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Reading maketh a full (wo)man

Reading maketh a full (wo)man

“Reading maketh a full man”
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

Is reading dying? I sincerely hope not. Humans read much more now than they did 50 years ago- we sit in front of a computer all day long and read- we read emails, we read tweets, we read text messages of various kinds, we read facebook posts, we read the news online, we even read books online, but how often do we pick up a good old fashioned book and read it?

Online reading is short attention span reading, whereas picking up a book would be long attention span reading and the joy of long attention span reading has been captured eloquently in some of the quotes above. Can you see yourself waxing eloquent about a text message or a tweet? I have always loved reading and that love has stayed with me, although I have to confess that I spend inordinate amounts of time in front of the computer indulging in short attention span reading these days. Despite all the distractions offered by the computer and the ease of carrying thousands of books on Kindle, I still favour old-fashioned book reading- it brings me joy like no other. I always have about 4-5 books lying by my bedside and read a minimum of 25-50 pages from a book every single day.

As parents, it is our duty to teach our children the joys of reading- it is especially challenging in this day and age as the youth have so many distractions vying for their attention that they have hardly any time to indulge in this most edifying of habits. As a parent, I have tried to teach my girls the joy of reading- when they were younger, I used to read to them nightly- it was not only a bonding ritual, it seeded in them a love of reading; it seems to have helped as they read a fair bit, given the number of distractions around them.


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Renuka Vaidyanathan, an erstwhile finance professional, opted out of the corporate rat race and now likes to think that she wears many interesting hats. She is an events’ organiser in the cultural space and also writes every now and then about people, places and events. She is an avid advocate of 'green living' and dabbles in some sitar-playing as well, albeit as an amateur.

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One thought on “Reading maketh a full (wo)man

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    I can totally identify with your passionate cry to read. I myself have been accused of never having a hand free since it’s always carrying a book, or lately, the Kindle. I cannot imagine a day go by without immersing myself in the wonderful world created by another’s imagination, for 15 minutes at least, if not more. I chuckled at your fourth quote (Caroline Bingley) and was reminded of what Darcy says about a truly accomplished woman – that to all her other accomplishments, she needs to add the habit of extensive reading and understanding! Reading does make a full woman!


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