The moment a book lover hears the word “reading” their face lights up. Their mind fills up with all those wonderful books they have read. If you give a book lover a chance, he or she will talk about the stories they love even for hours. That is because love for books happen naturally. It comes from the heart. Just like the love between two people there are those who fake it and who really are in love with books. There is a clear distinction between these two groups. Therefore, there is no need to be perplexed by the situation.

The month of September is special to Sri Lankan book lovers because that is when Colombo International Book Fair (CIBF) takes place. Almost all the publishers come to the book fair and the book lovers get an opportunity to visit all these stalls and buy whatever book they want. Apart from a few book emporiums which have branches island wide, most of the publishers are secluded to one city. Sometimes, some good publishers’ book shops are only found in Colombo. Therefore, for someone who lives outside of Colombo, who cannot frequents any of these book shops regularly, this book fair is a tremendous opportunity.

However, with the recent increase in the use of social media, especially Facebook, there seems to have emerged a new set of book lovers. They appear on different groups dedicated to books and showcase their love for books. However, from the majority of posts that actually appear in these pages, we get the problem whether these people are actually reading books? They will whine about the book prices being expensive. At a moment when the printing costs have gone up you cannot expect to buy a book for a cheap price. That can be possible with second hand books. However, that is not possible with new books. Therefore, a real book lover would usually select at least a few books he or she want to buy and buy them without complaining. From what I personally have seen on social media, I get the feeling that most of these fake book lovers have actually started saying they are reading books because suddenly it has become the new “cool” thing in Sri Lanka. I have no idea whether this tendency is there in other countries.

There was a time when reading a book was a radical thing. In my country’s history, there was a time when a woman was not allowed to read novels because as the elders put it reading “can spoil the girls.” At such a time, reading was a radical thing. However, now we live in a world where we can read books if we want to. If we have money we can buy a book and read. If we do not have money and still want to read we can start going to a library. A real book lover will always find ways to read books. He or she will also use what they read in their real lives.

Reading is a wonderful experience. However, you should engage in it only if you have a real passion for it. Not because it has become the new “cool” thing and you want to show off to the world that you are wise because you read.

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