Day 12: On reading
It’s very clichéd to say that you should read fiction books because they transport you to another world – but where is the lie?
The only way that you get better at something is by engaging with it as much as you can. Want to speak more fluently, write more clearly, think more creatively? Read books. Read as many as possible.
When I was younger I was never without a book, ever. As soon as I could read, I devoured whatever I could get my hands on. I was always a happy kid – sometimes at break time I would prefer reading my book to playing a game of catchers and I never minded. In 2005, I was Laerskool Hendrik Louw’s Reader of the Year – holler 💁🏻.
But after school especially and as life happens, so much else consumes your time that reading becomes something you have to force yourself to do. In my case, readings for my courses, tutorial preparations and the only novels in my possession being the ones I was reading for my undergrad English Lit major replaced the time I would take out to read for pleasure. It became something confined only to holidays or a special release by an author I loved.
But recently I picked up a book – in the middle of deadlines and plenty of real-life responsibilities – and couldn’t put it down. And I was reminded of my love for reading. It was an inconsequential book – I am unashamed to admit that my favourite genre these days is “chick-lit”, lightly-written unassuming stuff without much substance – but it held my attention, made me laugh, and actually used some quite masterful writing techniques that did not go unnoticed.
Read anything and everything. Become critical. Become empowered. Never stop seeking knowledge in that way. And remember the very first verses revealed in the Quran:
Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot.
Read and your Lord is Most Honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, taught man what he knew not. (96:1-5)
This is a special Ramadaan series by our fave Muslim reporter, Aaisha Dadi Patel. For Day 11’s musings, click here.