I have a room full of books. They are stacked up on (and toppling from) every available piece of furniture. And now at ‘kwench, I work in a place that has books stacked from floor to ceiling – in every direction! There is no doubt about it – I am an incurable bibliophile.

And yet when people ask me why I love reading, I often find myself struggling to explain exactly why. There is this excellent quote by Louis L’ Amour which I often turn to.

“For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.”

I have traveled to exotic locales, witnessed history in the making, danced with royalty, fought wars alongside knights, even participated in board room machinations – all ensconced comfortably in my divan with a cup of hot steaming coffee close by. Books opened up new vistas for me and I have always read for the love of reading.

And then a couple of days back I stumbled on this beautiful and personal talk by Lisa Bu, about the magic of books.

She talks about how she turned to books after her dream of becoming a Chinese opera singer didn’t quite work out. And then when she left China and went to the US, she started comparative reading for the insights it offered into the cultural differences she encountered.

Compare and contrast gives scholars a more complete understanding of a topic. So I thought, well, if comparative reading works for research, why not do it in daily life too? So I started reading books in pairs.

And at the end of this wonderful talk, she signs off with the following lines.

Books have given me a magic portal to connect with people of the past and the present.I know I shall never feel lonely or powerless again.Having a dream shattered really is nothing compared to what many others have suffered.I have come to believe that coming true is not the only purpose of a dream.Its most important purpose is to get us in touch with where dreams come from,where passion comes from, where happiness comes from.Even a shattered dream can do that for you.


So because of books, I’m here today,happy, living again with a purpose and a clarity,most of the time.So may books be always with you.

Its a wonderfully inspiring talk – only about 6 minutes and it will make you want to reach out for a book right away. I did – but not just one, for a pair.

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