Reading is delightful. It requires concentration, contemplation and critical thinking which enables us to assimilate the essence of a book. It opens up new possibilities to look at characters and events that are presented in a book. It proves to be a fruitful experience in the long run. The art of reading can be cultivated by engaging with the intricacies of the book. How does a person construct this refuge? How is the art of reading enriching? Let us find out from T. Ganesh, a Computer science student (Engineering) from Vellore Institute of Technology in an interview with our writer B. Geetha. Here you go-
1. How much time do you spend for reading?
Ans – Depends. If I am in the middle of a college semester, then I don’t read any books at all. But, at the beginning of each semester, I usually try and finish at least one book. During the semester holidays, I “unleash” the voracious reader within myself, and I try to read as many books as possible.
- What is your favourite genre and why?
Ans -Even though I am not fond of any particular genre, I would rate “Crime” above all other genres. Why? Because crime offers you a mixture of thrill, suspense, romance (sometimes), victory, defeat, fear…The list is endless. I haven’t explored any other genre until now, so it is quite possible that the others too might have some surprises for me. Also, I am biased towards crime, because I love reading books of the “Queen of Crime” Agatha Christie. The remarkable way in which she builds a particular plot, and then shows the reader the conclusion obtained using simple yet elegant reasoning, leaves me spellbound every time I finish one of her novels.
- What, according to you, discourages an individual from reading?
Ans – Here are some reasons behind why an individual gets discouraged from reading –
- The book is boring – After reading a book for a while, a reader might feel that there are no twists and turns, and might become frustrated by the monotonous tone.
- The book is too lengthy – Many books have a beautiful plot, and a strong storyline, but the author fails to end the story at the right moment. Adding irrelevant content, delaying an evident conclusion, can make a reader to drop the book before the end.
- Language of a book – Not every reader is a logophile, and for such people, opening a dictionary to understand the meaning of each sentence, can be quite frustrating.
- Cliff-hangers – Does this need an explanation?
- Waste of time – Many people feel that reading a book is a waste of time, and this time can be spent effectively by doing some other “productive” work.
- Can you mention the factors that influence the reading of a book?
Ans -Factors that influence the reading of a book –
- Environment – A crowded bus, a marketplace – These are some of the places where you CANNOT sit and read a book. For reading a book, a calm, soothing, and peaceful environment is required, so that there are no obstructions between you, and your own imaginary world.
- Language – I have read many novels which make the reader go through different phases, sequentially, and these novels usually end at the right moment, without any elongations, or cliff-hangers. On the other, there are some novels which don’t follow a specific pattern, but are quite erratic from the beginning. There are jumps from one concept to another, which can leave many readers baffled, because if a book doesn’t have a proper “flow”, then a reader might lose interest soon. The grammar, too, is important, because if some grammatical errors are found at the beginning of a book, then people will not consider reading it further.
- People around you – There are chances that you are interested in reading a particular book, but since one of your friends said that the book is not good, you will end up not reading the book. People are influenced by other people around them, and the reviews given by the other people might be genuine or just personal opinion.
- Do you like to read E-books or would you prefer the heavenly touch of a book?
Ans – For me, it would be the heavenly touch of a book. A post on the Humans of New York page, on Facebook, justifies my choice – “A physical book assigns a sense of reverence to the content inside. It’s the same feeling you get when you look at a painting or hear a piece of music. “You can’t feel the thickness of a page when you are reading an e-book. You can’t feel the words by drifting your fingers over them, because the screen acts as a barrier. When I am reading the last few pages of a book, I keep questioning myself “How is this going to end?” This sheer anticipation makes me to clutch a particular page before turning it, because I am so excited about the contents of the next page. The fear that the book will end soon is there, yes, but the anticipation of finding a brilliant end is there too. The turning of a page can never be replaced by a swipe.
- Which language do you usually read in? Any specific reason?
Ans – I usually read books which are written in English language. Sometimes, I read short stories written in Hindi. There is no specific reason for choosing English. When I started reading books, I started with an English book, so I have been predominantly reading English books since then.
- Art for art’s sake or Didactic value – which is more important for a book?
Ans – I feel that a book should have some didactic value associated with it, because, apart from the world that every book projects, there should be some room for readers to infer some message from the characters or incidents in the book. This message can be inspirational or factual. For a reader, it might seem useless when he/ she is reading a book, but, in the long run, when a person recalls any book, he/she would also remember the message associated with the book.
- How do you feel when your favourite novels are brought to life through movies?
Ans – Depends. When I read a book, I have my own imagination about the world created by the book. The way I perceive the characters described in the book, the way I imagine the incidents depicted in the book, might not be the same as how others perceive, and imagine the contents of the book. I have never been a big fan of movies adapted from books, and I have not seen many such movies. I watched the Harry potter movies after I finished reading the whole series, and I felt that my imagination of the wizard world, was pretty similar to the one projected in the movies. The actors too had done a fantastic job in bringing the wizard world to life. But, still, I strongly feel that a movie can NEVER be as good as the book from which it is adapted from.
- Which is the recent novel you have read? How do you like it?
Ans – Recently, I read “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. Though this book, I understood the concept of dystopia, which was pretty elusive to me. I admire the way Orwell portrays the corruptible influence of power among animals living in a farm. This novel is a beautiful example of a political satire, which is quite evident from the line – “All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”
- How does a person enhance his/her love for reading?
Ans – A person can enhance his/her love for reading by –
- Exploring Interests – If a person is interested in relationships, and romance, then he/she should start reading romance novels. This will help the person to look at how authors view the concept of romance, how they project different relationships, and also, this can help the person to find out whether he/she is really interested in, say, romance, or not.
- Discussions – A healthy discussion amongst people who have read similar books can increase the want for reading books because, these discussions, people pitch their own views regarding certain characters, or incidents, and they get to hear other people’s opinion as well. People read more books so that they can discuss more!
- Learning new words – Learning new words can help a person understand a book easily, because, the more words you know, the less you become reliant on a dictionary. This can save a person from the frustrating dictionary lookups every time he/ she encounters a new word.
By B.Geetha for Campus Drift.