When I was in secondary school, English was one of my weakest subjects. It was so terrible that I could never pass ‘C’ grade. That was the time, I decided to take up reading. Then, I had another set of problem, there was no comprehension. But, I kept on reading anyways, but the improvement was so slow. In University, I took up English Studies as my minor and my English was so bad that had to attend extra classes to improve.
Thankfully, because I’ve been reading quite a lot, I grew up loving reading and after almost 20 years of reading, I found something much more valuable that gripped my heart. I found its magic!
What I needed the most was the language skills, and reading helped. My grammar improved, so was my comprehension and vocabulary. Soon, discovered something much more interesting and exciting; I discovered the power of words; Words that inspire and words that build. Big word such as ‘unflinching will’ – a will so strong and unmoved that no matter how big the storm may come your way, you keep moving forward.
It was so exciting that I was in this state call ‘book-hunger’.
I couldn’t get enough of reading because it was so nourishing. Just like your body needs nutrients to function well, your mind needs books to think better. Watching television or movies or YouTube videos definitely had an impact on your mind, but it is not the same as getting your brain to process process and keeps your brain a little sharper. I always read at the table and when I found the passage that struck me, I highlight those passages and put a sticky note on that page. Once I finished that book, I’ll go back to the highlighted passage and write them down in my notebook. So, when I want to refer to some of the ideas, I’ll go back to the notebook.
Reading also shaped my character. People said that we learned from our surroundings and the people we met. We learn each other habits and adopt each other’s mindset. The same things with books, because books are basically ideas or mindset of another people. As I read them, I did not just read a book, I journeyed with the characters and the authors and learned from their mindset and ideas and even their experiences. When I read the life of Liesel Meminger in ‘The Book Thief’ by Marcus Zusak, I discovered a new meaning in reading because there are other people who worked harder than me to learn how to read especially in times of war. As I read Bilbo’s adventure in ‘The Hobbit’, I realised I can’t cling on to what is familiar and to step into the inconveniences and uncomfortable if I want to lead meaningful life.
I read many genres and one of my favourite genres is biography. One of the people that I’ve read was Abraham Lincoln. I love Abraham Lincoln for many reasons, but one particular reason that I really love him is that he loved his books very much. Lincoln carried his book with him everywhere he went. You see, because he loved books so much that he possessed a vivid sensibility for the beauty of English language. The power of words and boy, he really knew how to use them. Books nourished him it became his academy, a place that united his mind to the greatest mind of the generation past. It shaped his character that despite the lack of formal education, books inspired him to pursue the American dreams, and one day, he became the president of the United States.
All of us are at great advantage because of our ability to read and write. If you have been reading, keep it up; but if you haven’t, maybe it is time for you to read. It might be difficult at first. But whether it is 15 mins or 20 mins or 30 minutes, it does not matter. What matters is that you read every day. I didn’t let my difficulties to stop me from reading, and because I persevered, I gained something which is much more valuable that I could ever hope for, which is the magic of reading!