Let’s Chat! Why I Read

Hello friends,

Do you have people around you who do not read? I do. In fact, most of my real-life friends don’t read. They prefer TV shows or movies:

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It makes me wonder why they don’t like reading, and why I do. Ever since I was a kid, I loved stories. I probably looked like this:

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Reading is one of the things that I turn to at the end of the day, when I feel tired and burnt out. I love reading more than I love TV shows, movies, and social media. I prefer spending time with a fictional character than a real-life person that I dislike any day.

So today I want to talk about why I read. Maybe you read for the same reasons, maybe not. (In either case, I’d love to hear from you.)

1. We get to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. 

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Being a female Asian-Canadian, I know my own story inside and out. From my friends and acquaintances, I hear snippets here and there about what it is like to be male, or African, or white, or gay, or bisexual, or to live in the States, or Jamaica, or Japan. But it’s not the same to be told a story and to experience it.

Through reading, we can be immersed in another person’s story. We get to hear a character’s thoughts and understand their actions. We really do learn to walk a mile in their shoes. Maybe they are older than we are, maybe they are younger, maybe they have parents who are divorced, maybe they are an orphan, maybe they have been abused, maybe they are spoiled and rich, maybe they go to a school for witchcraft and wizardry, maybe they are a vampire with a pet dragon. Whoever they are, we get to see the world from their eyes.

2. We get to step outside our own shoes, if only for a moment. 

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Even though I’ve been reading mostly YA books, I’m in my twenties and therefore… kind of an adult. And adulting sucks. School and work can be hectic. There are good times, but sometimes life is tough. Some days just leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

A good book pulls us out of our own head and into someone else’s. It offers an escape for fifteen minutes, or an hour, or a weekend (if you are a binge reader like me). And for that moment, we can forget about our upcoming exam, or the room that needs to be cleaned, or the bills that need to be paid, or the upcoming work day tomorrow. (Don’t get me wrong, we eventually gotta confront those things, but isn’t it nice to not think about them for a bit?)

3. I read because reading is exciting.

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When I was a kid, I loved Sailor Moon and Pokemon and Harry Potter. I grew up knowing with a certainty that I would be recruited as a Sailor Scout and get to pick a Pokemon and then receive a letter of invitation to Hogwarts. (I’m still waiting for that invitation.) I loved the idea of being sucked into a fantasy world that is much more exciting than our own.

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And the thing is: We never have to grow out of that. No matter if we are in our teens, or twenties, or thirties, or fifties, or eighties, we can always have that experience of being transported to a school of witchcraft and wizardry, or a post-apocalyptic dystopia, or a heart-stopping romance. We can always have that feeling of forgetting that we are reading, of itching to find out what happens next.

Now I want to hear from you guys: Why do you read?

 

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17 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Why I Read

  1. swordsandspectres says:

    I read because it’s always interested me more than tv or film.

    It’s one of my favourite past times and I enjoy it double now I do audio books as well. A guy I know really doesn’t read more than 1 book a year. But I have him on to audio books now and it feels like a great success!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      I absolutely love audiobooks as well. It has made reading so much easier during those busy weeks when I wouldn’t have time to read otherwise!

      My fiancé is the same way as the guy you are mentioning: he hasn’t read a physical book since high school, but since he’s started audiobooks, he’s been blasting through them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. artyplantsman says:

    When I was small I had a reading age years ahead of my peers. I don’t recall exactly why but I think it must have been my paternal grandmother who introduced me to books, being the only reader in my family. I was voracious and went though the usual children’s books before I was ten.
    My grandmother knew I was interested in wildlife so thought I might enjoy the work of Gerald Durrell. She was right, I ploughed through the lot in a few months.
    My love of reading as an escape came when I went to secondary (high) school. This school was hell and my only joy in those years was escaping into a book. In my first year, when 11, I found my first grown-up novel in a reading box at school. It was ‘Dr No’ by Ian Fleming. Very adult stuff for an 11 year old, but I loved it. An English teacher noticed and started suggesting books I might like, Of Mice and Men especially sticks in my mind.
    Later, during my first years at work, I had a lot of reading time during quiet night shifts and started reading everything from Sci-fi to crime fiction to coffee jar labels (anything to stay awake!).
    These days I read a lot of humour (Terry Pratchett is my favourite author by miles) and still read some crime fiction and fantasy. Recently I have discovered authors who blend these genres (Ben Aaronivitch and his Peter Grant series and also the Bryant & May books by Christopher Fowler). My house groans at the seams with books and I would not have it any other way.
    I am envious that young people have such cool books to choose from these days, from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. I have read and loved all of these too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you for sharing your story about why you read! It seems like books have accompanied you throughout your life.

      When you mentioned that you read coffee jar labels to stay awake, I remembered when I was bored as I kid, I would read everything in sight, like cereal boxes and even instruction manuals. Glad to know that I wasn’t the only one 🙂 I also read a lot as a kid and in high school. It is harder now that I have work, and I am envious that you had time to read at work! It is usually hectic at my job, though I do look forward to the quieter night shifts when I do get a chance to read.

      I’m not too familiar with the writers that you mentioned. I’ve been reading a lot of young adult fiction, though I’m looking to read more adult fiction 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • artyplantsman says:

        Yep – I would read anything!
        You should try the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett. Aimed at younger adults but they have some grown-up themes and are very funny and very moving and human. ‘The Wee Free Men’ is the first one.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Marie says:

    Oh this is a lovely post, Sophie! I really love reading, so much more than watching movies and tv shows – I think part of it is that it makes me use my imagination so much more, picture the world, the characters, everything in my own way. You’re so right, reading and losing ourselves into a book’s world can happen at any age, it is so fantastic to be able to do that ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      I’m glad that you feel the same way, Marie! I also love that there is more room for imagination when we read a book. I love imagining how the characters look and sound like in my head, and making up the details of the scene. When you think about it, everyone experiences a book differently depending on what they imagine, while for movies and TV shows, everyone’s experience is the same 🙂 and yes, I love that reading is for everyone, regardless of age!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. MichaelK says:

    I think you got the main reasons for reading. They cover almost everything but of course everyone variates a little. I also read to learn (and possibly understand) stuff. I think that reading has become one of the things that define me, I can’t imagine myself without reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jonathan Scott Griffin says:

    Your friends don’t like to read? Time to find some other friends. As for what I like to read, I have a wide variety of fiction and non fiction that interests me. I really love fantasy, science fiction, Gothic, graphic novels, and children’s stories. But I also love history, philosophy, zoology, world religion and mythology.

    Liked by 1 person

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