Live a Thousand Lives
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –Dr Seuss.
Often we hear the motto YOLO which most of you would agree (unless you are Catwoman or simply descendants of cat). For those who have no clue what YOLO means, you might want to come back to planet Earth. Oh, and also, do you know we use emails now, not letters?
You Only Live Once is a saying made popular by Drake the rapper (Or so they say, the exact origin is questionable). This motto is too frequently used, my ears start to bleed and each time someone says YOLO, I would give them a venomous glare so intense my eyeballs might pop. Anyway, I am happy to point out that you can toss this saying into a rubbish bin of Neverland because you can live several lives! Heck, even the cats will envy you.
How is that even possible? In a logical sense, unfortunately, no it is impossible unless of course, you learnt the Dark Arts and secretly have Horcruxes hidden all over the world.
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading”. –William Styron
A recent study by David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of The New School for Social Research in New York City argues that reading literary fiction (as compared with reading nothing at all) temporarily enhances one’s ability to understand others’ mental states and deepens empathy. Why is that so? Simple. A well-written story takes you into the lives of its characters and it is as if you were in their shoes, in that same era, tasted the same food, done the same things they did.
You can meet the characters and picture how they look like, you feel for them, you laugh, as if you have known them your entire life. One moment you are an aristocrat in a Victorian era, the next you are an astronaut in the year 3075 trying to save mankind. The whole scene would play in your head like a film. However, if you do not have good imagination, that scene would remain static, possibly even blurry-looking like a pirated DVD.
When Snape died, I almost shed a tear but the machoness inside me sucked that tear back into my sockets. I read ever so slowly not wanting the book to end. There is no better way of describing than through the words of Paul Sweeney, “You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend”. Have you experienced that feeling before? If no, it is time to make a change.
Thaw your frozen heart with stories that make you feel warm inside, as warm as wrapping yourself with a blanket like a burrito in a cold winter. Reading helps you relax, and no, schoolbooks do not count. I am talking about leisure books, ones you read when you want to take a break from all those medical words (but there are “special” people out there who do find joy in reading textbooks all day long. I have nothing but respect for these people, and pity).
Some prefer fictions, some autobiographies, self-motivational books, textbooks *coughs* and some classic literature. It does not matter what you read, as long as it stimulates your mind and gives you a new perspective in life. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads”. A diverse reader will have vast knowledge of a little bit of everything. It can only happen through immersing oneself in those magical words printed on a few humble volumes of paper.
If you are a beginner in the world of books, you might want to take it slow and read what catches your eye. But if you have read hundreds, I suggest reading anything of any genre for if you only read what everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking. Be the exception. Read more. Explore the unknown.
Have you ever wondered why top students can answer questions thrown by lecturers during class? Aside from the genius mind factor, extreme Professor X’s focusing skill and the power of staying awake like a soldier, they READ. They read from previous years’ books, Wikipedia pages, international books, science journals. We can too. Just tell those little devils at your sides to back off and show them who the boss is!
Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. Books are like time portals, so go on and grab yourself one and live a thousand lives; lives that are full of joy and wonder, bursting with colors beyond your wildest imagination. After all, a good book is like holding a dream in your hand only to not forget it and you can keep on having the same pleasant dream over and over again without the need to sleep.
Fairuz Nabilah Borhanudin