Celebrating the joy of reading

A few days back I met an elderly gentleman in a library in Mangalore. He was there to return a book that he had borrowed. The book was Pavilion of Women, if I remember it correctly. He stroke up a brief and very interesting conversation with me. In those few minutes, he spoke about the novels of Pearl S. Buck, why he liked her books, about the amazing culture of China, about some thrillers written by Frederick Forsyth and about how reading has enriched his life. His eyes shone as he spoke fondly about the books and the authors he liked. “Travelling and reading” he said “are the best ways to explore the world.” The words of that charming gentleman reassured my belief in books. I have been a voracious reader all my life.

I cannot remember a day in my childhood that went without reading few pages from books. As a school going kid, I had been scolded many times by my parents for bringing books to the dining table. They tried, in vain, to put me off that ‘awful’ habit. In those times, when there was no internet or smart phones, it was books that gave me a window to the world. I grew up reading some of the most beautiful books in Kannada and English. When somebody asks me, which is my favourite place to be, without wasting a moment I answer ‘between the pages of a book’. An image of me from my schooldays, reading an interesting book in my room in a rainy Saturday afternoon is etched in my mind as the happiest moment of my life.

I always liked giving books as gifts. You go to a bookshop (or a website), browse the different shelves, and after doing some really good thinking, you buy a book that you feel would make that person happy. It is so much personal than, say, buying a teddy bear as a gift. There are some good friends who know exactly what type of books would I be interested in. By looking at the books they gifted me one could say how well they know me. Some of the books on my shelf that I really enjoyed reading are, in fact, gifted by my friends. I always associate their names with these books. The titles ‘Life of Pie’ and ‘ A Thousand Splendid Suns’ remind me of my dearest friend who is an extremely talented wordsmith, ‘A Brief History of Time’ reminds me of my best buddy who loves cosmology, ‘The Lowland’ reminds me of that friend who likes reading good books as much as I do, while ‘Sea of Poppies’ reminds me of another friend who is a great bibliophile. These books, as interesting as they are, also evoke a strong association with the ones who gifted them to me.
On my birthday this year, I got Amazon Kindle from my dear friends Anjalika and her son Vishal. It was, undoubtedly, a very thoughtful gift from these two wonderful friends. What is the best gadget one can gift to a friend who loves reading? Right! I am a romantic who loves the touch, feel and smell of the books. I adore written words. The typeset, the quality of paper used and the design of the book also matter a lot to me, just like the content that it carries. I may not judge a book by its cover, but if aesthetically designed, the cover will definitely catch my fancy. Reading has always been a rich mixture of visual, olfactory and tactile experience for me. So where does Kindle fit in all this?

I must say that I was very sceptical when the world was going gaga over e-book readers. Not that I haven’t read any e-books before, but I was never a big fan. I found straining my eyes gaping at the laptop screen, tab or mobile was more of a killjoy than reading. Kindle has proved me wrong to a large extent. I am in love with this gadget now. The reading experience is superbly pleasant, to say the least. Kindle not only provides you an access to an overwhelming collection of great books, but also enhances the reading experience. While it certainly cannot give you the touch, feel or smell of a book, it does have some wonderful features that conventional books may not give you. With the built-in tools such as Word builder, Dictionary and one-touch connection to Goodreads, Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook, this e-book reader prove to be a very user-friendly gadget.

This is a must-have for those people who love books. I know many readers of my blog are great booklovers. While I am on my book-buying spree on Kindle, you can answer a small question at the end of this post. I am just curious to know your thoughts on Kindle and books. Thanks in advance. With Kindle, I am celebrating the joy of reading.

53 thoughts on “Celebrating the joy of reading

  1. You depicted your love for books wonderfully ❤ for most parts I agree with you!
    But somehow …I don't really like kindle! I mean yeah its great but it's nowhere near the real paperbacks ! It may sound weird coming from a 16 yr old ….The girl who belongs to the era of gadgets! M a gadget freak …but where books r concerned (my first love) they can never be replaced! Even in books ..The old prints are much more delightful to read!
    But a great advantage kindle provides is the great NUMBER of books ! And that kinda surpasses the other factors *giggle*

    • Thank you Ayushi for visiting my blog and for your kind words. It’s nice to know that you prefer books over ebooks. When the younger generation is slowly moving towards technology and gadgets, I’m glad to know that there are many people out there who still support the real books. Kindle may never replace books; but it certainly has its own plus points. The good news is that we are living in a time where we can get the best of both worlds.

  2. I used to love initialing a book and writing where I bought it from, it was like a paper trail of my journeys. Now of course, flipkart and amazon have spoiled me rotten. 🙂

    • I used to write the name of the city from where I bought the book. Not only that. I’ve got a seal with a logo for my books. And a punch hole to mark the books that I have finished reading. That punch hole leaves a chad of a design on paper. :)) Yes, I’m that crazy a reader. Of course I can’t do all that with Kindle.
      Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  3. There are certain books that I like to actually be able to hold, Mark in, and have sitting on my shelf ready for me to pick up at any time and share the book with other people….then, there are ones on my Kindle that I enjoy reading….so, I have to say I enjoy having the pleasure of Both!

