Some people get pleasure from picnics and tours. Others like to discuss various topics and find pleasure in it. But the reading of books provides us with such pleasure as we do not get from any other activity. Great is the blessing of books. Books are written by learned persons. They contain the best experiences and thoughts of their writers. Literature is said to mirror society. Writers put in their books not only their own ideas and feelings, but also what they observe and find in society. The books of the past reflect the condition of the times in which they were written.
By reading books written by great thinkers, we come in contact with their minds. Books enable us to know the best of different countries. So, if we want to keep abreast of the great minds of all ages, we must read books. When we are alone, books are our best friends. They entertain us in our spare moments. Good novels, books on poetry and short stories, give great enjoyment. At times we become so absorbed in our books that we forget even our important engagements. Loneliness is no trouble for a reader. If we are in a cheerful mood, our joy is increased by reading.
When we are in a depressed and dejected mood, books console and soothe our troubled minds. They provide us with the best advice and guidance in our difficulties. Indeed, books are out best friends as they help us in our need. Books contain grains of wisdom. They give us sound moral advice. That is why all great men of our country have liked to read the Gita and the Ramayan. The example of Rama and Sita is cited, whenever we want to emphasize noble deeds and their results. We call a bad man by the name of Ravan. It is through the reading of books that we learn to love virtue and hate sin.
The reading of good books develops and elevates our character. Now-a-days the world is changing fast. A man cannot remain in roach with the changes in his own country, or in the world, without reading the latest literature. One who wants to be respected in cultured society must keep himself well-informed. Good magazines, newspapers and other books provide us with valuable upto-date information. It gives us great pleasure to feel that our knowledge is upto-date. We get great satisfaction when we feel ourselves to be well-informed and capable of moving in any educated society.
Reading of good books is the key to the store-house of pleasure. It was the English author Bacon who said that reading makes a full man. No one can question the truth of this saying. But we cannot derive full advantage from reading, if our choice is not good. Some books are such that instead of doing any good, they do positive harm to the readers. Such books must be avoided. Cheap books, not in cost but in contents, should not be read, even if they provide some amusement and entertainment. It is the reading of good books alone which bestows upon us the maximum benefit.
The advantages of reading – the pleasures of reading novels; they carry us into a different world and enlarge our experience; suspense and our tendency to identify ourselves with the hero – other kinds of books are also delightful. The advantages of reading are well known. Reading enables us to pass examinations and get jobs, and enhances our general ability and competence in any field of life. But the pleasures of reading are as important as its uses. In fact, books cannot be really useful unless they are first enjoyed. There can be few more delightful ways of spending a holiday than reading a good novel.
One source of pleasure afforded by novels is that they make us escape for a time from the drab, humdrum circumstances of our lives. Romantic novels, of course, transport us into an exciting world poles apart from our own. But even realistic novels bring us into contact with experiences different from our own. Our personal experience in real life is limited and much of it is commonplace. Reading fiction is delightful, partly because it indirectly provides us with several experiences for which we have no opportunities in actual life.
Another source of the pleasure of reading novels is suspense. A novel with a good plot makes us eager to know, from beginning to end, what is to happen next. It is because of this quality of suspense in some novels that we are unwilling to lay them aside till we have read them to the end. Again, as everybody knows, another reason why reading novels is pleasant is that we tend to identify ourselves with the hero or the central character, and experience his joys and sorrows for the time being. This mainly accounts for our pleasure in reading biographies.
While fiction is usually considered to be a delightful form of reading, other kinds of writing too impart pleasure. Apart from plays which resemble fiction, books of travel and light essays are enjoyable. Poetry appeals to our feelings and sense of beauty. Reading even serious or heavy books – books on science or philosophy – is not without its joy for those who are interested in the subjects concerned. All knowledge is pleasure, and reading a book on the dullest or the most unpleasant subjects can be pleasurable, provided one is intensely interested in it.