Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why Do We Read?

I've found myself defending books, libraries and reading a lot lately.
People have been asking me what the point of reading is. At first I was a little stunned and was tempted to quote some Jane Austen to them.

 I thought it was common knowledge that reading was a "good thing" to do. Everybody's always told me that it's good to be well-read. But I never thought about why I read, until now that is. If I want to write, I think it's extremely important to understand why I read in the first place. Here's what I came up with.


I read because I want to know.

Not just facts or information, I want to know the emotions, feelings and experiences that I haven't encountered in my life yet. I want to be alongside a character as they fight for what they want or confront their demons. I secretly hope that as I read somehow, through that second-hand experience from the book, it rubs off on me, that I will be inspired to be braver, stronger and better. I read because I want to be empowered.

I want to know other people's ideas about life. I want to understand what makes other people tick, what makes their hearts beat fast and what makes them cry. I want to understand why people do what they do, so I can be sympathetic and caring. I read because I want to love.

I want to know how to spin a story so rich and deep that it moves people. I want to study how the words fit together, how the descriptions weave into the story. I want to take note of how paragraphs are formed and how sentences are built. I want to model my own character arcs after others. I read because I want to be a better a writer.

I read because I want to know the escape from real life. I want to be entertained by the suspense of a story. I want to leave all my troubles behind and watch two people fall in love, or a gang of crooks rob a bank. For a few minutes of my day I want to read about a happy ending or have a good laugh at some witty characters. I read because I want to be entertained.

Finally, I read because I don't ever want to stop thinking. I want to be challenged and presented with new ideas about who I am.

I read because I want to know.

Why do you read?

Reading: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Listening: Five for Fighting
Watching: Youtube videos

10 comments:

  1. I read because I love the experience that the book gives me, like adventures or a new world and A BUNCH OF CHARACTERS I can't be friends with because they don't exist.

    Ah I love reading.

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    1. Ooo! Great reasons! I totally forgot to mention the setting aspect of it all.
      I love the reading experience too (obviously tehe).

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  2. I enjoy reading like I enjoy watching TV series and movies, for the discovery of adventure. Also, that is an amazing quote. I never really grew up with people who read, my little sister would dob on me for reading instead of playing with her ;)

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    1. Oh yes, I'm with you on movies and T.V. shows; I love them.

      Neither of my parents really like to read, but my mom really invested in taking us to the library as children and it paid off. I guess she wanted my sister and I to turn out differently than herself:P

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  3. This is such an amazing post...yes. YES. I hadn't really thought about it either...I mean, I read because I enjoy it. I love living a hundred different lives and being anyone and everyone. But you've basically summed it up: I read because I want to know, too. I think I'd like to know a bit of everything, but, um, yeah...we'll see how that works out for me. >.<

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    1. Thanks for the compliments!
      I'd like to know a bit of everything too. A lofty goal? Probably, haha.

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  4. OH I love this post. I read because I want to go to new worlds and have adventures and meet new people and do things I'm never going to be able to do in real life. Apart from that, I read to amuse myself and to pass the time (on a more mundane level). Thanks for visiting my blog by the way. I love your blog. Definitely sticking around to read more of your posts.

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    1. Your welcome! I love visiting new blogs:)
      Getting to do things that I'm never going to do in real life is a huge draw to reading for me too. I think it's why I like the Victorian mysteries so much.
      And thanks for the high praise; my ego loves it, haha.

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  5. I love this post <3 I read because I can't imagine my life without books in it. I read to get lost in a story, to fall in love with characters and worlds. I read to learn and to find out and discover new things. Brilliant post :) I'm actually stopping by as someone linked you up to my Blogger Love post, now following via Bloglovin' :)

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    1. Glad you decided to come along for the ride! I don't think I can imagine my life without reading either. It would be AWFUL!
      Thanks for all the warm compliments:)

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