Those of you who know me would know that one of the things I love most is reading. I can happily spend hours together curled up in a corner with my book. In fact, many schoolmates remember me spending most of my time in the library, while others were busy with sports.

I dedicate today’s post to my best friends, who have been with me unfailingly for nearly 40 years – books!

My family has always had voracious readers. Growing up, I remember we always had Tamil magazines and books in the house which my parents and grandparents read.

My first memory of reading a book is when I was probably 3 or 4 years old. We lived in a joint family of sorts – we had two houses on the first floor that were connected by a corridor. We lived in one and my uncle, aunt & cousins lived in the other. So we were practically in each other’s houses all the time. My cousin who is 10 years older than me was an avid reader. She had taken me to a library and I remember sitting on a floor cushion at the center table and reading because I was too small to sit on a chair and read at the regular table. I initially started with comics. Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, Champak, Chandamama, the English version of Gokulam, Sputnik & Reader’s Digest were some of the books that we grew up with. Some we subscribed to and others were borrowed from the library. Either way, each month we would eagerly await the next installment in the stories.

Then when I was about 9-10 years old I got my first library card – to the State City Central Library and it was one of my most prized possessions. Here I started my journey with short stories and novels – Enid Blyton was a favorite followed by Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Perry Mason, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, etc. By then we had moved homes and I had the privilege to access one of the finest libraries in India – the Central Library (now called JRD Tata Memorial Library) of Indian Institute Of Science. Here I spent many evenings during my college days, researching for my subjects. Of course, I still continued my tryst with fiction and borrowed novels from the Faculty Club library of IISc. Jeffery Archer, Sydney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, Jane Austen, etc were greedily devoured. After I got married & set up my own home, I made sure to have a separate space for my books. So the visits to the library decreased as I bought books. In fact, I had accumulated so many books that I set up a community library and ran it for 2 years.

Now I do most of my reading on my Kindle as it is more practical to carry around, store many books and read in bed without disturbing others. But for a book-lover, this can never replace the touch and smell of books. I have safely stored away my personal collection and am always filled with a sense of well-being when I open the box to visit them from time-to-time.

Currently, I am a blogger and a content creator. I credit this skill for writing to my reading habit. It is this habit that instilled the love for words in me and has been instrumental in turning my passion into a means of connecting with a larger audience.

Today, I don’t see many kids picking up the reading habit. They are glued to their gadgets. It is unfortunate when parents don’t realize the importance of inculcating the reading habit in their formative years.

Did you know that there are numerous benefits of reading books?

  1. The first and most obvious one is that it increases knowledge. It builds up a sense of curiosity to know more about a variety of topics.
  2. It increases your vocabulary as you come across new words & phrases that are used around the world. As you increase your level of reading, you can also increase your command over the language.
  3. Because of the above, your writing skills also improve. While you may or may not be able to write beautifully, you will surely develop the skill to write with accuracy.
  4. Reading improves your mental health as well. You can learn from the psychology of the characters and the relationships described in the books. It is proven that reading reduces stress, helps fight depression, slows down age-related cognitive decline, makes you more empathetic, and helps you relax.
  5. It sharpens your focus and memory and stimulates your imagination and creativity.
  6. It helps build concentration, which in turn is helpful academically also.

Books, be it physical or an ebook, are an integral part of my life. Except for brief periods, I think I have read something every single day of my life. In fact, it is an indication that something isn’t right when I don’t read anything for a couple of days. I call books my best friends because they have been there with me through all my trials and triumphs. If I am feeling low or need motivation, I pick up a favorite book and start reading it. Some of the books like Gone With The Wind, To Kill A Mocking Bird & the Harry Potter series have been read so many times that I have lost count. For me, they are therapeutic and cathartic. Though they are fiction, each time I take back something of value when I read them. Books have taught me to stick to my beliefs immaterial of how “uncool” they may be, they have taught me loyalty, perseverance, faith in myself, the value of true friendships and so much more. It is through them that I have lived many characters and experienced many emotions.

