READING FOR PLEASURE
Parents of today ask a funny question: ‘Why should we go for the pleasure of reading when there are several other things around that are made purely for giving pleasure?” A very valid question indeed. We can not expect the modern parents to ask a different question especially when their minds are all boggled by the advent of several electronic goods. These are days when even elementary school kids have their own e-mail ids and browse happily in internet cafes.
Readinghas a pleasure of its own. That sets the ball rolling and the next question that crops up is ‘Why do we read books?’ As a reader and lover of books for more than four decades and as one who has moved with several voracious readers I feel that people read books for four reasons at least.
To keep our mind away from worries and problems is the major reason for reading books. That is to say, by reading books we can enter a different world away from reality that is bothering us. In short, we read books for escape.
The second kind of readers who go through books are the helpless lot who have no other option but to use the books. Businessmen, school teachers, college professors, doctors and all those of their ilk…they have to. And the primary purpose is to know, because they have understood that they do not know.
Reading for status …that is racing to keep up with the books “everybody’ is reading. When I have read the latest in the bestseller list, how can you afford to betray your ignorance? Shame on your status. These are the third kind of readers.
Those who read for pleasure belong to the fourth category. These are the people who love reading and belong to that clan that can boast of having the most satisfying hobby in life. Most booksellers rely on this category of readers when they publish a book. Most book exhibitions are aimed at this sort of readers.
Readingfor pleasure may not help us in getting through interviews or get a better job or even keep up with Bill Gates. But this hobby, like a true friend, comforts us when we are neck deep in trouble. It may add a new dimension of enjoyment to all our leisure activities. We must understand that works written originally for public entertainment are in no sense the private property of English professors. I, being a Professor of English for nearly three and a half decades, maintain that the bulk of what generally passes as literature belongs to the people for whose pleasure it was surely written.
People who read for pleasure are those who care to read for the sake of reading, and for the epicurean enjoyment it provides. The true friends of literature are those who manufacture books with a view of giving pleasure to others; and those who buy and read books with a view to giving pleasure to themselves. Pleasure reading helps us in increasing one’s understanding of humanity and thereby assures us peaceful if not endearing relationships in society. Good books invariably tell us that people are everywhere the same, regardless of the geographical or historical positions and this conduces to a tolerant attitude toward friend and neighbour.. Through this knowledge we can strive for peace which is the need of the hour.