“I read like the flame reads the wood.”
― Alfred Döblin
By Kiriti Chandan Chavadi
Reading Books has long been listed in the list of hobbies by millions of people in their resumes. It is considered to be amongst the top 3 Hobbies in the world. This proves that people love to read books and when there is a passion for something, it grows into a habit and thus the love for reading books has been a favorite for lots of Book lovers.
The human mind is a very large computer with such huge capacity that it needs huge loads of knowledge to digest and people who are interested in reading books are a happy lot to get their mind satisfied to some extent. Various people have different tastes and likings in their choice of reading books. Some may like fiction; others may be interested in non fiction or real time stories, autobiographies or spiritual books. There is a vast ocean of knowledge in any kind of book one may choose and Books have always been a man’s best friend in happiness or sorrow.
Numerous researches have taken place to find out if there is any valuable or positive thing associated with reading books of his choice (fiction) not necessarily related to his work. This has now been proved that reading books is definitely a good choice as it helps the brain to relax and in some part of the brain it has also shown several improvements in the thinking pattern of the person as he reads the book which helps to integrate with his work culture and his leisure boosting his capacity to the maximum benefit. And this may be one reason why people would spend hours together on a novel and hardly 10 minutes on the Economics Text book.
People who read fiction tend to like the tale that is narrated descriptively which allows their mind to wander into the surrounds of the book characters. In doing so, they involve themselves along with the characters, the house, furniture and the garden etc and react to the situation, act or deed as if it is happening to them in reality. One such research has established as to how the brain patterns work when a person feels if he is reading about words like “perfume” “tantalizing” “coffee ” etc and how he reacts to other words like “a tiresome day” “French window” “picturesque view” etc. The former set of words sends a signal to the brain and it reacts by feeling the aroma or the taste whereas the latter set of words seemed just a dry description. It means that the reader forms a picture inside his mind as he reads along and therefore the effect is stronger. The person who reads only can understand the highs and lows in a particular novel and can actually experience the fun of reading. No such occurrence can happen by watching a movie or the television even if it is well narrated.
Reading a novel can make a person view in whatever way he imagines and it is fully satisfactory to him as long as he enjoys the story which cannot happen in any other media. The famous fiction novels include Mills & Boons in the romance section, Sidney Sheldon series in the thriller, Earl Stanley Gardener’s Perry Mason Series, Sherlock Holmes as Detective, etc. In this world of technology, electronic media is entirely on a higher hand with the advancement of Internet, World Wide Web, and Blogs etc. But this does not mean the death of the traditional Book reading. Whatever be the medium, reading a book either physical or online, the important thing is the value with which it is associated and the sense of satisfaction which nobody can steal.
Reading an autobiography has its own benefits like a person’s life history is penned down with the author’s personal touch towards his experiences and his learning or findings during his journey of life.
Many people would love to know the details of such a person’s life where they may borrow a few deeds into their lives. Usually people tend to read great personality’s autobiography as they are famous people with a great following like Mahatma Gandhi’s The Story of My experiments with Truth, Swami Vivekananda Biography, Sri Aurobindo’s Biography, Works of Sri Shankaracharya etc.
Reading should be encouraged by the parents to their kids’ as early as from the age of 5. They can start with fairy tales like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel or even small cartoon books like Phantom comics or Mandrake the Magician or the Famous Archie and the latest Harry Potter series. Aesop’s Fables are popular for their moral stories so are our Indian counterparts in Akbar and Birbal, Tenali Ramakrishna etc. Once the children get the taste of reading books, the habit will lead them to explore The Famous Five, Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys Mystery Series. Several stories like The Three Musketeers, Sinbad the Sailor, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Far from the Madding Crowd, Shakespeare’s Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet etc… have thronged the audiences for all times. There seems to be an endless list as to how many authors have described the novels to every person’s penchant and liking.
Some have interests in reading non-fiction books like those inspired by Anne Frank Diaries, Stephen King’s on Writing etc. It may also be some kind of science oriented magazine or a research paper on some invention or some documentaries, travel books, journals, essays, photographs or diagrams etc. Some critic writers like Shobha De, Chetan Bhagat, Arundhati Roy etc are known for their articles as they signify a different perception by criticizing in good spirits. Reading can be anything from reading the regular Newspapers or any specific article in the Newspaper or it may be some weekly magazine or a fortnightly. There is such a gigantic library to choose from for both the young as well as the old.
How it actually feels to read a book is entirely left to the reader himself and it is his decision to perceive something as good or bad. One book may be liked by many but the same book may be distasteful to a larger lot. This does not mean that the book can be rated bad as it is negative in the minds of the majority of the people. Books are such that you can take them wherever you go and start whenever you wish, in the train or at the bus stand and when one is about to finish a book, he may even take it to the dining area or even just forget the food. There is a book for everyone and every one should desire to develop this habit in order not to lose the treasure of some very great minds. This divine feeling can be felt only by the avid book reader himself.
Books are such that you can take them wherever you go and start whenever you wish, in the train or at the bus stand and when one is about to finish a book, he may even take it to the dining area or even just forget the food. There is a book for everyone and every one should desire to develop this habit in order not to lose the treasure of some very great minds. This divine feeling can be felt only by the avid book reader himself.
