When I received this assignment, I immediately texted my friends asking them about their experience of reading; what have books taught them? I learnt that one of the common feature in each of their experiences was the ability of books to cure the ailment of loneliness. My friends are weird and quirky and it is not easy to be so in a world predominated by normalcy. Reading books written by unconventional authors with even more unconventional characters, one stops feeling outlandish.
Being a socially awkward child I formed an immediate relationship with books.. I remember my mother giving me books- Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, Malory Towers, St. Claires, The Faraway Tree Series, The Five-Find outers. I remember gobbling up each book and asking my mother for more.
There is only so much that someone or something can teach you. The best thing about books is that they don’t coerce you into believing something. They work their way through suggestion.
Books weren’t my best friends back then because they never listened. They spoke to me and I listened. I think I preferred it that way. Listening means calming the hurricanes inside your mind and that is exactly how books helped me. Books also taught me how to speak. They equipped me with the power of words. I learnt how to use big phony words to satisfy my teachers in school. Like teachers, books taught me that it is futile to have a colossal lexicon at your disposal when you are going to utilize it to speak the same insipid insignificant rubbish everyone else speaks. Use words that are at your disposal wisely. Do not abuse them. Do not overuse them.
Junot Diaz brought me up close and personal with language. I learnt not to shun the colloquial for the fancy because the colloquial is real. There is too much artificiality in this world. To drag language through the same rut would be wrong. Steig Larsson taught me to be unbiased and not to conform to the norms of society.
Reading is sometimes reduced to a very boring exercise of reaching the last page. Some literature-elitists want you to have read certain books or you’re out of the clique – whatever clique you were or weren’t part of! The point is every book has something different to teach every person. The most picked-on book like, ‘The Twilight’ might have helped someone in ways we couldn’t have. In the exercise of defining the canon and deciding which books are passé and which ones are in vogue, we are missing out on one important thing: reading.
So, Stop judging. Start reading. Start learning.
Credits: Sindhoora Pemmaraju
An unabashed bibliophile, Sindhoora is Majoring in English Literature. She loves literature and music.