Books, really, have always been my first love. Reading them under the covers with tragically dim torchlights in the dead of the night, trying not to make any sound while I turn the pages, fighting the awful heaviness in my eyes just to get to next word, next line, next chapter, more, just a little bit more.
As I grew up, that all-consuming need to know more never went away and neither did my love for stories. In fact, it only grew with each new shelf-addition, a freshly downloaded PDF and borrowed library books. Reading was no longer just a good habit, it was therapeutic. It still is.
And people read for different reasons.
“When you read, there is a certain clarity that comes to you. And when you maintain a reading habit, there is an undeniable growth of self-awareness,” says Aashish Ghimirey, currently on his third year of Bachelors in Arts, who is majoring in English literature.
“As you read more, you find out what you enjoy reading, you understand your taste. I enjoy reading things that help my career. I enjoy reading books that take me on a life’s journey.”
Ghimirey describes reading like an actor putting on masks of different personas.
“You live a new life with each book. Also, books uplift you, help you and give you a much-needed break from the academics. It’s the best way to utilize your time,” he adds.
Then there is Sandhya Guragain who started reading books solely because all her friends did so. They used to discuss stories and plotlines in front of her, and she thought, “why not?” At first it was just a few random stories. And then she discovered Wattpad, an online community of writers and readers who read and wrote simultaneously.
“Even though majority of the stories on Wattpad can’t be considered masterpieces, they really helped boost my reading habits. Once I knew what kind of books I enjoyed, I started looking up other sources to get my stories. As of late, pressure and stress usually lead me to read self-help books,” she says.
“For me, a good book is a good escape. And when I’m doing nothing, I always find myself reaching for the comfort of words. It’s both productive and entertaining,” she adds.
And then there are some who didn’t start reading because their friends were doing it but rather because they found friends in books.
Bibesh Shrestha, a travel blogger, says, “I think my reading habit started because of a lack of outdoor hobbies. Since I mostly read fiction, I found myself in different stories and different characters. Sometimes I read to find relatable things. But mostly, I’m simply looking for escape.”
Saskhsi Pradhan loves reading, whether it’s novels, self-help, or non-fiction. “While non-fiction books are rich in information, fiction grabs you and never lets you go. A well-written story has remarkable pacing, flow, world-building and characters. The experience it can provide you is beyond priceless,” says Pradhan.
When she was young, she didn’t appreciate those little things. She would make up some excuse about not having enough time or just be too lazy to read a book. “But I’ve come to realize that those are what make a book so good. And I actually enjoy them a lot. It fills up my mind, it’s like taking a break from regular life. It’s rejuvenating,” says Pradhan adding how some books simply leave you questioning your life. They make you analyze your choices and the ripple effect they have had in your life.
Another favorite part about reading for her is how she gets to discuss it with her friends. “Movie analysis is fun and all but books tend to have a lot more details that are unresolved. Authors drop them around like small hints and you can’t help but get into a heated discussion,” she says.
Tsering Tsomo, another passionate reader tells us, “Books can be your best friends. They can be your mentors. Hidden between the words are advices and theories you can’t help but follow,” says Tsomo.
She adds, “Books help me. And not only because they make me smarter, but also because they have me imagining things that I wouldn’t bother thinking about otherwise. They make me question my beliefs, see the world through another lens and inspire me to consider the random possibilities.”
For that reason alone, she enjoys carrying books around. It feels comforting, she says.
Then there are the late bloomers. Pratik Khanal, an avid reader tells us, “The first book I ever read outside curriculum was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And that was because my A-Level’s teacher constantly recommended it. He kept encouraging us to read more. He said that the earlier we started, the better,” says Khanal.
It took him more than a year to complete that book. He would read one chapter in a month. But that was also when he started getting more into personal development and thus ended up reaching for books fairly regularly. “Even now, I tend to switch around books when I get bored of reading. That’s when I turn to audiobooks. They’re much easier, faster and convenient in my experience,” he says.
Most readers I spoke to confessed that, best of all, reading kept your mind occupied, filled it with ideas. Whichever format you read in, there is undeniable pleasure in it and that’s a good reason to pick up a book.