Before the invention of printing, books were written by hand. They were very few in number
and difficult to get. Paper was costly. Because they were rare, books were very expensive.
Popular novels were serialised and readers eagerly waited for instalments to be published in
newspapers and magazines.
Families read together regularly. Parents read bedtime stories to their small children. A book was
enjoyed over and over again. They were a big source of entertainment for those who could read.
Nowadays, books have largely been replaced by other forms of entertainment.
Yet, books remain special. What is it about a book that makes it special?
In books, we discover the teachings of scholars and philosophers. We read about the rulers of our land,
what the people who lived long ago ate, what they wore, how they worked, and how they spent their time.
In the pages of a novel, we meet many kinds of characters. We fall in love with some characters and we
hate some others. We also meet people like ourselves. We realize that human beings all over the world,
in every age and time, have shared our joys, sorrows, and hopes.
Reading helps us to concentrate and improves our comprehension. It also expands our vocabulary. As
you read, you come across new words and phrases, and discover different kinds of writing styles.
Reading requires you to think and process information in a way that watching television can’t.
Reading improves memory. Do you know how this happens?
Every time you read a book, you have to remember the characters, their backgrounds, their history,
their appearance, and their personalities. As your brain learns to remember all this information, your
memory becomes better.
Pick up a book and change your life! Why wait?
Entertainment — something that gives us pleasure, something that is amusing,
interesting, and fun
Instalment — section, part
Scholar — a learned person
Philosopher — a person who seeks wisdom
Character — personality
B) Discussion points
What forms of entertainment have replaced reading?
What is your favourite form of entertainment?
What kinds of books do you like to read?
How often do you read?
Do you read in English, in Hindi, or in your mother tongue?
Do you have a favourite book? If so, what is it? Why is it your favourite book?
Revised July 2020
Audio courtesy Tara Kriplani: