I’m sure I’m not the only reader who gets asked “Why do you read?”. Thankfully, this question seems to be asked with genuine interest. Sometimes it is asked rudely; as if the person asking cannot possibly see the value in it. I think that perhaps this question is centuries old. We’re a passionate bunch, us readers. We feel like if we express it just the right way, we can spread the joy that the written word has brought us. I want to start off 2015 by really renewing my love of reading and not just blogging. I present to you why I read.
I read because it affords me the ability to travel and see places I have never seen. I have been to London, Paris, Scotland, Washington D.C., California, and so many more places that I most likely will not see in my lifetime. This morning I was speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway. Tonight I think I’ll be in Prague. I’m expecting by Tuesday to be in an unspecified place but I will be on an army base. I can be in all of these places without jet lag. I can do it without having to spend time in crowded airports. I don’t have to learn a new language to visit these places. I do it all from the comfort of my couch in the midwest of USA.
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one. ― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
I read because it extends my life and experience. I add weeks and years each time I finish a book. I live in the settings with the characters. I spend sometimes just brief days with them. Sometimes I spend months. If I’m lucky it can be years. I’ve experienced life and death at the hands of hardcovers. I’ve experienced the lunacy of a serial killer while keeping my sanity. I’ve been with the law while taking down the criminal of the age. I’ve been a teenager in an impossible situation. I’ve been the daughter of a king. I’ve been the orphan who pretended to be that daughter. I’ve fallen in love with a vampire. I’ve discovered that I am a shifter. I’ve been to Hogwarts. I’ve been in a small town and opened a small business. I’ve solved puzzles that have helped save the world, I’ve been a witch hiding my abilities for my safety, I’ve been a debutante in a London season, and I’ve had super powers.
I read because it makes time travel a reality. I’ve been seen the Civil War. I’ve seen how frightening the future can be. I’ve spent time in the 80’s just in the past year. I’ve been to 1800’s England. I’ve seen America before the Europeans came. I helped to sculpt my piece of the new Frontier. I’ve spent my fair time in horse drawn carriages and sailed the ocean on pirate ships. I have seen the results of a Civil War in our time. I’ve spent time in ancient Scotland.
I read because it is so easy to make friends. It only takes me spending some time with their book. The thing about book friends is that they will love you absolutely no matter what. They don’t feel like you overstay your welcome. They are always glad to see you. They don’t care if you wake them up at three in the morning because you have to know what’s going on with them. They don’t get offended if you don’t get a hold of them for weeks. You can go years without seeing them and you’re guaranteed to pick up right where you left off. But the very best thing about book friends? They can tell you the same story over and over again and you’ll never get tired of it.
One of the best parts about reading are the people who take the journey with you. Because of our mutual passion for reading, I have made so many friends. Some of the best people in my life are people I have never met face to face. Thank you all for enriching an experience that I didn’t think could become any richer.
Why do you read?