What do books & reading mean to you? Are you passionate about them like me? Which are your favorite books? Do connect with me in the comments below.

I dedicate this blog to my cousin Lakshmi, who introduced me to books and opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla, and generously SPONSORED BY Bugshield Clothing – Enjoy Outdoors More!

Blog pictures : courtesy Google & Pinterest

52 Comments

  1. Well written Vasu.
    I entirely agree with you on the many positives of the reading habit. Books are the best rejuvenators.
    I never gave much thought to our first library visit together…It was the State Educational Library…I am humbled by your acknowledgement. Thanks.
    Also happy to add that my elder son Abhishek is an avid reader too. So, it continues….

  2. I thin, we have a lot in common. Enid Blyton was a favorite followed by Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Perry Mason, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie – awesome. I am in love with these books. I started reading with Marathi books. I stayed out of Maharashtra and books were the only medium to read Marathi literature. So, we had one library run my Marathi Mandal and every week, one uncle used to come with bags full of books.

    I so very agree with you. Books open. adore to a completely new world. I alway stress over the ned of reading books. Luckily my kids like reading and they have it as a mandatory things at school. They read a book and then have a discussion board. Loved the creative.

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    1. So nice to see we have so many common writers that we grew up with! Unfortunately, I don’t read any regional language books. But Iam sure they are wonderful and a translation will not do them justice.

  3. Well said vasu😊its a passion not many do cultivate…keep going👍🏻the mention of city central library takes me down the memory lane….where we three would walk down to enjoy the colourful comics(which I love reading even to this day) unlike u guys🤗

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    1. Yes. I remember our trips to the library. And I do read comics from time to time. I had a huge collection of Archies till about a year ago which I finally donated to the community library.

  4. In my childhood, I used to visit my nearest government library. Books are friends and they know only giving. Books never takes anything. Your love for books can easily be recognized by your writing skills. I hope that one day you will again open your library.

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    1. Thank you Sadvika. If you have access to physical books and have a place to store them properly then kindle is not needed. I was gifted the Kindle by my husband when we shifted into an apartment and I did have place to store my books…around 5k books 😉

  5. Such a heartfelt post. I too am a avid reader . I read all those books which you have mentioned during the age of 9 to 12. That was the time I was crazy about sidney sheldon and loved fiction books immensely but somehow, after becoming a trainer I am more into non fiction as they add value to my training and my life too.

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  6. I totally agree with you as being a single child, books are always my companions and best friends. I keep telling my kid also the same.

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  7. Mine is a similar love story and friendship with books. Started reading at 4 and joined a library at 10. Encouraged my kids to read books as well but sadly now I barely read books. It is just blogs and more blogs..either writing or reading.

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  8. Your journey is a mirror of my own journey with books! I love love love love books and have read the same books as you did growing up. Since 1.5 years now I am on KIndle reading and have read nearly 80 books – books I would never have been able to buy. I am hoping to pass on this habit to my children too.

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  9. Really loved reading this. Though I am no Bookworm but on occasion I have found my self to be unable to sleep without finishing a book I have started. I am trying to develop my reading habit and inculcate the same for my kiddo

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    1. Thank you Raunica. Yes…some books are hard to put down. I once did a marathon reading for nearly 12 hours without any sleep. Got shouted at by my parents and stopped only when they took away the book 🙂

  10. After reading this, I feel now I know you a little more. Reading is indeed the most multi-beneficial habit one can possess. I have never been a voracious reader; opposite to you, I found my love for reading at a later age. And now I can say that Yes I am in love of reading along with the self-made tradition of gifting books to my friends and my kids too, who loves reading on their special days. And glad that I have successfully inculcated the habit of reading into my kids also. My son is an ardent reader; he loves historical-fiction and non-fiction the most.

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    1. So nice Archana. As a kid I used to love historical ficton too. I remember falling in love with Tipu Sultan after reading books about him. In school too, I always scored well in History as compared to any other subject.

