MIDWAY: Bookish quandary
There is a big dilemma I am yet to resolve: Do I read course books or literature? How much time should I devote to each? Is reading out-of-course material, as my friends contend, a total waste of time?
As far as my memory serves me right, the first book I picked up was Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield when I was in the fifth grade. Since, I read virtually anything I can lay my hands on. But due to this habit of scouring books of every hue and genre, I lose a considerable amount of time that I could otherwise have devoted to reading my course books.
Though I am still not able to come to an informed judgment, I readily accept that I love reading anything out of course. Moliere and Joyce are a big part of my life, as are the likes of Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound and John Grisham. The benefit of wide reading is that one never feels out of place. No matter what the discussion, he can always chip in with his bit of knowledge. In other words, these folks love being the jack of all trades. But masters of none, they should not try to push the envelop with the experts.
On the down side, trying to learn about too many things can have an adverse effect on one’s studies. It surely doesn’t help one’s cause if one can’t unhook oneself from a Grisham with an exam at hand. Hence, though a good student, I could never feature among the toppers in our class. My mind wanted to explore so many things that it was well-nigh impossible to keep up with my studies as much as I wanted to.
I cannot recall a single ‘bad’ book I’ve read. Either they were good, or very good. Each one of them has something important to teach. I like to compare reading with travelling to places one has never been, where I have so many things to explore and learn from.
I still don’t know which is a better option: selective or eclectic reading? Nevertheless, as the world gets more complex by the day, so do our ways of thinking. I believe books bridge that gap between ignorance and enlightenment. As happiness and sorrow are part and parcel of our lives, so should the books be. Books give one the perspective to look at the world anew. As our friends and family enrich our lives, books do the same. After all, as friends, books never fail you.