Recently I had a conversation with a recruiter who, after interviewing scores of volunteers, was disenchanted by the fact that almost all of them pursued reading as a hobby, and upon being asked what is it that they liked to read, their reading list was found to be confined to the likes of “popular books”, namely Khaled Hosseini, John Green, Elif Shafak and others. In another incidence, in a public seminar on the life and works of Rumi, a lady amongst the audience was very much inspired by Rumi and his idea of love; she had been reading him for quite some time. Guess where? Forty rules of love it is. She had her fair share of embarrassment.
Do we read to brag or to sound, perhaps, erudite? I believe social media, for one, has to be blamed for the popular reader following. It is a social obligation to read what is trending and then to, of course, let your friends know, through hashtags and status updates that you have finally read that book: It was so-out-of-this-world and you can use that “Okay? Okay.” phrase now.
You are what you read, and I believe that reading has this powerful ability to connect people based on their similar interests and thought patterns. Reading, to me, is accidently stumbling upon a good book, which you may have discovered based on your own stand-alone personal interests, but which doesn’t necessarily have to be widely read by the masses. Reading doesn’t have to revolve around popular romantic fiction novels or around course textbooks, but it is far greater than that. It is an unfortunate thing that even in the elite educational institutes of Pakistan, reading culture isn’t so widespread. Perhaps we need to re-think and re-consider our sources of inspirations
P.S. This article is, by no means, a personal target at anyone or at any author/book; it only aims to give its readers a food for thought.