  11. It’s so awesome to know that you were running a community library too. You are very right in saying that kids don’t love reading these days. One reason is their short attention span. EVen parents are running after coding, cubes, reasoning classes… Reading is one of the best activities to rejuvenate the mind and soul and I hope parents realise its importance ..so that they can encourage their kids to read too.

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    1. Sad but true. I have heard parents tell kids that they wont give them money for a library subscription as they think it is a waste. But they dont blowing up double that money on movies and popcorn. Hope people realise the benefits that books can bring to their children.

  12. A lovely read, Vasumathi. Took me down memory lane when I and my brother would cycle down to the cantonment library each day to borrow books. Can’t imagine a world without books. read more digital books now, easier as a reviewer too. Hate annotating print books.

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  13. This is one is direct dil se post from an ardent book lover. As I said in the previous blog as well, your love for books is visible through your writing. For me, reading is an escape from the outside world. I started reading when I was in college and Paulo Coehlo was my first read, you can guess the name of the book 🙂 I am more of a non-fiction fan, but I love reading Paulo Coehlo in English and Manav Kaul in Hindi. When I was working and use to stay alone, books were my roommates, I would come from the office and read no matter how tired I would feel. From the last few years, I have become a slow reader but yes I read almost daily be it one page or 10 pages. Right now, I am reading “Antima” by Manav Kaul.

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    1. Was it The Alchemist 🙂
      I dont read any regional language books unfortunately. For some reason never developed the fluency to read books. But yes I agree that they can be lovely companions and keep one sane.

  14. Vasumathi I think it takes conscious efforts to fall in love with reading…so many congratulations u have a friend for a life time 🙂 indeed now in this phase where I have a kid around , getting mee time to read is like a big ask from people around…how can v inculcate this habit in kids can b ur next topic which shall b of immense help for people like me 🙂

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  15. Your writing skills definitely shows that you are an avid reader. I totally agree with reading benefits you mentioned here. Your post also reminded me of my childhood days when we used to read Tinkle, champak and other story books and magazines.

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  16. It’s like I was flowing with your journey. Sucha a beautiful write up. I have tried reading lot of times but somehow quit every time. I am motivated to start again now.

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  17. Omg Vasumathi! This is exactly the kind of childhood memories I have with books too. Books indeed are your best friends and nothing in the world can replace the joy of holding, smelling and reading a book. Although, I have a kindle too, I hate it to the core as it never entices me the way my books does. Today, when we go to a bookstore, my son grabs few books, takes a corner, sits on the floor and gets absolutely engrossed in it. And that for me is absolute bliss. My husband however is clueless about the sheer bliss when I see this or get excited by books & bookstores.
    Also, amidst all the excitement, I forgot to applaud you for starting a community library and spread the joy of reading.

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    1. Thank you Amritha. I can so related to the “clueless about reading” as my husband too is not a great reader at all. He used to read some crime novels when we initially met. But that has not continued. But he supports me with my reading habit and was instrumental in helping me set up the library. Infact his reading is now probably limited to being the first reader of my blogs – he helps me proof read my personal blogs 😉

  18. I so agree with the point that even though Kindle has made it easier for us to carry many books together at a time, but still I miss the touch and smell of those fresh pages.

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    1. Yes. Kindle was not my choice but was gifted by my husband. It is far better than reading on a tab or phone but yes…can never match up to the actual book for a book-lover coz for us a part of the enjoyment of reading is the feel and smell of books

  19. Very well written..I’m a voracious reader. I started reading to my daughter when I was four months pregnant and continued even when she was a newborn. That definitely spiked her interest towards books as early as three months. She is now four years and is fond of book reading. We make it a habit to read beforw bedtime.

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Vasumathi

Vasumathi

Blogger, Content Creator, Knowledge Facilitator, Hobby Photographer & Mom To A Naughty Dalmatian.