Today's post is not about my obsession with books; it's about the strange benefits I have gotten from reading all kinds of books and a lot of them.
And here they are:
- I no longer see myself in any of the characters in the books I read (and also movies I watch). When we read a great novel or watch an interesting movie, we often attach ourselves to one of the characters. We try to superimpose ourselves on the character we, somehow, form a close connection with. As a guy, you'll most likely see yourself in Hitch. As a lady, you'll see yourself in Jane, slapping and kissing Thor (or whomever). And it's same experience with books, especially novels and biographies. But once you've read a really lot of them, the effect wears out. I can read the most sensational novel (in fact, I just finished reading The Rosie Project: the best novel I've read since reading Q & A in 2011). And I read it without feeling like I'm one of the characters in the novel. I'm able to read a book on any religion without the risk of changing my religion (maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea).
- You can't hurt my feelings. Reading a lot of controversial books will make anyone almost insensitive to other people's opinions. There is hardly anything you can say or do to make me feel like trash. It's more like there's the physical me, the one you're talking to, and there's the real me, the one trying to find a correlation between what you're saying and the situation at hand. So I never take anything personal, at least, in the conventional way.
- I'm now very picky in my choice of friends. After reading lots of biographies, I found out that it's much better and less troublesome to be friends with someone you understand, than someone you can't seem to understand or appreciate the logic behind his actions. I'm friendly to everyone but friends with very few.
- More aware of my environment and the society. If you've read books that have described the sunset in amazing ways, then you'll become more aware of sunsets in reality. And it does not apply to sunset alone. Books make you see common things in uncommon ways. And regular people in irregular ways. Wherever I go, I'm able to soak in a lot of information about the place because books that described places in ways so real you can visualize them have made me more deliberate in observing my environment.
- Made me hard to be deceived. I now form extremely quick first impression about anyone I meet. I have this vast collection of characters, fictional or real, with whom I match every physical attribute and expression of a new person I meet. I know it's not good, but it's a reflex action. It happens in the background of my mind and so fast I can't stop it. But the benefit it provides is that due to a lifelong practice of doing this, I'm now so good that I'm seldom wrong in a big way. And it's almost impossible to unpleasantly surprise me, because I would have been expecting it.
- A faster and better information processing brain. I'm not easily overwhelmed with information. If you've read several 1000+ pages books and ones that require you remember what you read in the first chapter to make sense of the last chapter, then you're probably like me. Just like writing is improving my grammar and written communication skill, reading an insane lots of books has made me an information processing machine. And made it easy working for clients on data with millions of entries and fairly complex requirements. Not to talk of writing faster and efficient VBA codes.
- Made me a better christian. I have read the bible over 3 times, and some books of the bible over 20 times. I read 3 chapters daily. I can describe Paul to you in a way that will make you feel I know him personally. And I can furnish you a detailed report of Jesus' interaction with the Pharisees in a way that will make you think I was there when it all happened. The only downside to this is that sometimes I only benefit from the praise and worship session at church. The sermons often come off as watered down versions of what I know.