My husband and I love reading books and have been busy gathering friends who share our passion, to meet once a month to discuss a book; the response has been enthusiastic with some wishing to combine a social gathering with their love for book reading and others saying it would motivate them to start a good habit once again.
Reading, as we all know, has innumerable benefits—from improving our mental health by providing exercise for the brain to reducing our stress. But the advantage I wish to stress upon is that it enhances our ability to understand the people around us and cultivate better relations. In fact, reading a book and discussing a movie are synonymous to me in a way. Let me give you an example. While reading an Agatha Christie, I’m trying to follow the protagonist’s line of thinking while also pursuing my own thoughts on the subject. The characters in the book come alive to question my surmise and conclusions just as friends do when we discuss a film.
The authors whose books I never tire of reading are Enid Blyton, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Chetan Bhagat, V.S. Naipaul, Roald Dahl, Rabindranath Tagore and R.K. Narayan, to name a few. Yes, I still cherish reading Enid Blytons and for those who may scoff or turn their noses up at this, I’d like to state that I’ve read almost every book written by her and continue to turn the pages of the doings of the Five Find-Outers and dog and follow Darell and her friends’ fun and adventures at Malory Towers, with as much enthusiasm as while reading any other author.
Drawing a parallel between books and friends, the people we choose as friends are not dissimilar to the characters from books whom we share affinity with. We are always trying to make acquaintance with someone who’s interesting and can teach us new things. Another similarity between books and friends is that both help us de-stress—for instance, losing ourselves in a favourite book when we wish to take our mind off our troubles is the same as meeting a friend and doing an enjoyable activity.
We are never lonely when we are among friends or when turning the pages of a book. Both bring joy and interest to our lives and make us better persons, physically and mentally.