‘ No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting, said a famous thinker. Reading makes a person wise and knowledgeable. Bacon said very rightly in his famous lines that:
Reading makes a full man speaking a ready man. The happy medium is reached when a man reads enough to give value to what he has to say.
For general improvement of oneself a man should read whatever he is intersted in. he should inculcate a habit to soend his time with the books. If you read books regularly on the subject which interests you most you will have a thorough knowledge of that subject. Your impressions will become stronger. Your concepts will become crystal clear. Sometimes even if you bein reading from the middle of the book you’ll find something interesting. You can carry on with that without going to the beginning of the book. This is because it may not sustain your interest and attention. It is well to read everything of something and something of everything.
There are four kinds of readers.the first is like the hour – glass and their reading riuns out and leaves no impression or even a hint of the matter that they have been going through. It keeps draining out because there is no attempt to retain it.
The second is like the sponge which imbibes everything and retains it fully.
A third is like jelly – bag. Now the function of the jelly – bag is to pass away the pure and retain the refuse, which means such a reader seldom benefits by his reading. He adds undesirable bits to his knowledge.
And the fourth is like the worker of a diamondmine who casts aside all that is worthless and retains only the pure gems.
So one should be a reader of the fourth kind,if he wants to become a complete man. One should read good books. Books are best companions. They give us all that we cannot find elsewhere. Books have got stories, autobiographies, poetry, philosophy, science and what not. Books can kep you occupied for hours on end together and increase yourknowledge.
What kind of books should we read?
Mainly books of your immediate interest related to your studies should be your foremost selection. Books that reinforce and expand your knowledge should come next. General reading should include books on history, culture and religion. These kinds of books make you understand the society around you. They enable you to interpret the present achievements of society better. Books on religion help us form our moral character and we learn about various religious teachings.
The life histories of great men inspire and motivate us. We can learn some valuable lessons from their lives. Good references can be foung about great men in such books. A poet says:
Read slowly, pause frequently,
Live cleanly, return duly
With the corners of the leaves,
Not turned down.’
The lines tell us how to read a book. We should try to find fruitful information. Reading should enable us to think. Thinking is not a very common trait after all. If you start thinking of the contents of the book, it will be the best approach to reading. Reading empowers you to write, makes you talk well and majority of people just do that. It is said:
‘some read to think. These are rare. Some to write. They are common and some read to talk, these form the great majority.’
Some people make tall claims about their reading but they do not know actually what they have read. They boast of reading many books, but unfortunately they have got shallow minds. They simply waste time in reading.
Reading is their hobby but it is never an intelligent reading. Therefore, it is very essential that you read a book slowly. It should be purposeful reading to grasp most of it. While reading you must have a pen and pencil with you, so that you note down the important points there and then or note down the page number for future reference instead of going through the book all over again to find the information.
The ideas and thoughts collected thus wil form a useful knowledge bank. They can be used as and when you like without waste of time. Sometimes they serve like the advice of a person whom we have personally consulted.
Reading thus is a very useful pasttime. Books provide us with the best company by introducing us to the best of thoughts and give our mind food for thought. They help us form a balanced view of life. Books often have more power to influence us than the people around us. Sometimes a single thought changes one’s way of life, specially of those who can understand its lasting force. They reflect well on the thoughts that they come across in books.
Remember, reading is very essential for personality development but reading without reflection is useless.
“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”