Why do you read?

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that there are four classes of readers: Sponges that just absorb all they read, Sand-glasses who read to pass time, Strain-bags who retain the dreg of what they read and finally Mogul Diamonds who profit by what they read and enable others to profit by it also.

As a reader you need to find why do you read? Do you read because it is cool to be seen reading a book, or referring a book in the conversation or to impress someone? While all these may be legitimate reasons to read, just in case you read to expand your knowledge and wisdom, you need to understand your relationships with books.

You may have seen that people who read a lot are emotional about their books and libraries. It is not because book is a precious item financially or even an asset by the popular parlance, but because of the emotional bond that these people have with their books. Now why do they have this bond, let us see?

Reading a book like a Mogul diamond is like meeting an author at an intersection of your own experience. There are many things that an author would write about in a book, but the one that touches you the most is the one touches a chord in your heart or in your mind.

For example when you read a book by Chetan Bhagat, it touches your aspiration to be in his shoes: to be able to study at the most coveted institutes in the country, to be able to work as a banker in the financial capitals of the word and then be able to write a best seller and break all records of sales in the country.

Similarly when we read about a story set around the time of say emergency in the country you are reminded of the conversations in your family describing the event and you somehow try and verify and validate the two versions, or add up the two to make your own views.

Sometimes the author questions what you have believed all your life and sometimes re-enforces it and sometimes gives you an alternate point of view. Sometimes they make you laugh because they remind of a similar situation from your life and sometimes they touch those jingles of your heart that you dare not share with others.

But whatever the book and its author do to you, they end up widening your horizon, enriching you. Even a bad book ends up telling you what not to do, at least how not to write a book.

Reading is act of absorbing and reflecting at the same time. You should be able to balance the two to gain from reading. Think about it next time you pick up a book to read.

Anuradha Goyal