News ID: 325361
Published: 0333 GMT November 14, 2022

On Things That Are Bad for Reading: A Personal Eulogy for Books

On Things That Are Bad for Reading: A Personal Eulogy for Books

Saeed Azimi Staff Writer

Let me be upfront here that this is not an article to boast about my being a nerd or a bookworm. On the contrary, this is a eulogy for books, since I barely have time to read anyway.

I distinctly remember when I was a child and my mother used to read Ferdowsi’s ‘Shahnameh’ (The Book of Kings) to me. Having been blessed with a good memory, I managed to memorize almost all of Shahnameh’s stories (not with the exact verses though, just the essence of the stories).

By the time I was 8, I vividly remember we had over 200 books, and none of them was unread. Anyone who has spoken to me in person knows I’m a fast talker. I am also a fast reader. I used to eat a book in a day.

The little speed-reading trick came in handy when I was a student. My mother was always angry at me as I finished textbooks in a day before the exam and she would find me in my room, curled up in a corner of my room, reading ‘Harry Potter’.

Another fun fact about my personality is that when I like a book, I keep reading it over and over. I daresay I have read Paul Auster’s ‘Sunset Park’ at least 15 times cover to cover, as it calms me down.

So, naturally, English literature was my first choice when I got into the university. (Don’t apply for English literature unless you like reading a huge pile of books in a tight schedule.) However, the only fun I got of my major was the time I was reading fiction or plays.

However, when you graduate from the university and step into the real world, that is exactly when things get messed up and your “love relationship” with books turn into a one-sided street. You get extremely busy. Working a “part-time” job that took over 10 hours of my day left me no time to read books. I’d get home, get something to eat and collapse like a corpse.

Things got even worse when I got married. I barely had time to have dinner, let alone read. To be precise, it has been two years since I have even picked up a book.

Maya Angelou, famous American poet and civil rights activist once said, “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him.”

This is truly a tragedy in my life. I have been trying to fill the void, but so far, I’m too busy working to make ends meet. Technology has in fact infiltrated our daily lives. We chat and DM with our friends, or keep ourselves busy browsing Instagram feeds.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a technophile, but I just hate the fact that technology is too involved in my life. I’ve been looking for ways to sideline it but, unfortunately, there is no way to escape it.

As a reporter, I find myself constantly browsing my Twitter and Instagram feeds, and that leaves me with little time to spare in a 24-hour day, and I’m not a fan of digital reading as well.

To me, reading is a multi-sensory experience, and screens lack the tactile experience needed to give you the pleasure of reading a book. There is something about holding a physical page of material that makes it more absorbable.

I assume that in traditional printed books, the author has spent a considerable time devising a logical story or line of reasoning. As I’m working my way through the book, I can stop and ponder the unfolding material. When I am finished thinking about what I just read, the book is still there—ready to lead the reader again along a lengthy, fully thought out trail of logic. Yet, the experience of digital reading has failed me after my constant efforts to read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on my phone. Therefore, I’m not a fan of reading books on my phone while I’m on the subway. I need to be in a warm, cozy place and hold a book in my hand.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do so, but in the meantime, I express my love for books and all the bookworms in the world. Hope you live a long, happy life and read as many books as you can.



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