Saturday, December 15, 2007

Reading for our minds

I am now on my way to Sharm, finally I found a use for the Blackberry other than sending and receiving business mails. It's really interesting to be able to blog from anywhere.

I read once that some authors wrote novels on their mobile phones. In Japan there is a hype of reading eBooks on the mobile phones and hand-helds. They prefer to read while they are in the metro going to their work. In fact it's not just the Japanese who prefer to read in public transportations, my grandfather told me once that when he visited France, he used to see people there reading in the metro too.

As for the Japanese people, I know that they like Manga (Japanese Comics). I guess people in other countries read Novels and Stories mainly. But for sure this doesn't mean that they don't read other kinds of books too.

But the question now, what about the Arabs and Egyptians? Do they read too? I don't think so. May be this is because of our education system. During my school years as well as in the University I was never given an assignment to find some info from a book other than the school text-books. May be the only time I did a research was during my graduation project. It was really fun then. To tell you the truth, I almost forgot everything I studied in the University, and the only thing I still remember till now is the stuff I learned in that graduation project.

Next month there will be the annual international book fair here in Cairo. I want you to go there and tell me what kind of books do people normally buy from there. I'll give you a hint, most of the books there are Religious Books. Hundreds years old books. Do you want to know the reason? It's because they will be rewarded and sent to heaven if they read and practice what is written there. And the sad truth is that even after reading these books people still don't know their religion well. And back to the metro reading habits, yes there are few ones who read there. And almost all of them read the Quraan, but most of them mainly read it looking for heaven reward. I believe that God promised people to be rewarded for reading every letter in the Quraan, but the goal here was to understand and learn, and not just reading the letters one after the other.

But you know, I feel that there is some change in the air. I liked the idea of Beano's Cafe where you can grab a book to read while you're there. The Internet on the other hand is helping in promoting books and reading in general. Some bloggers write review for books they read, and there are applications and widgets on Facebook and other sites where people can share with other a list of the books they are currently reading. Globalization is not pure evil as people like to believe. Sometimes it helps in changing people's habits that are sometimes bad ones. I myself used to limit myself to reading technical books only, but blogging made me change this. I became more into Social and Humanitarian issues. I also was introduced to other subjects such as Photography, thanks to Flickr. Sometimes you don't need to read a book to learn about new issues, articles in Wikipedia and on other Blogs can sometimes be considered micro-books. I never liked reading novels, I prefer to watch them as movies instead. I bought "The Da Vinci Code", but couldn't read more than a chapter and half of it.

Finally, excuse me if there are many spelling mistakes in this post, but I am one of those people who can't live without spell-checkers and it seems that there is no checker here on the Blackberry.


Laura(southernxyl) said...

I can't travel without having a paperback to read. Sometimes I get away without a book and have to buy one in one of the airport shops. Found Plague Year that way and am awaiting the sequel.

Tarek said...

What's your favourite type of books?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Oh, I read all kinds of things and each kind is my favorite when I'm reading it.

I like Fredrick Forsythe's action-adventure stuff, like Day of the Jackal and The Odessa Files. And Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko detective books. Gorky Park was the first. Wolves Eat Dogs is the latest and it's really good.

I like old-fashioned "literature" too. Edith Wharton's books, Jane Austin, Anna Karenina, Middlemarch.

My daughter and I have a hobby of researching Queen Victoria and her children and grandchildren on their thrones across Europe in those decades leading up to WWI. There's a lot of material there because those folks kept diaries and wrote letters.

And then I like really horrifying stuff sometimes, like the aforementioned Plague Year. I went to Pennsylvania this week and picked up Dan Simmons' The Terror, which is partially a historic account of a poorly planned British expedition to the Arctic in 1847, and partly Gothic horror. Read that in the airports and on the planes, and in the hotel room in the evening. I probably turned the heat up too high in the hotel room because the book was so evocative.

So I guess I'm an omnivorous kind of reader and I can't really pick out a favorite.

laura said...

I never go far without a book to read.
Here in Korea, it is normal to see people either watching some sort of video on their phone or other device, sleeping, or reading. Like Japan, they also read the comics. They are everywhere. They have little book rental places that JUST cater to the comic book readers. Some people take out entire series at a time. I don't think it would take long to get through them, though.
Maybe one of the reasons is the time that they spend on subways and buses. It really not nice to be stuck on a subway for 1 hour + with nothing to do.

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