This morning I came across a Guardian article and I thought of the famous quote by George Martin:
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.
Each one of us has a different story to tell about our very own reading journey. When did you start yours? Why do you read? What is it that keeps you interested in books when there are so many other attractions & distractions around? Do novels still hold their own ground?
I'm curious... The comments at the end of the article (link below) are equally enlightening. I'm taking them as "feedback", a sample of what our readers expect from our writing. We mustn't disappoint them.
Note: To reply click on the title "WHY do you READ" so that your comment shows up under the post. I don't know why, but replies posted here on the home page don't seem to show. Or maybe it's just me...
Shame that Guardian article was so short. I was just getting in to it, when it stopped. I read for enjoyment but also to learn about other perspectives, cultures and times. I love reading something like Burnt Shawdows by Kamila Shamsie, seeing that she is looking at various important events from a totally different viewpoint and seeing how that changes (or doesn’t) my feelings about that event. That, I think, is my favourite thing about reading.
Of course I also read to be amused, and entertained but broadening my outlook is my major motivation. Odd then that I write crime!
Yes, the article is quite short but the comments at the end make up for that. While I'm reading each one of them I'm imagining these as the opinions of my potential readers. Would my novel fulfill their expectations?
I read fiction to escape, to get away from everyday life, to immerse myself in another world without any responsability for that world... Bliss! It's like a mini-break: you go away and forget about all the things you have to do for a brief period of time. When you come back your life is still there waiting for you and you feel better & stronger and able to deal with it.
Reading time is also a very private experience: I may be in a waiting room or in a bus stuck in traffic, a long flight... but I don't have to be there. I can go to my "private place" and have a more enjoyable experience.
When I open a book it's like saying to myself: this is my time and I'm not available. I'm not even here!
Thank you for pointing out the article. It really made my night, reading it right now. Yes, short, but it got my heart pacing. I absolutely adore The tenant of Wildfell Hall. We read it at school in Germany and I remember trying to translate it into German, line by line, hoping to share my enthusiasm with my mum. 15 years later, at the age that Anne Brontë died (29), I moved to Scarborough. Another moment in the article that made my heart jump, reading the name of this beautiful place. And that is why I read: to feel deeper, to share impressions and emotions. A book can resonate with me like a favorite piece of music, determining my mood for days, changing my outlook on the world, adding facets to life.
There are three things I simply "inhale" - tea, jam (always homemade) and books of course! I remember reading Hugo's Les Miserables during my student days (well - nights, rather!) and cycling to uni after a night's reading. I still treasure the beautifully illustrated copy of Anne of Green Gables my American friend's mum bought me at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York when I was 19. And yes, I love quoting Anne ;-) Just the one then -
"Isn't it wonderful when your imaginations come true?"
I always have my well-thumbed copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice near me, if I happen to have nothing else to read, a couple of pages of this wonderful book will set me up forever - I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I could go on and on. I'm glad to even share my birthday with Jane Austen. I love books that take me away from the here and now - doesn't necessarily have to be Narnia. But I do love these, too ♡
There's something about quotes, I think it's the simplicity & wisdom of a few words encapsulating a universe... or a moment in a universe. Same with haiku poetry.
I often read quotes when I'm feeling uninspired and use them to recharge my batteries.
I confess I also adapt quotes to suit my writing, like this: I look for a dialogue where I can add a line starting with, for instance: Isn't it wonderful when... and see where it goes. Plagiarism? Uhmm... Maybe. Maybe not. What do you think?
Thanks for sharing the article. In answer to the question, I read for an almost out of body experience. I used to think that everyone experienced books in much the same way but I've spoken to a few who don't even see images when they read and instead just plod through a story. I am physically there. Even if the author doesn't elaborate on smells, tastes, sounds etc, I fill them in to the point that I struggle to find my way out for a good few days after reading a very good book. I had a bit of a crappy time growing up and dissociate a fair bit and I suppose reading (and writing) is a safe and healthy way to do this!!