I lay back on my chair, near the window. It was raining pleasantly outside and the cool breeze coming through was enough to convince anyone to make the place near the window their humble abode. I took a book from my shelf, a new one that I had brought the previous day. I opened the first page of the book and smelt of what I call 'newness of the book'.
I looked at the front and back of the book which were intricately designed. As I sat down, it dawned upon me my habit of collecting and reading books was a way to enter a world I couldn't enjoy in reality. It is true that books are a ticket for us to enter an unknown world in which everything doesn't happen as per our boring routine. It helps us to live our dreams, personify the characters in the books and become someone other than us. It was a retreat for me to hear the pitter-patter of the raindrops and enjoy the book. Books help us see light of knowledge in the darkness of ignorance. No one has ever been spoilt by a book but billions of people have been inspired to lead better lives by reading books. Be it picture books for small children, adventure books for preteens, mystery books for teenagers, self-help books for people searching for jobs, or fact books for anyone from a child who has just learned to read to an old man with much time to spare, books have always been there for us.
Today the world is going through a strange phase. A person nowadays would rather watch TV and spend a lot of money on movies rather than on books. He justifies this by telling that movies are like a new experience that helps him live a world he can't live in reality. But I really don't see much difference in reading books other than the fact that movies on a long-term basis have a tendency to spoil your eyes while books offer the same pleasure through the medium of pages which don't have such an adverse effect. Books moreover can be read again and again, allowing the reader to live this dreamy world as many times as he likes.
Then there are magazines, a shorter and more versatile version of a book. It won't be wrong to say that magazines in certain aspects are better than books, especially weekly magazines whose uses are millions. I wait every week for the Thursday magazine for tips, entertainment, news, advice, debate and lots more. Its near weightlessness converts it into a travelogue which can be read during our commute.
Its smooth paper forms a wonderful covering for books and its illustrations serve their purpose in both --- completing school assignments and decorating scrap books.
Then there are second hand books which even many book lovers don't appreciate. The only justification they are able to give is that the books don't look new. I don't consider this even to be a statement. The reason we read books is to gain knowledge and open doors to various possibilities we don't enjoy out in this real world. So I don't see where the beauty or the condition of the book plays a role. As long as the words in a book can be read, there can be no excuse preventing us from reading a book.
After all books stay at our side even when we feel we are alone in the whole world. There can be no better friend than a book.
According to me, there are certain stereotypes based on books that should be eradicated.
There are many old people in this world who have a desire to read the books of their grandchildren but the society's view of the matter holds them back. This doesn't mean children read books that are not meant for their age.
I wish to convey that there shouldn't be any differentiation based on the personality of the person for reading books.
The recent mobile book shop Maktabati as a part of Dar Al Atta'a's 'Let's Read Campaign' is an effort of the people to read books out there regardless of the condition of the books. After all isn't there a popular saying, 'don't judge a book by its cover'.