Saturday, March 4, 2017

Food for Thought - 5 Great Advantages of Books

I was having a chat lately with Diane, one of my friends and we were sharing about our absolutely favourite indulgences when we get a bit of time to ourselves. She told me that when she gets time on her own, away from the kids and husband, she loves to totally indulge herself. I was surprised when she told me her favourite treat. A cup of coffee, a piece of buttered toast and a good book. Although I generally don’t drink alcohol when in India, my treat of choice would probably be a glass of red wine, a bar of chocolate and yes, the book. For me, the book is always non-negotiable.

Having a book blog, has given me online introduction to many authors I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read. Many of them have since become favourite  authors for whose latest releases I eagerly wait. My reading tastes have changed a lot. A few years ago I was reading a lot of romance novels. Nowadays, it’s horror and thrillers. Amazing, isn’t it? How our tastes change as times move on. Of course, it all depends on mood. Long, dark winter evenings are perfect for horror stories, whereas spring and early summer seem to bring on the mood for romantic reads. Here are five great advantages of books.

  1. Books lift us out of our everyday world and bring us to another place. I’m unable to travel as much as I did when I was young, because I’m taking care of my family. But when I read a book set in a different country, I feel as if I’ve travelled outside of my world.
  2. Reading books increases our knowledge. Whether we read a non-fiction book or a well-researched novel, we learn about facts and situations of which we might otherwise might never have been aware. In January, my daughter and I went through a Tudor history phase, when we were reading books like ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory. Websites offer a lot of information, but for an in-depth read, it has to be books, print or eBooks. It came as a surprise to learn from our reading that in the 16th century, a person of 45 was considered to be elderly. It’s totally different from our modern idea that you’re only becoming mature at 40, isn’t it?
  3. When I was short of cash years ago, I found it very hard to keep up with my habit of reading the latest books and buying Christmas gifts for my friends. So I had a brainwave. I bought my friends books for Christmas. Although they’re relatively inexpensive, books are always very acceptable gifts, provided you know the taste of the person for whom you’re buying. I read all the books before I gave them away for Christmas. It took a bit of restraint. I like to leave my marks on books. Notes in the margin, cracked spines, that sort of thing. Unless you’re very careful, books can definitely give away that they’ve been read before. I like to read books at my leisure, so even though it was nice to save a few pounds which I didn’t have, I wouldn’t want to do anything like that again.
  4. The cost of print books can be a bit high at times, especially if you read a lot.  If you don’t have access to a library, you can try to get secondhand books. You can get a bundle of reading at a fraction of the cost and you can come across some real treasures at book fairs. I’ve got some great books at the Book Fair at Moti Mahal in Lucknow.  There’s one in summer and the one in winter. When the wonderful Ram Advani Book Shop closed down last year in Lucknow’s Hazratganj, following the death of the legendary bookseller, I got an armful of bargains there too. Secondhand shelves in bookshops are also good options for picking up book bargains.
  5. The advent of the eBook was fantastic for book lovers. Print books are still very much in demand, but because of special offers and promotions, it is possible to acquire a lot of eBooks quickly. You can carry a library around in your smartphone or eReader. Books which are written in a series can be bought in bundles at a discount. In my humble opinion, books, whether fiction or non-fiction, are superior to television or films as a form of entertainment. There are a lot of eCourses available on the Internet nowadays, but if you are a self-starter and feel you don’t need to be accountable to anyone, an eBook can be a great substitute for a course.

The only food for thought I need is a really good book. The chocolate and wine are optional extras. Does anyone else reading this post love books as much as I do? Or is your favourite item something completely different?

I blog with the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a group of bloggers who post on the same topic/prompt every Friday. The current blogging members of this group are: me, RamanaChuck and Pravin. Thanks to Pravin for the topic/prompt 'Food for Thought".

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22 comments:

  1. Hello Maria. I'm with you. Books 📚 are something I can't do without. I read over 100 a year both print and ebook. And I write them too! So when I can't read, I am plotting in my head. I too like to learn about other cultures and new things. Thanks for a great post. :-)

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    1. Thank you Denise. I reckon you're very like me, then. This post was bound for my other blog, but I'm so glad I put it on here. I must get my hands on some of your books. I'll have to invite you here for a post, I'm thinking.....are you game?

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  2. You are not alone. I too love books - mostly, obviously, for their content; but also as a physical object of desire. There are books which are beautiful to the touch and/or their visual appeal.

    Your point No 3 makes me smile. I find some readers do have truly disgusting habits. In my view, they "defile" books. Which is why I rarely lend books to anyone unless they are paperbacks which can, if necessary, be easily replaced. It was a bit of a joke between one of my friends and me. She is very cultured, highly educated and American (not that the latter has anything to do with anything) and married to an Englishman (father-of-son to be precise). She is a voracious reader who, by her own admission, leaves books, once she has had her hands on them, as an aesthetical challenge to the next reader. This was amply illustrated when I once gave her a book as a present (hardback); she thought I should read it too and gave it "back" to me. Oh dear. Yes, see what she meant: She loves reading in the bath - so, essentially, her books are well steamed. Pages warped. Spines broken with abandon. I forget this minute whether she also employs that most awful habit of folding over the corner of the page where the reader leaves off. I can't begin to convey how much I hate that. And then there are the careless and inconsiderate library book readers who think nothing of returning their books for the next borrower to "enjoy" their annotations (in biro, not pencil - oh no, their thoughts clearly to be kept for posterity); and, see above, the inevitable "donkey's ears" as we call those folded over page markers in the mother lingo. Not to mention that a lot of readers appear to be very fond of eating biscuits leaving a trail of crumbling evidence between pages 147 and 162.