  4. I share your love of books, it’s wonderful to get immersed in a story and loose all track of time and place. I’m in the process of rereading my favourites and reliving the times long ago when some of them first came into my possession.

    • The world of books is an incredible one. Isn’t it? Reading a book all over again is another pleasure. I reread Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children few months back and fell in love with it all over again. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Best Fiction and Writing Blogs | M.C. Tuggle, Writer

  6. I adore a reader that understands what it is to actually read something, more than having actually looked at the words and sentences but to feel the writing and connect with it. Your love shows.

  7. Very nicely written Shiva. I love reading too. I’ve read books through my school till college, but after getting to work and post wedding , somehow the habit has taken a back seat. Thanks for reminding me how much joy it is to read 🙂

    • Thank your your kind words. Reading books is such a bliss. Isn’t it? One should not stop reading books no matter what. I’m glad you liked my post. Keep reading good books and keep sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  8. Years ago, for one of my birthdays as a teenager, my youngest brother bought me a big batch of books as a birthday gift. And they were so well selected. I have 3 more siblings, but i always knew he knew me better than all the others, just by looking at that gift.
    I agree that books are the best gifts; not just any book of course, books that are carefully selected..
    Very well written post, I enjoyed reading it a lot.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s such a pleasure to read the words of a wonderful book-lover like you on my blog. Thank you for stopping by.
      I have read some of your blog posts and I must say that it was very interesting.

  9. I can totally relate to you regarding always reading books as a child. As far as Kindle goes, my husband has one but I’m still not into them too much and prefer actual books over them :)but yes they are definitely more convenient.

    • Yes. E-book readers can never replace books. Reading a real book is a bliss. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about books here.
      I checked your blog and it looks very interesting. Looking forward to reading some more posts on your blog.

  10. I am an avid reader and so is my son. You are so right about books, the best times are when you are with a book in hand. I know of a friend who got through the toughest time of his life because a book attracted him in the library and he started reading it!
    I have kindle but I haven’t found the same joy in reading with a book in hand and flipping through the pages. I feel I have a much more personal touch with a book in hand!
    Thank you for the post!

    • Yes Rohini. Books are our great friends. Sometimes reading a good book can cheer you up in a way no other thing can do. As I always said, e-book readers can provide us some interesting tools, superb user interface and unlimited storage convenience, but reading books the conventional way is a greater joy.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am looking forward to reading your blog. Few of the posts that I have read of yours so far are very well written. Keep reading. Keep writing.

  11. I was sceptical of digital readers too – now I love mine. No more “when are you turning that light out?” From my husband and great to pack light in the luggage. Great little yarn 👏

  12. Its a Great Post on Books and the validity.
    I just love Books.
    Like you I am very selective and go by all aspects that you have mentioned.
    Its the information that is concealed of a thousand years or so or more some times.
    Long time no news from you.
    Do read my latest Posts on Poetry and Photos.
    Fondest Regards,

  13. As you have said of the dictionary.
    One more thing I forgot, its always good to keep it beside you, that is how ones vocabulary increases.
    I keep the dictionary all over,in my two offices and at home and of all types.
    Lots of Love,

  14. I would say that I would love to have the 50 great books.
    BUT, I just moved and I could not afford the cost of moving the heavy books that I had…so I had to donate them to the library.
    I can put many books on a Kindle. it is easy to carry, and will not cost a fortune to move. So, although I love to hold books in my hand and hear the sound of the pages turning, I voted for the Kindle for economic reasons. 😉 That way I can keep all of the books that I buy and carry them with me wherever I go.

  15. I am soo glad to meet a fellow Manglorean. I am from Mangalore as well. I am just going through your blog will post my views soon.

    You have got a really amazing blog!

    Keep blogging

    Nans! ☺

  16. I agree! I have been able traveled to many places through in books.
    I was the second oldest of 9 children. My parents didn’t have enough money to take us out to see things, so when I was young I read books about islands, big cities, and things from other countries that I had never seen before. In high school, I became quite a fan of science fiction. And now….I love reading the blogs from people all around the world. With all of these words and stories, I’m traveling all of the time!

    • Yikes! I should have written: “I have traveled to many places through books”….OR….”I have been able to travel to many places through books. My second sentence is a combination of 2 different thoughts which I did not clear up before I sent! Not good English!

      • Hello Mary,

        Thank for this wonderful comment. Books are the wonderful way to explore the world. I have not traveled a lot, but books have always helped me understand more about the countries, cultures and people I have not had the opportunity to meet. It is the best alternative to the lived experience for those who want to travel but never actually got many opportunities.

  17. I love books too! However, I always prefer paperbacks to e-books for I just love the touch and feel of the paper titles. And Pearl S Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’ is a timeless classic! I love her writing too 🙂

  18. I am not biased towards any one of these yet, but I am certainly enjoying the perks that come with a Kindle. I also agree with the part where you say that it puts a lesser strain on the eyes. I got mine as a birthday gift too, and while my frequency of reading is up, I think I will squeeze in a paperback every now and then! 🙂

  19. I have a Kindle too but I actually prefer reading the traditional way. There is just something peaceful in it. Anyway, hey there! I’m fairly new here and I was browsing through when I stumbled upon here. Would you mind giving my site a look? I would really appreciate it if you did. Thanks a lot!

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