While chatting to members at our Day Centre, I realized that many of the elderly folk could no longer read books. They could still pick up a newspaper or magazine and read bits and pieces, but because of failing eyesight, reading for any length of time was too tiring for their eyes. Even large print books eventually became too stressful to read.
Many of us have read stories to our children and grandchildren, as great comfort is derived from being read to, at any age. The pleasure is not only felt by the children, but also by you, the reader. Especially as we often choose our own childhood favourites to read and enjoy once again!
So let us swing the other way and start reading aloud to the elderly people in our lives – a member of the family or someone you visit regularly or even someone in the care home where you work. You might want to read to one person or to a small group.
Suggest the idea to them and find out what book they would like to start with – it might be an old favourite or maybe a newly published novel. Most towns have libraries and you will be able to find the book there, if you don’t already have a copy.
Besides novels, there is a huge range of books covering specific topics or hobbies. Many of these have wonderful illustrations and photographs. Look also at the books in your chosen subject, that are aimed at children. There too you will find interesting text and even more pictures to share.
Apart from the obvious enjoyment of reading aloud, there are many benefits to be gained. Whatever book you choose to read, this activity will stimulate discussion and reminiscence, both of these being pleasing and essential to the wellbeing in the elderly. It too, alleviates boredom. This is a common problem with older people, as physical impairment limits activity and can spiral into depression.
So get your books out and start reading!
For more ideas on craft and activities for elderly folk have a look at My Blog
Nancy Lavender is a contributing writer to http://craftandactivities4elderly.blogspot.com where you can find activities relating to seniors, including crafts, games and so much more.
Most people wish they read more. It is an activity that is both fun and enlightening. It can help us be more knowledgeable and successful. However, it is an activity that many people don’t engage in very much. According to the 1999 National Household Education Survey, 50% of the U.S. population aged 25 and over read a newspaper at least once a week, read one or more magazines regularly, and had read a book in the past 6 months. What does this mean? It means that 50% of the population hasn’t read a book in the last six months!
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, research shows that if you read ten books a year, you are in the top few percent of all people as readers. Simply stated, it doesn’t take much to be well read, but we do need to know how to get started. The following are ten suggestions to help you strengthen your reading habit – ways to find and make more time for reading.
1. Always have a book around. Don’t go anywhere without reading material. Keep magazines or short stories in your bathroom. Always have something in your briefcase to read. Keep a book(s) by your bed. Having things available makes it easier for you to steal otherwise lost moments.
2. Set a reading goal. Determine how much time you want to spend reading, or how many books you want to read over time. Your goal might be a book a month, one per week, or it might be to read 30 minutes a day. Start out with something attainable but still a stretch. As your habit builds, you might set higher goals. Setting a goal is the first step towards reading more.
3. Keep a log. Keep a list of the books you have read, or keep track of how much time you read each day. You might keep these lists in your journal or your day planner. My son’s log is on our refrigerator. My list and log are kept on my computer. It doesn’t matter where you keep it, just do it.
4. Keep a list. Make a list of things you want to read in the future. Ask your friends and colleagues what they are reading. Watch for recommendations in the newspaper and magazines. Once you start looking for good books, you’ll find them everywhere. This is a great way to keep your enthusiasm up. By knowing what great stuff you want to read, you will reinforce your reading habit.
5. Turn off the television. Many people say they just don’t have enough time. Television is one of our major time consumers. Make your television watching more conscious and less habitual. There is nothing wrong with watching television shows you really enjoy. Where the time gets lost is turning it on, and scanning to find “something to watch.” Those are the times to turn it off and pick up your book!
6. Listen when you can’t read. Use your commute and other time spent in the car to listen! There are great audio versions of all sorts of books. Whether you want to “read” fiction, the latest self-help or diet book, it is probably available on tape. Don’t get locked into the idea that you have to read it – listening to the book still gives you the experience, ideas, and imagination that reading a book can.
7. Join a reading group or book club. Reading groups typically meet once a month to discuss a book they have all decided to read. Committing to the group provides a bit more impetus to finish the book, and gives you a great forum for discussion and socialization around the book’s themes.
8. Visit the library or bookstore often. You have your list, right? So you’ll have some ideas of what you are looking for when you walk in. But there is more to be gained by walking through places where books reside than just to make a transaction. Take time to browse! Let your eyes find things of interest. Let serendipity happen. Browsing will feed your mental need to read, and give you plenty of new things to read.
9. Build your own strategy. Decide when reading fits your schedule. Some people read first thing in the morning, some before bed. Some decide to read as they eat their lunch. And there is more to your strategy than just timing. Make your own decisions about reading. It is ok to be reading more than one book at once. It is ok to stop reading something before you finish if it isn’t holding your interest. It is ok to skim the book, getting what you want or need, without reading every page. Determine what works best for you, develop your own beliefs and ideas–then make them work for you.
10. Drop Everything and Read. My son’s fourth grade class has DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time. When the teacher calls for it, that’s just what they do. They read now. That is my last piece of advice for you. Do it. Just get started. Make it DEAR time. Now.
©2002, All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/current.asp to read the current issue and subscribe. Kevin is also President of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You may contact Kevin at toll free 888.LEARNER.