Is it just me who really can’t fathom people who don’t like reading? I get that everyone’s different (and some people probably can’t understand why I love reading so much!) but what do non-readers do with their time? And don’t tell me it’s all important real life stuff like house work and paying bills because I do all that too…but I also read.
So here are five reasons why I love reading. Why do you?
1. It’s an escape from mundanity
Don’t tell me everyone’s life is riveting 24/7 because that just isn’t true. And even if your life is super exciting, have you ever ridden a magical flying broomstick or fought a dragon? No? Well read Harry Potter because he has!
2. It’s entertaining
Reading is for the most part a leisure activity (except for at school and college where they kind of force you to do it!), and is therefore a form of entertainment. I know a lot of people prefer watching TV for entertainment because it ‘takes less work’, but for me reading isn’t hard work. When you are immersed in an incredible world, or in the head of an amazing character then reading is not only easy, but also addictive. Although I’ve had the urge to binge watch TV series before (ahem, Lost), for me it is nothing like the feeling of being physically unable to put down a book.
3. It’s educational
Although reading is for the most part entertainment (going back to #2!), it can also be educational, even if it’s fiction. Pretty much any issue you could possibly think of has been covered by a book, whether it’s war, racism, sexism, family issues, illness, mental health, abuse, death etc., and whilst TV and films can do this too, it isn’t quite the same. When you watch TV you can see the character’s reactions to all these things but you can’t know their exact feelings and thoughts like you can in a book, and I think this tends to get you closer to the issue, and educates you more about it.
4. It allows you to see from other people’s perspectives.
Our only experience of life is our own, the one that takes place in our own body as we walk everyday in our own shoes. But in some small way, reading allows us to briefly experience a little of what it would be like to be someone else, and that is one of the ways it is so wonderful. To quote Jojen from ASOIAF: ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.’
5. It shows us what it is to be human.
Kind of a big statement, huh? Let me explain what I mean. Books are written by humans, usually about humans, and are read by humans, so they are essentially, all about humans and what it is to be one. Books encompass the past, the present and the future of the human race, and basically put into words the universal feelings that come along with being a person; joy, sadness, love, hate, loneliness… I think every reader has occasionally had that moment of clarity when reading a book where you think to yourself, ‘I recognise this, I have felt this too,’ and I think this is kind of what William Nicholson meant by ‘we read to know we are not alone’. Reading shows us that we are not alone, that everyone goes through something, even if that someone is a super celebrity or futuristic spaceman living on Mars. Or maybe I’m just rambling and this makes no sense!
So why do you love reading?