Read a book, and see the differenceJune 06, 2016

“Come, and take choice of all my library
And so beguile thy sorrow…”

- Titus Andronicus

You won't hear what dead authors are saying, but they'll give you company.

Have you heard of Novel Cure? You need it when you suffer from distress. Reading a book enables you to get rid of your personal demons. Some will call it an emotional experience, while others will realise that they live a life without purpose. If not for that enlightening novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Jeanette Winterson, who won the 1985 Whitbread Prize for her debut work, "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit", believed that literature was like medicine. What it heals is the rupture reality makes on the imagination, she would add. It's hard to disagree after reading "Walden" one more time.

60 Minutes for MS coincides with Book Week. It's a one-day event, where everyone can read, have fun (while reading), and make a difference by quoting a line from a book. It won't take long to figure out that reading is not a hobby. If it's like the final week of August, which is when the event takes place. Nonetheless, this will make you realise that reading can make you happier. In case you fight it hard to believe, then think of the last time you open a book. You choose a place to relax. You get into a trance-like state after a few pages. If you're unaware of it, then stop reading this post and get your favourite book. But better finish this post first.

You've been taught about the benefits of reading, so it's time to know about other things. It can help you become better participants (during the campaign). Here are some reasons:

Reading can help you understand other people's feelings. An author lets you understand a character's feelings and thoughts. And you're not in a position to judge that individual. This is what art is all about, but real life is another matter. Whether or not this will help you empathise with other people will depend on your attitude. If reading turns out to be a positive experience, then sharing it with the other people might do good.

An author can be your best mate. Marcel Proust once quipped that with books, there's no forced sociability. It's not difficult to find a book that will improve your social abilities, even change your perception of selfhood. Even books with ghoulish humour can achieve that goal. (You might be thinking of Roald Dahl, but let's set it aside for the meantime.) There won't be damage done, but some may wonder if this helps you behave (in real life). Think of your favourite book, which you won't get tired of reading again (and again). If this makes you feel better, then there's no doubt about it.

Books won't make you prosocial, but it can change your attitude. A dead author can't hug you, but his wisdom is good enough. Find a relaxing spot, open a book, and let it help you become a better person.

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