Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why do you read?

           Why do you read books?

           Some people read to learn. Generally, when I think of these people I think of people who read nonfiction. Textbook stuff. You know, like blogs about the different types of alpaca fur (because there's a crying need for it).

          Then some people read to relax. They get called escapists. They read to get away from the stress of reality (*enter* the stress of the imaginary).

           Usually, readers are thought to fall into these two categories. I could fall into the latter.

           But do you really want to know why I read?

1. The imagination. You have to admire the word building. The concepts. Where do people come up with this stuff?!

2. The amazing characters. Sure, there's always real life people, but we introverts like to keep our distance. We like people well enough in theory, but only a few up close. And even then, we do people one at a time. How do we cope with the masses? We do books instead (people who read in public, yes?).

the masses: noun  two or more living beings (if there's a dog in the room, yes, it counts too)
                                               -from The Introvert's Dictionary of Slightly Exaggerated Definitions

3. The adventure! Yes, this is purely an escapist's point. But seriously. There are so many things you can do in books that you can't do in real life. Ride a dragon? No, problem. Become a telepath? Right up book alley.

      a. It doesn't even have to be the fantastical though. Right now, say I want to visit London, England. I live in America. But I don't have my own private jet. So what do I do? Pick up a book.

      b. In which point 3 is no longer the escapist answer. What if I wanted know what it's like to live in London, England? How they speak? How they dress? What's for dinner? Do they as a culture have different values than my culture? Believe it or not, you could learn all of those things from a well-written novel.

4. To learn. So what else can we learn from fiction?

           a. Have you ever wondered what someone else was thinking? I do. All the time. Have you ever had the audacity to walk up to a random person and actually ask? Uh, no. (I applaud to you more adventurous and extroverted people). Novels can transport you into the mind of someone else. The mindsets of the characters (to be obvious:their character) have similarities with real people. That's why fiction is called the believable lie. It has just enough truth.

        b. This spins off from a. Through books you can learn about people who think differently than you. You learn how to understand real people who are coming from different situations or mindsets than yourself. You learn how to empathize.

       c. You learn about concepts and lessons also. Usually, if done well, these are the more subtle parts in a novel. So we won't expound. (why do I keep saying we like there's more of me?)

           So why do you enjoy reading? What's your favorite flavor books?