Stories of the open road

Tales of a Vagabond...

By Pathum Punchihewa

I am a book worm. Well, I know with the word ‘Book worm’ everybody pictures a geeky person with big rimmed spectacles who is sitting around books! I don’t fit well into that image but yet, I am a book worm.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to travel around the world.  And books made that dream come true at least in the virtually real world of them. I travelled in far away deserts looking for a dream with that boy, Santiago whom I met in the book, ‘The Alchemist’. I’ve seen the beautiful Andalusian highlands and variegated rural Spain and I was in a fishing trip with Ernest Hemingway’s fictions. And Baron Munchausen brought me alongside in his fantasy adventures and I was daydreaming about the miraculous cheese lands and three eyed tribal people for years… Ah, that is an advantage of being a book worm. Who else can travel around the world in 80 days by steam boats and trains?

September is a most awaited month by many Sri Lankan book-holics as the Colombo International Book Fair is an annual calendar event of this month. And most people come to collect books for affordable prices while having fun among books as well!

What are the advantages of being a book-holic? Well the very first accurate fact is the knowledge. Reading is the basic foundation on which academic skills of an individual are built. The education system knows this fact very well, and hence it's given a top priority in primary education. Many believe that reading is an apt measure of a person’s success in academics. Most of the subjects taught to us are based on a simple concept - read, synthesize, analyze, and process information. Although a priceless activity, the importance of reading has been deteriorating rapidly.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAnd reading helps to shape up the philosophical flux of a person. Through books, a person can gain the knowledge of the rotating world around him. Reading can change the life of a person. As an example I can say that I have seen people who changed their lives and the way they think by reading Paulo Coelho’s books.

Today people are more bonded with technology and trend modifications and reading books is about to become old school. In a poll for reading a book or watching a movie, 8 out of 10 millennials would vote for watching a movie!

The biggest difference between reading a book and watching a movie is the scope to unleash your own creativity. In movies, the concept is conceived by the writer and director and presented before you in a specific form. On the other hand, the writer does conceive the concept of the book, but you are also given ample freedom to unleash your creative thinking and power of imagination. Reading a book is in itself an exercise to sharpen your creative thinking skills, whilst you broaden your horizons.

Now “If you believe everything you read, better not read” is an old proverb and it explains the basic rule of reading. Reading a book is also a creative work, an art, just like writing a book…


Published on Youth Mirror - Daily Mirror (09th September 2010)


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