Excursions Of A Bibliophile

What are u reading these days?

Why I read

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on February 18, 2011

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read — Groucho Marx

Reading is my form of prayer. For me it borders on a sacred activity and allows me to connect to humanity in a way no other activity, pastime or hobby allows. The feeling of oneness with the wider world is the most spiritual feeling that one can have and reading allows me to get there. Unfailingly, I experience a minor epiphany of sorts of this realisation of oneness at the conclusion of reading of a good novel, short story, play or a poem and this is very similar to the outcome of deep meditation. It is joyous, calming and deeply satisfying. That I would like to experience this feeling again and again is what drives me to reading

Theoritically, the cascade of possible directions that our life can take are infinite. Yet we travel in one single direction which at the end can be summed up as our life or our destiny. The uninitiatied alternate directions are lost for us for ever. Fiction has a unique power to adumbrate these alternate directions and roads not travelled with an uncanny vividness.These vicarious experiences are extremely valuable in keeping us civilized and kindle in us a hunger for human attributes that are aspirational and elevating. It is an inescapable truth that we live our lives in certain loosely defined but concrete boundaries (societal and workplace rules and responsibilities that come with our place in the society) and in that sense we are limited or confined. Fiction allows us to become aware of the areas where we can stretch these boundaries. In fiction one has an opportunity to peep into someone else’s life and see what happens to them and how they address it. In this context, all good fiction has something transformational and directional to offer us

It is a deeply held belief of mine that we are what we are due to the unrequited contribution and kindness of strangers who we come across in our lives. We come across them at various stages of our lives and in various situations. In a sense writers belong to the category of these kind strangers. Their motives of writing fiction can range from the most egotist to the most generous, yet once their output is out in the open it is for everybody’s benefit. Learning to read with an open heart and mind is a true mark of accepting this generosity with humility and that in itself is a sign of a refined human being

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