I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Why I Love Reading

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

Romi at Where the Writer Comes to Write posted last week about how reading made her feel.  It was part of her new feature encouraging bloggers to share more personal thoughts and experiences on the given topic, and I was struck by how hard it was for me to keep my answer from getting too long.  So with Romi's permission (and I hope she really doesn't mind!) I wanted to talk more in depth about it for this post.

It's something I almost take for granted now since I've been a reader for so long.  If someone asks me why I like to read, I say things about escapism, interesting stories - I just enjoy it.  But I have to wonder why I'm more into reading than I am into films or TV shows for example.  (I am really into those things too though.)  How are they different for me since they can still provide that escape and interesting stories.  Ultimately,  I think it comes down to the fact that reading is a much more personal experience.

And I think there are two sides to that for me - the personal experience of reading a book as a solitary endeavor.  (Of course that's not always the case)  I read, and it's just me and this little world of the book.  There's some comfort to me that I can open a book and keep myself occupied and engaged without having to rely on anyone else, or bothering anyone.  Maybe that sounds very anti-social of me, but I somehow just like being able to occupy myself.

The other side is the obvious one - that reading creates images in your mind - the whole world and the characters are filtered by your perception of it, and it's very personal.  Much more than film and television, because you, the reader, have to contribute to imagining the book's setting and characters with what the author gives you.  And it can feel much more vivid and uniquely engaging.

I have this memory from high school that I think illustrates the power of reading, but I do wonder if my memory made this instance more significant to me than it really was.  But oh well.  During lunch, I had the very antisocial habit of sometimes reading while my friends were talking amongst themselves and in my memory, I was reading a particular scene that was set on a ship during a storm, so the ship was tossed and turned in the rain.  Somehow that scene was so vivid to me, that when someone called my name to talk to me, I felt actual surprise to look up and see just how bright and sunny a day it was.  It was the strangest sensation, and one I don't think I've ever really experienced before or since.  Sometimes I do get that disorientation when I'm interrupted reading, but it's mostly because I have to switch my mindset, and not because I actually felt totally disconnected from my surroundings.  I wonder if other readers experience this more often?

When I hold a book in my hand, I like to think of it as a whole world waiting for me within it's pages.  There's something so magical about a wealth of experience that can be transmitted into my mind, just with the written word.  The total immersion of a good story is a joy I could never give up, and it's something that has really defined who I am.  I love to read.

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