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... a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

A great quote that truly motivates one to just pick up a book and start reading away. However, having the time to do it seemed like a chore, what with all the stress from work, the latest news on social media and other demanding, attention-grabbing activities. But stop and think about it. Do we really not have the time anymore or do we just not make the time?

This is what I wanted to find out and change as the year turned anew. Having amassed a number of books in the previous year that are just collecting dust in the shelf, I knew that they had to be read at some point in time.

What better time to do it than the first month of the year so I started bringing a book on the way to work. I read in the bus, in the train, while on the escalator, while on the elevator. I made the time. All of a sudden, my daily commute is not that bad anymore, it is less exhausting, is more enjoyable and is something I look forward to. For the first time in a long time, I actually enjoyed being stuck in traffic. Not too long ago, it was hell for me. What's not to like, in an hour or so of commuting, I get to be in different places around the world, be with amazing characters in their travails and adventures, fight assassins and discover old manuscripts and ancient monuments. All of these I experienced in just over a month of reading again.

A stack of books by authors Steve Berry and James Rollins

In Bloodline, the topic of immortality is explored and how the possibility of "re-discovering" it is achievable within the next few generations. I say re-discovery because it is postulated that a long time ago, people were already privy to this knowledge which explains why some biblical characters in the old testament are hundreds of years old. However, as with many ancient knowledge, these secrets have been lost to history.

In The Emperor's Tomb, I got introduced to the concept of "abiotic oil", the idea that oil is not just a by-product of dead living things from times past but is actually a result of the internal geological processes of our planet. This means that its supply is infinite. It also reminded me how great ancient China was, having discovered and invented a lot of advancements such as deep drilling for oil, the plow, the compass, the stirrup and many others.

In The Jefferson Key, I found out that integral to the creation of the United States of America was the services of a great number of pirates who served as privateers for the fledgling nation, augmenting their small navy at that time. They preyed on British shipping during the War of Independence and the War of 1812 as well as on the Spanish ships during the Spanish-American War. It is actually quite possible that without these pirates, we may not have the same USA that we know now.

Needless to say, my plan of restarting book reading is a success, having read three books in quick succession within the first month of the new year. Obviously, this is not about volume nor is it about reading novels alone (easy reading as some would put it). Whatever floats your boat. Whether it be novels, comics, classics or scientific journals. The important thing is to start flipping those pages again. Expand your vocabulary, learn new words, phrases and trivia, discover new techniques and develop new ideas just by reading at your own pace, at your own time.

I have proven that if we just make the time, we can squeeze in reading in our busy schedule. It is not as difficult as it seems and I am sure you can and I encourage you to start doing it as well. You'll be amazed how far you can go if you just keep at it. As for me, I just can't wait to grab a new set of books and be off to my next adventure.

Lhar Gil

Lhar Gil

Tech-savvy software developer and street photography enthusiast. Exploring the world through code and candid shots of daily life. 📸 All opinions are my own.