Books, my precious (words words words)


“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.”

It’s often said that reading is good for your brain. But studies now find that just having books in your house (even if they’re just lying around, with no one actively reading them) is an indicator of how intelligent the children in that house will be.  This is presumably because if there are books around, it shows that the parents value education – and therefore there’ll be a general emphasis on education in a bookish-house (I think Malcolm Gladwell came up with this conclusion).

In my childhood home there were tons of books around because dad loves reading – I remember as a teenager once stumbling across the Art of War by Sun Tzu.  But not only was I reading ancient Eastern wisdom, this book was The Art of War – For Managers.  Dad had lots of business books around.  I learnt about management stuff (the parts that I could understand), there was a book on reflexology in the study too – along with books on right brain thinking and a lot of other stuff that I’m sure most 1st year psychology students learn.

I may not have known what the point of what I was reading was, but combing through dad’s bookshelf opened up my reading experiences to some really random stuff (for a teenage girl that is).  If not for his bookshelf, I may have stuck to Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High (shudders*).  So I best keep books all around the house for when the potential future kids arrive.

And keep sifting through dad’s books for more unexpected knowledge.

Probably the coolest thing though is that dad bought us books all the time – so apart from reading from his adult business-y library, we got to choose lots of our own stuff, and discover what we liked to read.  I went for mostly fantasy but still – it was cool to have someone funding a book-love.  Even my brother who barely ever opens the covers of a book once bought a book (about WWE wrestlers I think?)  I remember reading that book on Mick Foley (is that his name? The wrestler whose stage name was Mankind, how weird).

So we’re a house of bookies.

And then there’s the Quraan – which is the most important book – we at least try to read that once a year in Ramadan and more if possible. But I’m thinking more and more about how we read without understanding. I watched an interview with a lady who wrote a book about Islam and in her research she decided that she had to read the Quraan to try to understand Islam and its history – so she read four (yes four!) different translations / interpretations alongside the original text. If a moderate agnostic/Jewish woman can do it, I should be able to do it too.


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