WHY DO YOU READ?
There are an infinite variety of vices and desires available for coveting in the world by an infinite variety of people. Today’s chosen affliction is: reading. I was going to go with tickling koala bottoms with feather dusters, but decided that might be just a wee-bit too much personal sharing.
So, reading it is.
When I say “reading”, of course, I don’t mean simply sounding out words and forming sentences and taking in information via written communication because you have to. Like taking your medicine. Or watching local TV news.
I mean pleasure reading – taking some of one’s own free time and spending it doing something a lot of other people only do strictly out of necessity. Books, comics, whatever tickles your fancy.
Is such reading a vice or a desire? Don’t know. But a lot of us do it for hours and hours a day, loving it, while others stare at us like we’re committing some sort of heinous act with gardening tools.
So why are some people pleasure readers and others you couldn’t make sit still in a chair with a book if you staple-gunned them to it? Don’t those people want to step out of their own daily drudgery for a while? Learn something new – about themselves or others? Experience a world different from theirs? Just plain have fun?
The answer, of course, is that most of these “non-readers” do all these things in other ways – watching movies, sports, interacting with other humans, whatever. My wife is an occasional pleasure reader; she’ll pick up a book once in a while, devour it, then she’s done for who knows how long. I, on the other hand, rarely go anywhere without two or three pleasure books within reach.
What makes us different? What it is that makes readers derive their pleasure from books when others get it somewhere else?
Damned if I know.
For me, being a writer too, I enjoy books because I appreciate the craft of authoring and publishing a book. I like to read a story not just for the entertainment, but for the professional curiosity of seeing how the author put the story together. I get that from movies too, but for some reason not in quite the same way. Maybe because a movie is a visual and auditory representation of someone else’s interpretation of a text (the script), but a book lets me interpret the words on the page however I want.
The test of a good book for me is not so much did the author give me a perfectly formed world on a silver platter, but rather, did the author give me the rules of the playground and then let me go play.
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Why do people like to read? If you’re looking up blogs like this one on the Internet, I have to assume you crave the written word. So tell me why. WHY?????