As most of you know, I co-author a blog which exclusively contains book reviews of all the books that I've read. For the uninitiated, here's the link:
I started reading books during my preteens. Or maybe even before that. My parents bought illustrated classics for me at an age when I didn't even know the meaning of the word "classic". I was simply happy reading about the adventures of Robinson Crusoe and following Hans in his Journey to the Centre of the Earth. While Captain Nemo intrigued me with his SS Nautilus in 20,000 leagues under the sea, I hoped for Edmond and Mercedes' love to conquer all in the Count of Monte Christo. Although I've only read illustrated classics and I'm raring to get my hands on the original unabridged versions, I still feel as if knowing those stories is a very important part of my life.
I've observed that people usually like 2 kinds of literature. The first is one they can relate to. Though this seems to be the easiest to write (you just have to tell what's happening to you right?), it is the rarest to come by. At least one that touches your heart. The other is total make-believe fantasy fiction. This can be Harry Potter style or even Science Fiction. It HAS to be out of this world! Stories that you can relate to soothe the heart whereas out-of-this-world fiction challenges your mind and forces you to imagine and think. For some reason I strongly stand by stuff I can relate to, though I secretly love imaginary-fictional stuff.
I have never been too fond of descriptions. Usually supporters of reading say that it is better than watching television because with the help of words, you can create the scene in your mind as opposed to being "spoon fed" via tv. Although this argument is true to some extent, I encourage reading for an altogether different reason. Reading is a very personal hobby. It helps you to develop your thought process in your own personal space. Its much more enjoyable to read a twist than to see it. The "Oh my God!" for me is more impactful while reading. Reading also improves your vocabulary (unless you're reading Chetan Bhagat... no offense, I really like his work, but its not the best in terms of vocab).
It seems a bit unfair to compare reading to watching tv. Both have their own advantages. When you picture any scene written in a book, you unconsciously try to match it to some image that you've already seen. This would either be something that you've seen with your own eyes, or watched on tv or internet. I would say, both complement each other. Just like we find time to watch tv and surf, it is very necessary to find time to read a good book. Currently my time is half an before I sleep, which is not the best but its better than nothing. Its a must for me to at least read one chapter before I sleep. So, when's your reading time?
Note: I haven't mentioned about non-fiction because I haven't read much of it. This post is related to reading fiction only.