grandpa’s tobacco mixed with the heady smell of the new book had a mesmerizing effect on me. The big armchair devoured me completely and, I can still imagine my little self, cuddled down there on the chair. Books have so many sweet memories associated with them!
Perhaps everybody has read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The arcane rituals the Count performs in the castle, the fangs of Dracula, his conniving ways of draining out blood from human bodies, the story which hasn’t lost its charm even after so many years. I read it when I was in my fourth standard. Not a usual book for a nine-year-old, but I was a voracious reader. The book eventually affected me with all its strength. I hobbled to go to the toilet alone immediately after sundown, I used to place a small cross under my pillow at night and, looked at any fair-complexioned lanky guy with great suspicion! I laugh now reminding those childish imaginations, but all these were very real to me at that time.
My first crush was a fictional character, too. Feluda, the super-sleuth from Satyajit Ray’s books had his own charms. His intelligence, his way of solving cases applying the grey matter to its fullest extent, had mesmeric effects on my teenaged heart. So much so that I could almost sense the smell of his Charminar cigarettes wafting along whenever I read the stories.
Even now, some books, some characters, have indelible effects on me I can feel them and, often I engross in a soliloquy with my favourite fictional characters, figments of my imagination. Kinda weird, no? But, that’s me, and there is no me without books.
“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book”– JK Rowling