Even in this age of inter-planetary travel, when we say that even the educated adults are illiterate as they lack the knowledge of computer operation which is called ‘literacy’ these days, there are people in the rural areas who have not learnt the three Rs i.e. reading, writing and arithmetic. If a person cultivates the reading habit he can first read the vernacular newspapers and magazines and then books. Reading should be a regular habit and as a great man said books should be your companions. For, books, books of permanent value, like good literature, inform you, enlighten you and lead you to the correct path. In fact, there is no greater companion than a good book of permanent value. Generally books of moral value educate us and correct us if we err. We should check ourselves by reading the minds of great authors whose thoughts have been imprinted in the pages of precious books.
What is the use of chit-chatting, idling away your time or sleeping when you have no work? When you have no work to do take a good book, read it and you will feel its influence and you may undergo some marvelous changes.
The habit of reading books should be cultivated by us from a young age. Most of us read the newspapers, weeklies, and monthlies in English or in our mother tongue. The newspapers inform us of the political and social developments. The articles in the Saturday and Sunday issues of the newspapers are informative and enlightening. The weeklies and the monthlies nowadays do not contribute to the development of our knowledge. Most of the magazines are about cinema stars and they are gossipy.
The books we should read -should increase our knowledge of the various subjects like English, Tamil, Science, Mathematics, Social Science etc. There are great classics in every language. The Kama Ramayana, The Valmiki Ramayana, The Bhagavad Gita, Shakespeare’s plays, Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Paradise Regained’, ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ by Charles Dickens, ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ by Jane Austin, ‘The Trumpet Major,’ by Thomas Hardy, Kalka’s historical and social novels which contain a lot of research into our ancient history, the novels of Naa. Parthasarathy, Jayakanthan, T. Janakiraman etc., and many classics in other languages contribute to our knowledge.
Nowadays there are a number of books on how to write essays, how to write correct English, how to avoid errors in Tamil and so on. Bookshops are flooded with books of every kind. Novels written by great authors in English, Telugu, Hindi, Bengali or Tamil appear month after month. We should develop a taste for reading good novels which improve our linguistic skill.
We should spend on books every month as we spend on our clothes, stationery and household articles.