I was a smart kid. Without a doubt also a smartass kid 😉 I started to try and figure out letters and words when I was three; by the time I was four I could read fluently, by the time I was 6 I could also translate that into writing; by the time I was 10, speaking, reading and writing in two languages (English and German) came naturally to me. At first I didn’t realize how fortunate that made me. My preferences as a child lay more in spending my time outdoors, learning about nature and animals, fixing engines, learning how to use power tools, hanging out with my friends, biking, skating, playing sports. I didn’t realize the power of a book. I didn’t realize that when you can read (and enjoy) the world will open up for you and it has the power to take you away to different worlds. I didn’t realize reading can help you relax, wind down, redirect your focus, change your perspective, give you knowledge and even heal you. When I realized all that, I became an avid, passionate reader.
For the longest time I was outspoken and openly against electronic readers. I hated them! I was a REAL reader ;-), I needed the feel of the book in my hands, the paper between my fingers, the accomplishment of turning yet another page. Then one of my good friends ignored my ramblings and gave me my first E-Reader as a gift (knowing full well that it would be impolite to turn that down or not use it). I remember it well. It was an Amazon Kindle, one of the first on the market. Back then, the electronic readers were still pretty rudimentary – but I got to see the advantages pretty quickly. Thousand of books can be stored and are at your free disposal; they are light-weight, can be taken anywhere, you don’t even need a reading light anymore because the brightness of the screen can be adjusted. And the books are a lot cheaper in their electronic version! Needlesss to say, I fell in love with the concept and have, by now, advanced to a Kobo Aura H20 which I absolutely love. I have literally really thousands of books I store on there; I also still have an old fashioned library in our house hosting all my “real” books! Books are great. Books are magic. Books are diverse. Basically, all books are either non-fiction or fiction. Non-fiction books contain factual information, such as biographies and history books. Fiction books contain a story which was made up by the author. All genres can fascinate! Come and find out!
The Power Of A Book – Fiction
The most commonly read works in the world are works of fiction. Why? Because fiction books are ones that have been made up. They are stories. They have the power to take you away to other worlds, times, continents; they let you use your own fantasy; they allow you for a short while to become acquainted with their heroes and heroeines (and with their villains, of course); to become their “friends” for the duration of reading a book or a series of books, maybe to even identify yourself enough with a main character to seamlessly slip into their persona and become him or her for the time being. Some elements of fictional books may be based on hints of truth, but they are usually elaborated, fabricated, and used to embellish into a new story. Fiction doesn’t have to scare us. None of it is actually “true” or happening around us. We can read about murder and war or love stories or sexual deviance of any other topic without any of that actually happening in our real world. Fictional books can give us a sense of a break, a mini vacation, away from our usual routine, away from our stressful or hectic or boring lives; when our minds get lost inside fiction, nothing and no one lays claims on us or wants anything from us. Our brains can shut off and rest from the responsibilities of reality and we can just drift away. To me, reading fiction is an ultimate means of relaxation. I read thrillers from well known authors like James Patterson or J.D.Robb; I like the occassional Stephen King; I read spy books and love stories and romance; I like to read lesbian fiction, too, because when you are gay (like I am), the stereotypical heterosexual relationships in most fictional books by straight authors can get tiring. Sometimes, you just want to read something thats closer to your own lifestyle or that you can relate to better. And with my kids I have rediscovered the joy and fun of children’s books, ranging the full spectrum from sweet fairytales to Joanne K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. If you are not a fictional reader I can only advice you try it out 🙂 Choose a book over a movie. It will do wonders for you!
The Power Of A Book – Non-Fiction
Just as fiction can open the doors into other worlds, non-fiction books can lighten the way inside the vast corridors of subjects or topics that you already know a bit about but want to find out more. Those can be biographies, journals, travel books, “How To” books, support books, self-help books, educational books etc etc etc. The range is sheer endless. Non-fiction books can be a source of information, a well of knowledge; they can be very technical but they can also be good, light reads – biographies are a good example of that. Reading non-fiction is a great way to widen your horizons and to gain more general or specific knowledge in a fun, easy way. The last non-fictional books I read were biographies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
And I listen to my wife ramble on about the books of Mark Douglas, a sort guru for anyone who is serious about forex market trading. I read a lot of scientific books, medical books and so on. I personally can’t lose myself in the same way that I can in fiction but I still enjoy the genre!
The Power Of A Book – Holy Books
I feel that when we talk about the power of books, I really have to mention the books that make the world go round – the Holy Books. Obviously, every religion has their own Holy Book – the pillars and backbones of their beliefs. I grew up with both Jewish and Catholic beliefs – and I have taken great interest in reading the Holy Books from every major religion in order to be able to understand those beliefs better. In any religion we can find extremes and extremists. I find it difficult to form an opinion about, e.g., Islamic jihads fighters quoting the koran if I don’t have a first clue what they are talking about. Here is a list (with no claim to be complete!) of the most “common” religions and their Holy Books:
- Bible: Christianity – The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures that Jews and Christians consider to be a product of divine Inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans
- Thora/Talmud/Tanach: Judaism – The Torah is the Hebrew Bible, and while some people think of just the “Five Books of Moses” Torah refers to all of the Hebrew Bible, including such books as Joshua, Psalms, Book of Ruth, etc. The Talmud is the compilation of the historic rabbis “discussing” or “debating” what the Torah means. Some of the tractates come to conclusions, but many leave the debate open ended. This is part of why Jews can continue to study Torah and Talmud, and continue to debate meanings, in all times and cultural changes. The Tanakh or Mikra or Hebrew Bible is the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is also a textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic
- Koran (Quran) / Sunnah: Islam – the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel and written down in Arabic. The Koran consists of 114 units of varying lengths, known as suras ; the first sura is said as part of the ritual prayer. These touch upon all aspects of human existence, including matters of doctrine, social organization, and legislation. Sunnah ( Arabic: “habitual practice”) also spelled Sunna , the body of traditional social and legal custom and practice of the Islamic community
- Gita: Hinduism – The Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as simply the Gita, is a 700- verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of the 6th book of Mahabharata).
I am not a very religious person but I really feel that everyone should read those books. They help understand the world and it’s differences to a much deeper and better level.
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