The Power of Reading Books: How a Simple Hobby Transformed my Life
There is a quote by a famous author that goes “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book”. This is so true and I am going to take you through my journey, which transformed me from being mildly curious about books, to being a voracious reader. Let’s dive in…
I remember my earliest memories of my mother reading Akbar Birbal stories to me at bedtime. The stories were so funny and entertaining, I remember loving them. That was my first taste of books. Books were not easily available then as it is now a days. So apart from the bedtime stories, there were not many options available.
The Magical Experience:
I need to thank my school for giving me my first access to the world of books. There was an event organized at my school, where for one week a van full of books will be available at our school premises. We can visit and have a glimpse at the books and buy them if we wanted to. I remember entering the van and seeing so many books. They were all children’s books for up to 5th grade.
That evening I reluctantly asked my parents if I could get some books to read from the mobile library. I actually expected them to say ‘no’ as buying books was a luxury then. But to my surprise, both my parents were so cool about it and said to go ahead and buy the books I wanted.
So, this was me going into the library, reading the synopsis of the books from the back cover, and trying to select a few. This was back when I was in 3rd grade. This was such a magical experience. Fast forward until this day, I still enjoy browsing through rows and rows of books, reading synopsis and picking out the ones I love.
The First Spark of Love:
That summer holidays I asked my parents if they can get me a few storybooks I could read during the holidays. I expected that they would get me one and two. When my father came carrying a dozen books in his hands I was quite taken aback with joy.
I started with the smallest book. I was reluctant to read anything other than short stories at first. When I had exhausted all the available options, I really had no other way but to pick up the bigger ones.
“The Treasure Island” by R.L. Stevenson was my first novel. Till date this book holds a special place in my heart. My favorite character was Long John Silver, the antagonist in the novel. We have all been there right… Falling for the Villain!!!
Then went on the regular classics – Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre and the list goes on. Reading books about different countries and of a different era was fascinating for me.
Then I started reading the Doctor Who series, that is when I became obsessed with Time Travel. It was so intriguing and I could feel how the plot was laid out to twist your mind and make you read over and over again, so you can actually understand what is going on.
I used to carry a pocket sized dictionary with me everywhere, and refer to and mark every new word. I did this not to learn, but to fully understand what the author was trying to convey. Doing this made my vocabulary strong for my age. I became captivated by Quotes. This was a time when internet and forward messages were unknown. The only way you can get to know a Quote is when you read it in a book. I used to collect them and write them in a notebook.
I even tried writing a short story – something about a rabbit. It was really lame, but it is one of my fond memories from childhood. This was also the time I started journaling. I started to realize how much I enjoyed picking up my Fountain pen and writing.
Yup, I am a Potter Head… How can I not be? I grew up with the book. Internet was not a thing in my childhood. So the only way you get to know about books is if you read it in a newspaper. I was a great fan of the Young World – The kids’ paper from The Hindu that was published every Saturday. I used to wait for it eagerly every Saturday.
It was in Young World that I came to know of Harry Potter. There was a short review of the book and it immediately caught my attention. I wanted to read it so badly. There was no way to get the book in my native. So when my father went on a working trip, I asked him if he could get me the book. I had my fingers crossed that he would find it.
When he returned with the book, I was over the moon. The book did not disappoint my overblown expectations at all. It still is and will always be one of my all time favorites. If you have not read it, and think it is way too much hyped – please do read it with an open mind and I promise you’ll love it.
I understood the power of imagination and how just by reading we could live in a completely different magical world. It started my love for Fantasy genre.
The Obsession Phase:
This was the time when I was so much into reading, I used to spend every free minute with my nose buried in a book. This went to an extent that even when the teacher took a short break, I used to start reading a book under my desk. This went on until my friend told me off for not being available to chat, as I was always immersed in some book or the other.
There were so many books at my home, that we did not have any place left for them anymore. Still I never wanted to give away even a single one. So when I went off to college, I got enrolled in a library, fearing the fact that I may not have enough space to store books if I started collecting them. My dream was to own a massive shelf full of books I have read. Collecting book marks became a full time job and no matter how many you collect you could never find one when you needed it.
The Enlightenment Phase:
Another New phase of my reading journey started when I came to know of Non Fiction books. Non-Fiction was always HIT or MISS for me. Dale Carnegie was one of my first favorite non-fiction author. His book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” was an absolute smasher. Robin Sharma’s “Discover your Destiny” was a book that helped me through some really difficult times.
If you are going through some difficult times in life, I highly recommend that you try these books. They have some real gems that will help you. Some of my favorite books include:
Stop Worrying and start living – Dale Carnegie
Discover Your Destiny – Robin Sharma
Who moved my Cheese – Spencer Johnson (this one is a short and sweet one)
The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale
The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz
The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Atomic Habits – James Clear
Monk Who Sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma
There are loads more but these are a good start.
Take the First Step:
My perfect day would be a rainy day, with a book in one hand and hot cup of coffee in another, sitting by the window sill and reading to the pitter patter of rain drops. That’s how much I love reading.
If I have still not convinced you to pick up a book and read, then know this:
Reading is not about impressing anyone, but enjoying the process for yourself.
Read whatever you like fiction, non-fiction or even a picture book, if you enjoy it. Don’t be daunted by anyone saying “Why do you read this, its useless”. I still read comics and am often taunted by many for that.
Try different types of books, you may not know which one will change your life.
Write down your favorite Quotes, use a marker to mark your favorite lines. I always used to read with a pencil and a pocket dictionary (would you believe that!!!)
You don’t need to finish every book you start. There will always be some popular book that everyone likes, but you won’t. Don’t worry, its just not your cup of tea. Don’t be pressurized about trying it. But always give it some time and who knows, you might fall for it after 100 pages.
As I quoted earlier
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book” – J.K. Rowling
So what are you waiting for? Come on, let’s embark on this Wonderous Journey Together.