Pleasure of Reading
We get great pleasure while reading books, magazines, newspapers, etc. The reading of novels or travel books are generally regarded as pleasant.
The difficult work on philosophy or mathematics need the exercise of the mental faculties, a play of the mind, and is bound to give pleasure as well.
Man is a civilized creature, and his civilization has been built by his reason and imagination. A good book is bound to give pleasure. It will bring profit, too. But it will give pleasure simply because it gives play to his mind.
The more advanced a man is, the greater delight he will find in reading. The ordinary man may think that subjects like philosophy or science are very difficult and that if philosophers and scientists read these subjects, it is not for pleasure but for some other ends. But this is not true. The mathematician finds the same pleasure in his mathematics as the school boy in an adventure story. For both it is a play of the intellect or the imagination, a mental recreation and exercise.
The pleasure that is derived from an exercise to the mental faculties is common to all kinds of reading. But different types of books give us different types of pleasure, and all books are not equally popular.
First in order of popularity is novel-reading. Novels contain pictures of imaginary men and women in imaginary situations, and they give us an opportunity of escaping into a new world which is very much like our world and yet different from it. Here we seem to live a new life, and the experience of this new life gives us a thrill of pleasure to which there are few parallels. Some will be interested in detective novels, some in social novels and some in studies of character. But all of them have stories; all of them portray interesting characters, and there are few people who are not fascinated by novels. Most of all, when men are tired out by their daily work, they will like to take up a novel and get refreshed by a study of it.
Next in order of popularity are travel books, biographies and memoirs. These tell us tales of places we have not seen and of great men in whom we are interested. Some of these books are as wonderful as novels, and they have an added value that they are true. Few novels can be more thrilling than the lives of Napoleon or Abraham Lincoln, and we shall devour such lives as we devour novels. Such books give us knowledge, but we also find immense pleasure in knowing details of lands we have not seen and of great men whom we have only heard of.
History books are graver and more complicated the books on biographies and travels. For those who are interested in the story of men in the past nothing can be more absorbing than history which gives us an account of man’s activity and progress It does not give the lives of great men but contains the record of humanity as a whole. That is why its compass is larger and its al if tide more impersonal. The study of history is as much a recreation as the reading of novels or travel books, but it is delightful in its own way.
Novels, biographies, travel books and histories have the greatest attraction for the general reader. Other books are interesting for readers with special tests and aptitudes. We, all of us are poets to some extent, and, therefore, all of us may take some interest in poetry. But it is the man with an imaginative turn of mind that will be especially fascinated by poetry. In our country most men love Rabindranath’s poetry and the whole world loves Shakespeare. But many people find poetry too sublime for them. Drama is meant chiefly for acting, but the man of literary tastes finds pleasure as much in reading dramas, especially poetic dramas, as in seeing them on the stage. Such a man finds also great pleasure in reading books of criticism in which he finds analysis of the beauties of literature.
Other men will find pleasure in subjects that interest them. The student of economics is charmed by books of economics, the philosopher will like to browse amongst philosophical works, and scientists are fascinated by science.
Now-a-days there are ‘books on all subjects. The cricket fan not only plays cricket and sees cricket matches but finds joy in reading the accounts of cricket written by men like Sachin Tendulkar and Bradman. There are books on chess, cards, boxing; wrestling and on every other subject under the sun, and the best books on every subject have a reading public that derives pleasure and profit from them.
Reading is one of the greatest enjoyments of life. To the book-lover nothing is more fascinating than a favorite book, and the ordinary educated man who is interested and absorbed in his daily occupation wants occasionally to escape out of his drudgery into the wonderland of books for recreation and refreshment.