Reading is a lonely activity. This hits me the most when I finish a good book. I’m sad that it is over and I yearn to go out and meet people.
Back when I was in college, I’d usually head over to the Indian Coffee house after finishing a book. There I’d sip my coffee alone, ruminating about the best bits in the book, surrounded by a sea of people. Strangers would sit at the same table and often, a polite conversation would turn into an interesting discussion about current affairs.
The reason for bringing this up. My wife is also a prolific reader and after finding her, I no longer find reading a lonely activity. We read together1 and whenever one of us chuckles2, an explanation follows. I cannot explain the joy of being able to read out a passage to another person who you know will enjoy and appreciate it as much as you do. For this (and numerous other reasons), I’m eternally grateful to my lovely wife.
Kindle’s popular highlights feature is the digital equivalent of this and while it is impersonal, a sense of community and togetherness is conveyed when you see a passage with a dotted underline and the message, “Highlighted by 54 kindle users.”
Social networks around books like LibraryThing and Shelfari solve the book discovery problem, but only the Kindle (or an e-reader of your choice) gives you a social connection to other readers as you are reading something.
To conclude, I’d like to leave you with this quote:
“We read to know that we are not alone.” – C.S Lewis
- Of course, not from the same book. Though we’ve done that when the seventh Harry Potter book released. We drove to Sapna and picked up our pre-ordered copy. While on the motorbike, my wife had started reading the book. At traffic signals, people would stare and laugh at us. Once home, we read a few chapters together, patiently waiting for the other to finish before turning the page. [↩]
- This happens more often than not when a Terry Pratchett book is involved. [↩]