Talking about Reading

photo by Ruslan Valeev on Unsplash

I came from the countryside, where I lost my name early on and was replaced by being called "college student". This title has been with me for many years, to the point that every time I return home and my neighbors greet me, they almost always start with "the college student is back". When I help with farm work, they laugh and say to me, "Even college students do this?"

I used to feel embarrassed by this title, and eventually became extremely annoyed because I knew that behind this title was mostly mockery. I once thought about fighting back, but my personality and education taught me that fighting back would be useless.

Many years later, perhaps the college students in their eyes have matured, perhaps they have received some substantial help, or perhaps they have realized that they can no longer mock someone who is sincere, and I "regained" my name.

Looking back, this experience has hurt me a lot. I have been a bookworm since I was a child. There weren't many books at home, and I finished them when I was a few years old. When I saw books at other people's houses, I would get lost in them and forget to eat. I have even done embarrassing things like moving the flowers and plants in my house to exchange for books. As a result, I have been scolded many times. When I grew up, the mockery from people around me made me afraid to read in public, and I even deliberately avoided the act of reading. Because of this, I missed out on many opportunities to acquire knowledge.

From my observation, there seem to be quite a few people like me who avoid reading in public due to face-saving concerns. They may not be concerned about the opinions of their neighbors, but rather the opinions of the people around them. Behind this kind of gaze, there is a subconscious belief that reading equals being a bookworm, and that those who continue to read seriously after leaving school are either showing off or putting on an act. It is absurd!

This influence has had a profound and lasting impact on me. Even after going to college and temporarily escaping from that kind of environment, I still couldn't completely let go. As I matured mentally and gained more control over my time, I gradually picked up this lost hobby.

Most of my reading has accumulated after I started working, because reading has become a part of my life, like eating and drinking. I no longer deliberately avoid it, nor do I care about other people's opinions. On the contrary, I have met many like-minded friends, and the opening lines during meals are no longer about trivial matters of life, but are gradually being replaced by "What interesting books have you read recently?"

Looking back, besides the misunderstanding of reading by people, the misleading of pseudo-readers also played a part in creating this situation. Their walls are covered with bookshelves, their desks are piled with books, but when you get closer, you will find that they have never opened a sealed book; they talk eloquently on social platforms, reciting classics as if they were treasures, but they have never actually read the books and appreciated the spirit of the authors. Books are just decorations for them, implying that reading is only a pastime for a few people, used to enhance their own image.

Reading, an ordinary behavior, has been stigmatized by their actions. Along with it comes the cold ridicule of reading and the relegation of good books to obscurity.

Only when, on the subway, in the park, in any public place, pulling out a book no longer attracts strange looks, will reading truly enter the lives of ordinary people, and that is what is called a reading revolution.

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