vendredi 29 juillet 2011

How Does One Become an Avid Reader

How does one become an avid reader?
When does it start? For most of us, it starts early in life, when you see your parents or grandparents reading or even seeing people discussing matters which you cannot understand. Also being told to read. All children love books but when does that love for books begin to fade away. It has to be an un natural phenomenon.
I used to scout second hand bookstores when I was in school. I remember reading well thumbed copies of Alberto Moravia (who I later learned was Jewish), Erskine Caldwell from the USA about a landscape I had difficulty imagining but it sounded tragically magical and the classic British literature! I also realized that looking at the heaps of books at the various second hand bookstores that one could never read every book in print, but also recognized that if you had friends who read, then you could cultivate an expanding sense of reading. To this day I have friends who recommend books for me to read. One such person is Steve Avery, from an extremely intellectually poor city of Sioux City in Iowa in the USA. As Pablo has repeatedly wrote in his poems: it is amazing to see the life trying to form in the wreckage….
Now so much information is available on the net, but as Eli Parisier has recently warned in his book, the information provided for you is not what you want to know, but what the four majors want you to know: FaceBook, Google, YouTube and the filtered news at Yahoo. After listening to Parisier on TED talks, I try to get my news from the original websites of media I have always liked: The New York Times, BBC etc. The chances of avoiding news that is selected for you is slim these days but there are obscure places where you find diamonds!
The great metaphor is the aviation industry and the three giants of International Aviation: Etihad, Emirates and Qatar, they fly to places where you want to go. Air France and United Airlines my favoured airlines fly to where they can make a profit..
Mun Ching my friend in KL and now a Classical Yoga teacher, had been reading The Economist faithfully ever since she was introduced to it in New York. I have been reading The Economist from my school days in Australia. She was an erudite reader in that she had her English Dictionary by her side when she read The Economist and marked and studied the words which were new to her. After we met in 2008, I requested that she send me on a regular basis articles that she thinks are interesting. Since there each day there are articles on an incredible varieties of subjects, appearing at my mail box from The Economist via Mun Ching. During the course of helping a certain Embassy scour news items of interest in South East Asia, she made a great discovery, the existence of a newspaper, The Brunei Times published in BSB, Brunei. You would expect it to be a provincial conservative newspaper of no great interest reflecting the strict Islamic philosophy of the rulers, but you are in for a surprise. It is one of the best newspapers in Asia to be had on Internet, free of charge. Obviously the Sultan (one of the only two reigning sultans in this world) had chosen the best (like the Sheikh of Dubai chooses the best for Emirates) and each day they publish information from around the world. Al Jazeera makes documentaries about subjects which the western media find non profitable, likewise, The Brunei Times publishes articles for their own sake, to spread the knowledge around the world, among its readers.