Response to literary events in Tiruchi has been encouraging, say bibliophiles

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” as Richard Steele, an author, said.

While the laments about the decline in the reading habit continues all over the world, it is comforting to know that the people of Tiruchi are still holding on to the habit with a firm grip.

The continued patronage of the district central library, which sees good footfall every day, and the number of bookstores that thrive in various parts of the city, stand testimony to the fact. Be it the old, middle aged, or youngsters, everyone is equally hooked to reading.

“The reading habit among the people of Tiruchi has definitely seen an increase as is evident in the rise in the number of members of the district central library,” says A. P. Sivakumar, district library officer.

The youth were the future of the country and it was essential that they improve their awareness by developing the reading habit. And the youth of Tiruchi seem to have taken up the task with interest, says V. Govindasamy, president, Reader’s Forum, District Central Library.

“I have been associated with the library reader’s forum for four years and have noticed that the reading habit among youth has gone up. Be it a book fair or any literary event, a large number of youth, including students, take part enthusiastically.

The present generation has realised the importance and value of reading,” he says.

His statement speaks for the bibliophiles who abound in the city. “I enjoy reading novels, though I do so occasionally because my studies keep me busy.

I like reading and keep myself updated by reading magazines and newspapers whenever I have leisure time,” says A. Sharon Monica, a postgraduate student of a private college.

“My parents have always encouraged me to develop the habit of reading which I began by reading the newspaper. I fit in at least an hour every day to reading about various issues,” says E. Arthika, college student.

V. Jalaja, an insurance advisor who loves reading, says reading is now not restricted to books and newspapers alone and has now become enhanced due to the internet. Such a situation demands that people know where to draw the line, to distinguish from useful and junk reading, she says.

“The advent of internet has revolutionised the reading habit like never before. The information age makes people eager to improve their knowledge. People continue to read, but in a different form; they now read a lot of things online or through e-books and websites. Online bookstores make it possible for them to order books from the comfort of their home,” she says.

“Age is not a barrier for reading and we have old and young customers who equally enjoy purchasing and reading books. For example, a 45-year-old woman asked for a book that is meant for the youth,” says D. Rajasekhar, proprietor of Marks, a bookstore on Salai Road.

He adds that books are still in demand as he judges by the number of customers who continue to visit his bookstore.

Mr. Sivakumar believes that in-depth reading is essential for anyone who develops the habit of reading. They should refer different books and improve their creativity. Learning begins at home and a favourable environment for reading should be created by parents during the formative years of a child. Only then will the habit continue through to adulthood, he says.