Your dad’s friend, Sebastian introduced him to reading back when he was 16 years old. Sebastian was a Commando with the SAF and a military buff. This was a very easy to read book about the Rangers in Vietnam War, memories of the war was still fresh back in the early 90s and there were plenty of books about it, fiction and non-fiction, as well as hypothetical books and stories about the Cold War as well as World War 3, Soviets vs the West.
This is a very good book for a novice reader like me, as the flow of the storytelling was very smooth and easy, there are many combat scenes in it where it allows my Piscean mind to wander, imagine and visualize how the battles played out. Being a military book, there is also a lot of virtues about honour, brotherhood, hardship, uniform and rank, integrity as well as being a cold hard killer.
Till now I continue to look out for such books but such genre has somewhat died down as the world evolves into a more civil, clandestine and asymmetrical warfare.
As much as I can afford in money as well as space, I prefer to buy and read physical books, there is a physical feel to flipping the pages, holding it, and tracking the progress of the read. While I usually don’t scribble or write on the book, it does allows me to and I can place multiple post it notes as book marks for me to refer back as and when I need to. And physical books does not run out of battery.
The Lucifer Effect
This is one book which had a profound impact on me as it describes in Philip Zimbardo‘s own account how a good person can become a stone cold killer. I now know how a person can become ‘self radicalized’ by simply watching YouTube. This is one book that gave me a serious wake up call to the evil deeds man can do, and no one, no matter how righteous or virtuous you are can be immune from doing despicable things. You dad included. One subtle part puts a great deal of focus on the pacification power of women. Good women can stop bad men.
Eventually I succumb to trend and started reading E-books using libby app, which allows us to borrow a huge load of books, so much so we became spoilt for choice and changed my reading habits. Our National Library Board has pushed many books online and with our smart phones we can read it pretty much anywhere you feel like, as long as your phone still have juice to power the device.
I must admit, it is a heck a lot convenient, free and indeed I read a lot more books compared to physical ones. One major bad habit I picked up was not finishing the books because I borrowed too many. Besides if you cannot finish it, you can always borrow it again. There is no invested interest to finish it. But if you buy a book, you’ve put money into print so you damn well better finish it!
The other bad habit is being stuck to a electronic device, one more excuse to introduce another belligerent into the eternal war for my minuscule attention, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, and eBooks, all clamoring for my attention on the 6 inch universe, emails, WhatsApp, phone calls, photo editing tools and all that, makes it hard for me to read on my device, without me wandering into a Facebook alert and then get distract by the social media. Bad, bad habits!
Witness to history
Books are our best bet to history and tells a time where the protagonist have to make a phone call at a phone booth, long before the days of smart, mobile communication devices. Where surveillance wasn’t done by a satellite but a rocket powered drone using film to capture images over North Vietnam.
There are also some ridiculous claims in print and when you capture those in the books to hold on to, you can always reread them with much amusement, once you have gain more knowledge and life experience to better understand what the writer’s best intentions was.
Books are also the best friend you can ever have as it does teaches a lot of life lessons, and you can always read the book again and again and end it with a better understanding than before. And a book never judge you, or tells you you’re too fat. Heck, even the right book can help you lose weight!
Ultimately, a book is a human endeavor, a person’s plan and story which is unique to his/her perspectives. An old friend of mine, Lester once told me, if I’m too poor to travel, the next best thing I can do is to read a book, because a book can take you to places you have never been without you ever have to leave the country. For that reason and many more, I’m still reading, and loving the feel of a book in hand.