Why I Started Reading Simple Books

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Books come in all shapes, sizes and genres. From a 50-page collection of 4-line poems to a 1000-page mega novel, readers from all age groups across the world get to choose whatever book they like.

I had been reading since I was 3 years old and it all began when my grandpa used to point at pictures and tell me what they were. That was how I learnt things, back in the 90s, where we did not even have a television at home, back in India. My family’s income did not even classify as ‘middle class’ back then. I learnt everything through books.

When I was in 5th grade, I started writing. I submitted a short story for a competition and won second place. The prize was a lot of books. I took a few good years to read all of them. Throughout my teens, I have read the most sophisticated books, which included some very good classics.

As I grew older, my relationship with books deteriorated a little. Being a science student in high school, text books took away a big chunk of my reading time. I used to read a lot of thrillers when I was around 14. This continued for a while, and I still remember reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when I was doing my Bachelors in University.

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I enjoyed it back then. I was on reader’s forums, some of my friends used to read and we discussed these types of books. When I read sophisticated books, I felt accomplished. But I never felt content. Not many of these books stuck with me, though the story went straight to my head.

When I was around 19 years old, I was crazy about John Grisham’s books. I read them once, but I was not satisfied. Then, I read them again. I admired the way he wrote because I was very will into writing when I was this age.

After graduating at 21, it was time to find a job. This was one of the most stressful periods of my life because I hated the corporate atmosphere, and above all, I hated hunting for a job. Amidst all this mess, I lost my touch with books for a good six months. I kept changing my jobs and once my mind was ready, I started reading again, somewhere in December 2014. That was when I started my own blog, which was deleted a few years back.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” — Oscar Wilde

At 24, I was beginning to realize what I actually wanted in my life. I cleaned my room, got rid of the stuff I never used for a while, kept only things I needed, and tried to simplify my life. Throwing all the clutter gave me some peace, though I was not very happy about my career and what I was earning. And this was the last time when I took a big break from reading.

Just like Oscar Wilde said, some of the books that I read earlier were great, but they never appealed to me. A complex plot was good for my brain and the incomprehensible words in the books increased my vocabulary. But, you know what?

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I was never able to go back and read these books. I felt it was a pain more than pleasure. This was the point in my life when I knew that I had to reconsider my choice of books. I was about to leave India and immigrate to Canada when I cleared out my books. I kept some that were close to my heart, though I did not carry them with me.

On the 16-hour long flight to Canada, I re-read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I loved it and was able to read the rest of the book in the next couple of days. Though this book has a some ‘Old English’ text, I still found the plot to be simple. That was when I decided to start reading simple books.

A few months back, I read A Man Called Ove, originally written by Fredrick Backman. Later, I went on to read Britt-Marie Was Here by the same author. These books had really simple short, sentences. I read this book when I find free time at work, which is why I did not finish reading it as quickly as I usually do, but that’s what I love about these books.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. — Leonardo da Vinci

I can take them out whenever I want and read them. At home, I am reading Beartown, by the same author. He has the same style of writing in all books — short, simple easy to understand sentences even a 5-year-old could read. But the other thing about these books is that they go straight to the heart!

I have now found solace in reading simple books because I honestly do not care about somebody else’s opinion about me. All I want is a connection with the books I read and if I ever get to pick up a book and read it again, I should never want to put it back down.

Living, learning and inspiring, one quarter mile at a time.

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