    Here is a thought for you, Maria, considering that you do pick up second hand books. What of the often musty smell of a really old book on opening? It can be challenging, for me. Still, I suppose books have a life of their own and a history too.

    Cheers, make mine a glass of Sauvignon Blanc,
    U

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    1. Ursula, lovely to see you over here. You know, unlike my late mother, who had what some Irish call 'a nose like a needle'meaning she could small more or less anything however faint, I don't have a strongly developed sense of smell. A smell would have to be pretty obvious before it woudl ake any impression on me. I've never yet come across a book which put me off because of the smell. And speaking of my late mother, she had quite an extensive collection of religious books and she was forever writing notes in the margins. I inherited a lot of the books. Most of them are inhabiting a suitcase in my cousin's attick, awaiting my return to claim them in Ireland. Some of them are with me here in India and seeing them lifts my spirits a little - ma only passed away after a short and particularly brutal seven month tryst with cancer which ended on the first of July 2016. Those notes in the margins make me feel she's still around, looking over my shoulder, offering me her insights on my various happenings, whether I want solicit them or not. It's a very visible sign to me that she's not far away. Your son's stepmother seems to be another person who likes to leave her mark on things. It means she's very different to you. Now in India, you'd do well among the older set. Hindus in particular have high respect for all books. It is considered unacceptable here to put a book on the floor, or touch it with your feet. It is ever a source of learning and to be highly respected. I kid you not.You, with your immense respect for books, would definitely make a far better impression than I did, leaving books piled up on the floor, to the detriment of my reputation. I look forward to joining you for a glass of sauvignon sometime in the future. Mine, of course will be rouge rather than blanc. Speak soon :)

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  3. This was a wonderful post! I smiled along with a lot of it. I totally agree that books can offer a unique education, including many things that you wouldn't learn at school. And they're better than film or TV because there is inevitably more detail in a book. You can get lost in them in a much deeper way.

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    1. Yes, Nick. I absolutely love getting lost in a book

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  4. You know well about my life with books. I keep swinging between fiction and non fiction and can't resist the temptation to keep adding to my library whenever I read a review or news item about a new book. My backlog of books to be read keeps growing all the time, now a days, mostly on my kindle.

    I don't drink alcoholic beverages so my choice of companions while reading will be tea or coffee with some snacks to go with, usually biscuits.

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    1. Yes, I know, Ramana. I too have a huge TBR pile of books and am reading constantly, although I lost my reading speed for a while, recently. I can't get alcohol in the sasural, so I'm afraid my drink is usually tea and coffee too.

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  5. What a lovely post, Maria. I'm with you on this - I could never be without my books and I feel such a thrill when I learn something new from my reading, but most of the time it is wonderful just to be able to escape into another world.

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    1. I love escaping into another world. It's a thing that makes difficulties in life absolutely bearable. Thanks for reading and commenting, Teresa.

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  6. Hi Maria. Super post! I'm addicted to reading!! Couldn't live without my books. Welcome to the IWSG. It is a wonderful community of writers, readers and creatives. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Thank you for popping by my blog to say 'hello'. It's lovely to meet you and I look forward to reading more posts from you. I've been a bit slack so far this year due to ill health, as well as rewrites of my novel. But I'll get back on track soon :) Have a lovely week.

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    1. Hi Nicola, lovely to see you over here. Thanks for reading and commenting. I look forward to visiting your blog again and reading more posts. I do hope you get well soon. Thanks again.

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  7. First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog. It's great to meet you.

    Books are essential for me. I had actually stopped reading for pleasure for many years but then it was blogging that got me back into it. Thank goodness!

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    1. Hey, thanks for coming over to say hello. Lots of bloggers seem to love reading. I guess if you like to read, you like to write too. And if you like to write, you appreciate good writing.

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    1. Thanks for coming over, Christine. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post. I enjoyed visiting your blog today.

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  9. I couldn't agree with you more. Although it's never been verified, rumor has it that I was born with a book in one hand and a flashlight in the other. (It's dark in there!)

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    1. LOL my dad used to say something similar about me! Thanks for visiting and comenting, Susan.

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  10. I am most definitely a bookaholic. An unashamed bookaholic. So many books, so little time. I won't be able to read them all, but I plan to die trying. And yes, chocolate and wine are lovely - but optional extras.

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    1. I'm very much with you on that. I may not read them all but I plant to die trying.......I love that.

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  11. Books are my indulgence, too. And wine! Now that I'm on a diet, I rarely waste the calories on wine, but that just makes the occasional glass taste even better.

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    1. I'm so pleased that books don't help us put on calories. That way, they're relatively guilt-free. Thanks for commenting, Stephanie.

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