I love reading. I’ve loved it ever since I can remember. I don’t remember where I picked up the habit because no one else in my family was interested in or had any time for reading as a hobby.
When I started college, I first came across people who romanticised reading. You’d never catch them without a book with them. They’d pride themselves in how many books they carried on their travels because they’re more important than clothes or shoes! Then came the Internet memes asking boys to find girls who read over every other type (whatever that means). I’ve seen parents proudly showing off how their kids are glued to books at the dinner table and prefer the company of books over people. Let’s not even get into the topic of book hoarding.
I love books, and I have done all of these things mentioned above. But I am also a practical person. I’m not going to carry a book unless I know I’m in for a long wait. On my travels, I would prefer to explore the place I’m visiting. I don’t think people who read are superior to anyone else. And I don’t condone kids being encouraged to be so immersed in books that they forget to interact with people around them. After assessing my reasons to overfill my bookshelf, I’ve decluttered all but the books I absolutely love.
Of course, a Kindle comes in very handy now. So many books at your fingertips without the weight of it. You can read a salacious romance novel without prying eyes judging you.
Books are a treasure trove of knowledge and imagination. They let you escape when you need to, entertain you, and expose you to worlds you’d never imagined. Some books come into your life at the time you need them the most. They give you a point of view or insight or just a warm hug that you didn’t know you needed until then.
I wanted my son to love books. It didn’t matter what kind. We’ve read to him since he was just three or four months old. To this day, he will not sleep without reading a few pages before bed. His interest in books led him to try and read on his own without us forcing it on him.
We’ve read him picture books, stories, silly poems, comic books, chapter books, newspapers, and even brochures. He’s curious as any child would be discovering more of the world around them.
All this doesn’t mean he’s allowed to read at the dinner table. He still asks for screen time and is usually out playing with friends most of the day. In the afternoons sometimes, we’ll read together. He’ll read his books, and I mine. As with any activity, we remind him, too much of anything is harmful. Whether it’s a screen or a book, there’s time allotted to it.
As he grows older, he might find a book that he can’t put down. We’ll probably let him stay past his bedtime for another chapter, then gently remind him that tomorrow’s another day.
Reading is good – living life is better.