Why Reading is Magic

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By Moses Auma

Last year, on May 28-30th, during the Storymoja Festival (a platform to showcase, discover and  nurture local talent while providing an opportunity for interaction with international talent) in Nakuru, special guest, U.S Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec read to
hundreds of students a poem he wrote on the magic of reading(The Cat in the Hat’s Tale).

The contents of his poem resonated so well with what I know about, not only reading but also analyzing materials. Listen to him ” So this I must tell, for it is just what is true: when you read a good book, you’ll never be blue.” Indeed, reading and analysis of materials is not only magical but also wonderful. If I had the prerogative, I would have  added it to the seven wonders of the ancient world, the wonder of reading!

Evidently, there is a huge discrepancy between a well read person and one who is less read. Individuals who often read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective. They are never petty or
quarrelsome.

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I want to speak to you about reading  books only I don’t want to ask you to do it while lying nonchalantly on your bed, no, you have done that for far too long and of course thumbs up . I am asking you to grab a good book, a notebook and a pen, sit around a table and do thorough analysis of the book you have chosen. Record your new findings, witty catchphrases, vocabularies, exhilarating sentences and humorous paragraphs. Ladies and gentlemen I am not a snob pushing you to subscribe to my ‘hobby,’ this is what is true and I must tell today that when you read a good book, you will never be blue!

Deep reading and analysis of materials, which definitely is slow, immersive and rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity, is a great experience one can ever taste.

Advantages of avid readership cannot be overemphasize. It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. For example, you may not get the prerogative to meet and converse face to face with president Obama but when you pick his book say ” Dreams from My Father,” he is already pouring his most precious thoughts into yours!

Through books, you interact with the distant and the dead, you travel places. Books make your life rich,  makes you valuable and  to exist in so many ways. Books educate and imbues folks with insight, for when you read a good book, you will never be blue! You
will always have a more varied range of words to express how you feel and to get your point across. This increases exponentially with the more volumes you consume. You will improve on your literature and even speak with confidence, command and authority.

Books are true revelers, when you really know something, then you got the certificate to hung around with who is who comfortably. People will be interested in you. You will win friends and influence people because of the vast information  that you draw therein . Nothing is as off-putting as a know-nothing hoipolloi who dominates a conversation. You can’t be that nondescript football analyst in a hall who barely knows all his 11 players, but busy dishing out football analysis adnauseam to all and sundry!

Please bring yourself and see that if your intention is to influence only those who live in your house, then you only need to know about those things that are important to the people with whom you live. If you intend to influence those in your neighbourhood, you have to broaden your knowledge ongoing. If you intend for your life to make a difference in your city, how can you do so if you don’t know whats is going on? If you want to help shape the nation or the world, you need still more knowledge and learning about what is significant in national and international scope. That knowledge and learning solely comes from books and materials, for books are ‘things’ and powerful things at that.

I know you might want to ask the kind of books you should read. My answer is very simple; read anything that has writings including pieces of newspaper used to wrap meat, just so you know. You maybe a student of Biblical Studies yet there is nothing wrong in just learning something about thigmonastic response in ‘mimosa pudica’ plant, the daily amount of rainfall in Reo de Jeneiro, Oedepus complex, roots and development of ISIS  or Nyungu ya Mawe-that Tanzanian story. No knowledge is irrelevant. Atleast, you should have a rudimentary grasp on different fields knowing pretty well that variety is the spice of life.

So I know you will read and give adventure a try. For there is magic in words and I know you know why. Philosopher Socrates could not  put it in a better way, “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”

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