Reading has many advantages. It gives us pleasure, increases our knowledge and sharpens our intellect. In the words of Francis Bacon, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man and writing an exact man.” By reading, one becomes a complete man. One develops a comprehensive personality. One acquires knowledge and wisdom. Books widen our outlook on men and matters. By reading good books, we acquire noble habits.
Reading is a source of great pleasure. It gives us a sense of satisfaction. It bestows peace of mind. Of course, only a person who has developed the habit of reading can reap all the benefits of reading. Therefore, everyone should develop a regular habit of reading. When we are in the grip of disappointment and despair, only reading of good books can give us peace of mind and a ray of hope for the future. Books inspire us to work hard to achieve success in life.
Reading develops our latent qualities. Just as food is necessary for our body, reading is necessary for our mind. Reading is useful only if we read good books. Only good books can lead to a noble and successful career in life. Bad books spoil our character. It is said that if wealth is lost, nothing is lost, if health is lost, something is lost, but if character is lost, everything is lost. We should, therefore, not accept any bad book even for cursory reading.
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According to Bacon, some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested. A good book should, therefore, be chewed and digested so that it has a lasting influence on our life. For example, reading of the Gita leaves a lifelong influence on our mind. It teaches us the philosophy of life. It teaches us morality. It explains to us the Law of Karma, which means that we reap what we sow; our good actions alone will entitle us to a place in heaven. It exhorts us to do our duty and not bother about its result.
The selection of books depends on one’s taste or aptitude. Young boys and girls usually like to read cheap romantic or sensational novels. Reading of these novels no doubt gives them a thrilling experience. But it does not help them in their studies. It does not improve their career. Reading of such books is, therefore, a sheer waste of time.
Unfortunately, there is no one to guide the students as to what type of books they should read. It will be in the interest of students if they read only those books, magazines and periodicals which increase their knowledge of current, national and international affairs. They should also read biographies of great men like Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, etc. They should also study the sacred books of various religions like the Vedas, Upanishads, the Gita, Quran, Bible, Granth Sahib, etc.
Reading for pleasure is quite different from reading for a course or profession. When we read anything under compulsion, we do not enjoy it. But when we read for pleasure, we enjoy a lot. But, whatever be our motive, we should not read each and every book that comes in our way. We should be selective. We should separate the chaff from the grain. We should select the best books.
The habit of reading should be developed from childhood itself so that when the children grow up, they are quite knowledgeable and can be successfiil in life. Books are no doubt our best companions. They never let us down.
In the modern age, there is a great advancement in printing technology. Therefore, a large number of international and national newspapers are printed daily. Dozens of international and national magazines are also printed. Similarly magazines and periodicals which increase our general knowledge about science and current affairs are also published.
These newspapers and magazines greatly enhance the knowledge of young men and women. Therefore, the student must read these newspapers and magazines. If he cannot buy these, he can go to some library and read the same. This will not only increase his knowledge but also develop a habit of reading them.