“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
– George R.R. Martin (American novelist, Author of ‘Game of Thrones’)
Yesterday I read a nice post by Kim Richardson, about her visit (in 1996) to Abu Simbel, an architectural Marvel in Egypt. (Kim has written about many of her trips in Africa and Europe, with stunningly attractive pictures, she took there.Do visit her blog for more.)
Reading her describe how being at that ancient site filled her with excitement, I began to get reminiscences of my virtual memory attached with Egypt. I have not been there in real, but I had spent a considerable amount of my virtual life there , by reading a novel based on Egypt. It was a book called “Nefertiti” by Michelle Moran.
It was a summer vacation and I was looking forward to experience some new place through reading. Having a very active imagination, I often plan for such virtual vacations for myself.(When I can’t travel for real) I pick up a novel set in a particular country or locale, which I want to gain an impression of.Then I spend weeks living in that locale, as I continue to read the story.It not only exposes me to that place- their weather, their climate,their geography,their hills and the rivers, but also transports me to a different period of time, if the tale is a historical one.
I get to feel the behaviour of the people in those places- the way they talk, the kind of humor they cherish, the things they admire, the things they despise and their attitude towards life. Additionally, I observe their manners, etiquette, their customs and their rituals. A further learning is about the social order and community life in those places and those times.
Just as I read Nefertiti to experience ancient Egypt, I have read several other books for the same reason of experiencing a particular place and time. One was “Genghis Khan” by Sam Djang, which helped me go back to 12th Century and experience life in Central Asia. I love the rain forests and the adventures that exist in their wilderness. I experienced them when I started reading “Congo” by Michael Crichton.I confronted the dark alleys, the hidden cafes, the desolate meeting places, the strange men with powers attributed to their dark businesses in the city of Bombay, through Gregory David Robert’s “Shantaram”.That was one quirky vacation if I can call so!
In this present phase, I am having a great time exploring space! This month, I had an exciting trip exploring the enigma of Cosmos, with Arthur C Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” Then I had a hair-raising experience of inter galactic travel through wormholes, via Carl Sagan’s “Contact”. My third venture of space exploration is going on now, and the book through which I am touring, is aptly titled “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.
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