Why (should) humans read?

Yesterday night, I decided to write a post like this. Topic is weird and want to know why I am posting this? Because:

  1. I think it is high time in this awesome gaming/cinema era for publishing a post on reading or telling stories and what is the need to listen(read) to those stories.
  2. I need to increase post reach of my page. LOL, Jokes apart, following lines are implications of a true reader’s feelings.

To tell you the truth, I have been going through a gaming spree for few months. Yes, gaming. I have played games like Transistor , Bastion , Trine, The Walking Dead, Child of Light, Stacking, Bioshock, Brothers- a tale of two sons, FEZ , Her Story and Gone Home. Pretty long list, eh?

But guess what! There is one common denominator in all these games which is …  Story and Presentation. Now why have I pulled gaming in an arguably opposite domain i.e. reading? The reason is simply this: you need to understand the difference of impact on your perception from reading a book and playing a game and watching a movie.
Lets take an example of Game, say The Walking Dead which is both famous in gaming world and in TV series. Now here in this game/serial you find yourself among zombies craving for your blood and your fate depends on the choices you make (in the game also). In that sense, in the gaming world you get to enjoy a better experience of the surrounding environment than in the serial.


Now, imagine if there is a book awesomely written on the same and you are reading it. With each line you will be forming images of the scenes happening and as well forming your opinions (sometimes agreeing and sometimes not) along with the characters. You are creating an world all by yourself. When you watch the same in serial, it bound to differ with your world and opinions.

For example, take the famous Bollywood movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) where in the end Simran’s father declared the epic dialogue “Ja Simran ja, ja jee le apni zindegi”(Go Simran go, live your life.) I know you are remembering the exact scene depicted in the film. But people who have not watched the film and reading this post have already formed a different image from the film. So the film is basically feeding you with an image that is visualized by someone else (most probably the director).

But humans have fortunately been given a brain which can do things which is far beyond understanding of scientists even today. So the thing is, with game or movie you are devouring something, creating nothing which is in a way, not the complete use of your ability to create new worlds.

Next what comes in mind that, why do you even need to use your brain where as you are getting ready-made entertainment from films and games? Well, that’s a tricky question. To answer this, let me talk about a famous book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn where things have happened beyond our expectation. Now among us, who have read both the book and watched the film will know that reading the book before watching the film has made them construct their own anguish/opinion/joy. Do you remember the following lines from the book?

I’m so much happier now that I’m dead.

Technically, missing. Soon to be presumed dead. But as shorthand, we’ll say dead. It’s been only a matter of hours, but I feel better already: loose joints, wavy muscles. At one point this morning, I realized my face felt strange, different. I looked in the rearview mirror – dread Carthage forty-three miles behind me, my smug husband lounging around his sticky bar as mayhem dangled on a thin piano wire just above his shitty, oblivious head – and I realized I was smiling. Ha! That’s new.

My checklist for today – one of many checklists I’ve made over the past year – sits beside me in the passenger seat, a spot of blood right next to Item 22: Cut myself. But Amy is afraid of blood, the diary readers will say. (The diary, yes! We’ll get to my brilliant diary.) No, I’m not, not a bit, but for the past year I’ve been saying I am. I told Nick probably half a dozen times how afraid I am of blood, and when he said, ‘I don’t remember you being so afraid of blood,’ I replied, ‘I’ve told you, I’ve told you so many times!’ Nick has such a careless memory for other people’s problems, he just assumed it was true. Swooning at the plasma center, that was a nice touch. I really did that, I didn’t just write that I did. (Don’t fret, we’ll sort this out: the true and the not true and the might as well be true.)

Only a reader will understand what kind of shock he/she will be in after reading this. Where as in the film, it would take merely 1 sec to show what is told above. My point is: your emotions are more intense in case of book; you are instantly making opinions on the situation which for sure will make you more aware and rational person in the long run. And that’s the whole point of being a human and not a horse. Human can form opinions from which they take decisions. And decisions can only differ between human and animal. Clearly, the more you read, the more you form opinions, and more thinking results in effective decision making capability during important turning of your life.


That’s why from the very beginning of human civilization, humans told stories to their descendants, to pass the tale of their lives, or drew cave drawing which is an intuitive form of telling stories. Presenting stories in form of writing has always remained an useful way of spreading thoughts, and it will remain like this as long as humans exist in this planet.

So read a book, and live another new world.


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