Why do I read? That sounds like a simple enough question to answer, especially for those of us who also blog about books, right? Lately it seems like this question has been cropping up with some frequency, or at least my response of "Caught up on some reading" in reply to what I did over the weekend or what I do in my spare time has been garnering some slightly quizzical looks. So I gave some thought to why I prefer staying home on a Friday night with a good novel over . . . pretty much anything else, and here's what I've come up with.
For me, reading has always been about escapism. It's a break, and often a much needed one, from real life. I can literally lose myself in the pages of a book for hours, and it's an immersive experience that I've never been able to duplicate by watching TV or a movie, no matter how much I love whatever's on. Maybe it's because with books, your imagination takes over to shape the written words into scenes in your mind's eye, whereas TV and movies supply the visuals for you. My mom read often to me when I was little, so I got off to an early start picturing fictional characters and places in my head.
I think the reason why I love paranormal and fantasy so much is because both genres explore worlds that are different from our own. They're a mini-vacation from the everyday grind, and I think that we've all at one time or another discovered a fictional world that we didn't want to leave. Taking a breather from things that are weighing on my mind by visiting a place that's far removed from them definitely helps me to recharge my batteries. I struggle a lot with keeping my stress levels manageable, and I can't imagine where they would be without the calming effect that reading has on me.
Reading is usually a solitary activity for me, and I have to admit that I embrace that aspect of it. While I also very much enjoy its social side—blogging being the obvious one—I also like my quiet time alone with a book in hand. I've always been an introvert, and although I feel that I've made significant progress, particularly in the last few years, in stepping outside of my social comfort zone, I'm never going to be the person who effortlessly strikes up conversations with strangers in the supermarket checkout line. That's just not me. In fact, I need my daily alone time, and more often than not, it's spent in the company of a book. Now, I know that readers come in all personality types, and I'm in no way trying to generalize here. What I am saying is this: if you happen to be an introvert who loves reading, too, I get you. Completely.
And that's the long answer to why I read. I'm not sure if it makes sense to anyone but me, lol. As always with these types of posts, I'd love to hear your thoughts—why do YOU read?