The joy of reading

FOOTSTEPS AND FINGERPRINTS

The Joy of Reading

One of my joys since childhood has been reading. Short stories, novels, fiction, non-fiction, humor, mysteries, biographies, and practically everything else. One thing I had immediately noticed as soon as I had settled in the Philippines upon marriage was the lack of readily available libraries. Quite an adjustment for me who had been used to borrowing several books a month from the local library in the town where I had grown up.

I have been concerned over the past several years that reading, as in reading printed books, has taken a back seat to e-media: online e-books, FB excerpts and story summaries, TV and movie versions. It seems that gadgets have almost replaced books as I knew them! Yes, I know, there are several generation gaps existing here which is not a bad thing in itself. But I personally believe in the value of the printed word.

Why do I prefer printed books? I look to books for information, for inspiration, for historical precedents, for ideas and guidance, for creative stimulation of my imagination and thoughts. I enjoy the feel of a book. Many times just holding a book whether paperback or hard cover is not only a sensual delight but also the beginning of the exciting journey of learning or relearning something new or different.

I can underline and highlight those words or passages that “speak” to me. The printed page also allows me to write my reactions and comments in the margins. Then it becomes easier for me to review the chapter/book highlights as I page through my highlights and margin comments. Yes, I have been told that I should keep a notebook to record such highlights and comments, but my notebooks seem to get misplaced over the years, while the books I want to remember remain in my home library.

When our children were young, I read books to them and encouraged them to read. Having the habit of reading is one significant factor, I believe, that has enabled them to excel in all levels of their schooling. Now they are also encouraging their children and grandchildren to read.

This is one of the many challenges facing younger generations today – the challenge of encouraging reading and being interested in books, the challenge of replacing (from time to time) gadgets with “real” books.

It has been said that the future of reading is secure for as long as there is a desire for knowledge, information, inspiration, and even entertainment. However, with changing behaviors and technology innovations the future of reading and printed books seems uncertain.

It is up to us who enjoy the printed pages of a book to encourage and keep the love and interest in reading and enjoyment of the printed page alive and growing.