If there’s something positive that has come out of the current events in Benghazi it’s having more time for reading. As an extreme reader I get asked a certain question I can’t completely answer. People are always asking me why I read. Living in Libya where not a lot of people read, most people are curious why I would spend my free time on this activity. My motives for reading remain obscure even to me, but I know reading to me is to exist .
If you want the cookie cutter answer that most people give I’d say it brings me pleasure, enjoyment, access to new information. It allows me to savor the existence of time as it passes. Reading lets me escape my own reality into someone else’s world; I can run away from whatever is going on around me. These are what I call the obvious reasons.
The real question you should be asking is “what benefit does it bring “ask me about the satisfaction I get from this activity. To me literature is a method of time-traveling. It’s an adventure. When it comes to literature, rewards are guaranteed, I promise you. Even the second or tenth time you read a book you discover something different, it can still surprise you.
Through reading, you expose yourself to new worlds, new information, new ways for solving problems, new situations. Reading helps you see things from a different perspective which improves your understanding of people and situations around you. It helps you to communicate better. Most of our problems in the Libyan social and political sphere come from not understanding different perspectives. People refuse to put themselves in other people’s shoes. My solution is giving them a book.
Reading takes you to places, ages and parallel worlds with dragons, kings and adventures you never knew existed. Books can conjure up a magnitude of emotions. You can react differently to a book depending on who you are, what you are reading and how your life is shaping up at the moment you’re reading it.
A book can trigger feelings of pain, enthusiasm, contempt, apathy, empathy, depression, hilarity, happiness, or heartbreak.
“No two persons ever read the same book.” ~ Edmond Wilson
You experience emotions and situations you might never encounter in real life but still manage to shape you as a human. Reading is an individual act; it’s a sense of connection. Even if it engages you in the mind of author and characters, nothing makes you more aware of yourself than reading. You make memories, tastes and beliefs that are unique. I read somewhere that reading is a silent conversation, but you bring something into this conversation too. Your attention, your thoughts and reflections are all part of this conversation.
If after all this you still think “reading is a boring activity “then you’ve been doing it wrong. The more you read the happier you’ll be. The act of reading is also a form of therapy, something we all need as Libyans. It’s also much cheaper than actual therapy.
So buy more books, their effect lasts longer than makeup. The alternative for real books for those of us who live in a third world country currently at war are eBooks.
We’ll make sure to provide a list of books to read for you on our next article, maybe even start a Project Silphium book club for women? Would anyone be interested, give us some feedback in the comments.
Written By : J.E