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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Why I read: A Reader's Response

While catching up on the work and online activity of others, I came across an interesting article on reading, specifically why a friend of mine reads, which can be found here. She concludes by asking why we read and how would we convince others to read?

So, here is my response.

The truth is out there, even in fiction
Building on a point my friend made about learning, I too love a book's ability to teach me new things. So many amazing and interesting things have happened in our world already and often these experiences are best captured in books.

Autobiographies offer a glance of a world of perspective from a person of interest. Biographies work similarly. History books provide perspective, cooking books offer food, and how-to books help us learn new skills! If you want to learn something new, there's likely many books just for you!

And not all of them are non-fiction. I have found that books of fiction, imagination, and fantasy can offer much to learn if written well. Often, parallels and comparisons can be made from works of fiction which allow us to examine our own reality without blatantly criticizing it. Fiction allows us to imagine worlds different from our own and allows us to examine ourselves (how we might act in such a world/situation). To illustrate my point using fiction, the character V from V for Vendetta said, "Artists use lies to tell the truth." So, whether you be reading fact or fiction, thinking while reading allows you to learn a great deal!

Fun, Adventure, and Freedom from Boredom
Perhaps you're not interested in "learning". Maybe it sounds too academic and at the end of the day, you're tired. Well, that's okay! Books offer a relaxing escape from whatever is troubling us. Just as television can cause us to become invested in the lives of other characters, so can reading! Sometimes, we need a break, and reading can be just as diverting as watching an episode of TV.

Reading is also fun! And books offer adventures of every kind! Ever wanted to go to far away places or be whisked away to a different time? Books are doorways to new experiences and adventures and through them, you can live a thousand lives without ever leaving home. While many may contest a book's ability to substitute for real experience, the fact is that with a little investment (we're talking a few hours here and there), you can explore the Titanic, outer space, or anywhere you wish! There are worlds to explore in books, and if you think I'm exaggerating, take a look at the books in a bookstore.

So, those are two sweeping reasons why I enjoy reading. Short version: reading allows me to learn and it allows me to have adventures. I enjoy both so I enjoy reading. What about you? Do you like to read? Why or why not?

In either case, as always, thanks for reading this!

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