Make reading a part of your daily routine

Reference: The DNA newspaper, Mumbai print edition, June 25 2017, Sunday. (Rya Jetha: correspondent@dnaindia.net) (The writer is a 17 year old Indian-American, currently studying at Bombay International School)

Note: Although this article may not be directly to the topics of this blog, namely, math or the kinds of levels of concentration, memory power and retention required for intensely competitive Math exams like IITJEE, RMO/INMO (of Homibhabha/TIFR), it certainly suggests the benefits of good reading habits, which directly impact the development of the intellect and overall personality of a person/student of any age. I only mean to share this “feeling” or “opinion” of mine…) – Nalin Pithwa.

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What’s In It for you:

  • Reading facilitates interaction between our own experiences and the world beyond our own.
  • Reading allows us to create an image for ourselves that is intimate and personal.
  • Reading gives us the opportunity to rekindle the bond with ourselves that is neglected and wilting.

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Our brains are perpetually fed with images. Images of skyscrappers billowing flames, images of celebrities strutting down the red carpet, images of scrumptious Mediterranean food platters. Images, images, images. Everywhere. On billboards as we navigate through the intersections and flyovers of our city, on our social media feeds, on television, on newspapers covers. With the tentacles of the media being ever more agile and developing finer capillaries by the second, nothing is left to imagination.

What about creating the image? What about allowing our brains to somersault, cartwheel, and back flip once in a while? How do we periodically escape the reality impressed upon us, where our brains are spoon fed and mollycoddled by our circumstances? How do we give ourselves the space to be active creators, and not dormant receivers?

The answer is reading. Fellow teenagers, I bet you just rolled your eyes, thinking “easier said than done!” I couldn’t agree more. Who has the time or inclination to read when there are standardized tests to rigorously practise for, laps to swim, tracks to run around, places to be and people to meet? It doesn’t strike me as particularly surprising when teenagers regards reading as a pastime belonging to a previous era, a time when minutes elapsed slower and free time was available in enviable abundance.

Apart from the obvious advantage of reading —- expanding our vocabularies and knowledge, improving focus and enhancing writing and comprehension skills —- I see another benefit to reading critical for teenagers in the 21st century. Reading facilitates interaction between our own experiences and the world beyond our own. Reading allows us to create an image for ourselves that is intimate and personal —- an ability we have lost as thousands of visuals assault us on a daily basis. Sidetracked by the hyperactivity of the world we live in, we lack a connection with our own experiences  and creativity, and reading gives us the opportunity to rekindle the bond with ourselves that is neglected and wilting.

Teenagers are both victims and beneficiaries of the overwhelming bombardment of the 21st century. Instead of suffering from the onslaught of sensational news and enduring the blitzkrieg of our social media feeds, how about we acclimatize ourselves to a different kind of bombardment…of suspense, of plots, of twists, of complex characteers and vibrant settings! The possibilities are endless, and I assure you, the vibrancy and exhilaration is unparalleled by any Snapchat filter, Buzzfeed article or Trump meme. How about exploring the Taliban agenda in A Thousand Splendid Suns, or viewing the world through the lens of a migrant in The Sympathizer, and Americanal, or experience the trauma of World War II through the perspective of a blind French girl in All The Light We Cannot See, or delving into the history of The Gene, or exploring British occupied Burma in The Glass Palace, or living the psychological tension in The Girl on the Train. Take your pick!

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On my part, if you are interested in Math and Physics, you can try reading some of the following books:

  1. The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel, http://www.amazon.in/Man-Who-Knew-Infinity-Ramanujan/dp/0349104522/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498367866&sr=1-1&keywords=the+man+who+knew+infinity
  2. Men of Mathematics by E. T. Bell, this is the book which had inspired (to some extent) John Nash, Jr., as a boy, and he later on became a Nobel Laureate, an Abel Laureate, whose life inspired the Hollywood movie, A Beautiful Mind. The movie in turn is based on the biography ” A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar; you can buy these books also from Amazon India or some other place.
  3. Taming the Infinite: The Story of Mathematics by Ian Stewart. http://www.amazon.in/Taming-Infinite-Mathematics-Ian-Stewart/dp/1847247687/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498368149&sr=1-1&keywords=Taming+the+Infinite
  4. A Brief History of Time: From Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking. http://www.amazon.in/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=stephen+hawking+books&sprefix=Stephen+%2Cstripbooks%2C300&crid=36PORG5NPRBFL
  5. The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios. http://www.amazon.in/Physics-Superheroes-Villains-Science-Spectacular/dp/1592405088/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498368355&sr=1-1&keywords=physics+superheroes
  6. Physics for Entertainment by Ya. Perelman; http://www.amazon.in/Physics-Entertainment-Yakov-I-Perelman/dp/1610279034/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498368445&sr=1-1&keywords=physics+for+entertainment
  7. Surely, you are joking, Mr. Feynman! http://www.amazon.in/Surely-youre-Joking-Feynman-Adventures/dp/009917331X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498368493&sr=1-1&keywords=richard+feynman
  8. Sherlock Holmes, (Unabridged complete works) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, http://www.amazon.in/Complete-Sherlock-Holmes-Novels-Stories/dp/0553328255/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498368830&sr=1-1&keywords=sir+arthur+conan+doyle
  9. Super Memory: it can be yours by Shakuntala Devi, https://www.amazon.in/Super-Memory-Can-Be-Yours-ebook/dp/B009127KFG?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=SuperMemory%20it%20can%20be%20yours&qid=1498368921&ref_=sr_1_sc_1&s=books&sr=1-1-spell
  10. P. G. Wodehouse ! (This is, of course, for light reading and besides, who can forget The Inimitable Jeeves, the Empress of Blandings, and Bertie Wooster? 🙂 🙂 🙂 )http://www.amazon.in/P.-G.-Wodehouse/e/B006IIVXB8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1498368970&sr=1-2-ent
  11. S. Chandrasekhar, Man of Science, by Radhika Ramnath, http://www.amazon.in/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=S+Chandrasekhar+Man+of+Science&rh=n%3A976389031%2Ck%3AS+Chandrasekhar+Man+of+Science.

(I will try to suggest more such literature later, although, you can find many many like these on your own…)

– shared by Nalin Pithwa.

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