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The joy of reading

In times of crisis, nothing comes to your rescue like a good book does. For those who make reading a part of the art of living, calmness of the mind is an automatic outcome. There are books which are easy to grasp and you enjoy them and learn from them. But, at times, you come across books that you don’t understand and hence don’t enjoy them.

columns Updated: Sep 24, 2013 00:46 IST
PP Wangchuk

In times of crisis, nothing comes to your rescue like a good book does. For those who make reading a part of the art of living, calmness of the mind is an automatic outcome. There are books which are easy to grasp and you enjoy them and learn from them. But, at times, you come across books that you don’t understand and hence don’t enjoy them.

In such cases, if the book is a best seller or from a renowned author, one need not read it in one go. Just read a few pages here and there and keep it at a safe distance. Repeat this process a couple of times over a period of time. A time will come when you will start understanding it and enjoying it; and you will feel as if you are a part of the book.

In ‘The Story of Philosophy’, Will Durant talks of philosopher Spinoza and says one has to study his books, particularly ‘Ethics’, and not just read them. And don’t think that you will find their core by running over them rapidly.

Such a book must be read in small portions in many sittings. After reading it fully, you would have definitely understood some parts of it, if not fully. Reading others’ writings on the book you could not understand makes it easier. Finally, read the book again, and you would have not only understood it, you would have transformed yourself into a ‘little philosopher’!

Buy several good books and just keep them somewhere where you can have a look every day. Whenever you are free, get hold of one of them and start going through a few pages. The point is to make books your lifelong companion and not an object of pleasure for a day or two. A book is generally bought by most of us for three reasons: To have the sheer pleasure of reading; to gain knowledge and to gain awareness. And it is possible some books give you all the three — pleasure, knowledge and awareness.