Reading is a very good habit. Its pleasures cannot be described at length in a limited time. An uneducated person cannot think of other than carnal pleasures, but reading is one of the choicest blessings of life of an educated person. Imagine how delightful it is to sit in a comfortable chair by the fireside with a book of travels in your hand during cold winter nights. Hours pass and we do not realize that it is time to go to bed. We are lost in a world of dreams. In our imagination we ramble in wonderlands. We see people, places, scenes and sights that we had never seen before.
Reading is highly enjoyable activity. During the summer vacations, we can sit in cool shady haunt in garden and read some beautiful novel of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Count Leo Tolstoy or Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”. We are so absorbed that we forge to take meals. If it is a portion of a short story or a novel, we would prefer to finish it before stirring to do anything else.
Stevenson says, “Books are good enough in their own way, but they are mighty bloodless substitute for life”
But books create a love for adventure, excite our curiosity and add a touch of romance to our monotonous life.
There are certain kinds of reading which, of course, do not deserved to be called reading for pleasure. For instance, reading for the purpose of examination is not a pleasure. We can go through a volume of essays or a number of poems and derive pleasure from whole process, becomes highly boring and proves to be mental torture it leaves no choice to us. The books are prescribed by the Board of studies or the Academic Council. Like the physicians they prescribe the unpleasant medicines for us, which we have to swallow. But when we read for pleasure, we can make a free choice from shelves of a library.
Different types of readers find pleasure in different kinds of books. Poems, short stories and novels of love and romance have great appeal for young men and women. Travel books, biography, philosophy and religious literature give pleasure to people of advanced age. Short books and comics are liked by children. Usually we read light literature for the sake of pleasure and serious literature for gaining wisdom and knowledge.
In dramas, stories and novels we identify ourselves with the heroes or the heroines and share with them the adventures of life. We move along with them in a dreamland and give free play to our imagination. When we sit down to read the “Arabian Nights”, we feel as if are also moving along with the characters of stories. We like to read them again and again and yet our thirst for reading is not quenched.
All wise man, poets and thinkers agree that mental pleasures are superior to physical pleasures. Plato was also of this view. Great people like Abraham Lincoln enjoyed reading till late at night. Even the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who holds pleasure as the highest good in life, believes that mental pleasure is the supreme. But only that man can realize the truth of it who has cultivated the habit of reading and who has gone through this thrilling experience.
Written by: Syed Faiz Mujtaba