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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, Ramana, Chuck and Pravin. Thanks to Pravin for the topic/prompt 'Food for Thought".
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