Reading is the absolute best.
I was reading some blogs yesterday, and I felt very inspired by Breeny at Breeny’s Books. She wrote a great piece about why she writes (check it out here and let her know what you think!). I already wrote about writing this week, so I thought I’d do some reflection on why I love reading so much.
I could read all day erry day.
That’s not even an exaggeration (okay. maybe a little bit. I do have to do adultish, responsible things).
So – why do I spend literal hours of my life reading?
Reading is a constructive form of stress relief.
Our world is so crazy. Maybe it’s been like that for generations. I feel like in our drive to make things more efficient, we’ve just made it possible to shove more activities into our already hectic schedules.
Some people thrive in that busyness. Some seasons force us to be busier than others – that’s how life works. But reading often gives me solace from a noisy, hectic world. Immersing myself in a story forces me to sit still, to be quiet, and to relax; it helps me take my thoughts away from the stress of my to-do list and lets me just be.
It’s nice to get lost in a book once in awhile.
This sort of goes along with stress relief, but isn’t it nice to leave our world behind and be totally immersed in another?
Reading takes me from the political nonsense, the annoying Facebook notifications, and the reality show gossip I encounter every day. It places me in a world where evil rulers are overthrown by those who are honest and just, where unlikely heroes beat all odds, and where friendships are formed through adventure.
I’m able to visit unimaginable places for about $10 (or free if you use the library – I’m just obsessed with buying books . . . and hoarding them.)
As far as I know, we don’t have the ability to time travel *looks at government suspiciously* but have you ever read historical fiction?! Oh, my lands – it’s like being there!
Want to visit the Civil War Era? Gone with the Wind
Want to go camping on the Mississippi? The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Want to learn about the effects of Protestant and Catholic beliefs on Ireland? The Rebels of Ireland
Reading give me the power to literally travel anywhere I want. I’ve been to Jane Austen’s England. I’ve received a tour of war-torn Germany from Death. I’ve watched Joan of Arc’s tragic trial and murder.
I have yet to find anything that gives me this same feeling.
Reading shows me new perspectives.
While reading allows me to travel, it doesn’t just show me the climate and environment, it also shows me the culture. Through books, we see society’s struggles from a different point of view than our own. We see people through the words of their contemporaries, not researchers writing for textbooks years later.
Because of Harper Lee, I have a better understanding of the brutality of racism and poverty. Lopez Lomong helped me feel his fear living as a refugee from Sudan, but also his pride as he carried the American flag in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.
I can do the impossible.
Think of your favorite character.
Who is it? Why is he/she your favorite?
My guess is you’ve chosen that person as your favorite character because you see parts of yourself in him/her.
Your favorite character probably has the same strengths you do. And similar demons. So when they do something amazing, it feels like you are doing it. When they hurt, you feel their pain.
I think we admire some characters because they are who we wish we could be. They fight dragons and save countries – we drop coffee on our white shirts and step in dog crap. They stand up for injustices in ways that cause radical changes – we give $1 to homeless pets when we check out at PetSmart.
None of the things we do are bad! We have to make those small choices to do good, no matter how insignificant it seems.
But isn’t it refreshing to live vicariously through a heroine who will go on adventures you never could?
I think so.
There’s always something more to learn.
I heard somewhere that the moment you stop learning is the moment you should retire.
We’re never going to know it all. We just won’t. So I read. I read to learn about things I don’t understand (that’s why I own a copy of the Quran and the Book of Mormon). I read to gain a deeper understanding of things I already know. Why else would I need books like How to Read a Book and Reading Like a Professor?
I will never reach the point where I know it all. And I hope I never feel like I do.
Books give hope.
Not all books have a happy ending. Some endings are tragic and full of heartbreak. Some endings don’t have enough closure, or they don’t answer all our questions. But some do. Sometimes the good guy does get the girl. Sometimes the girl saves herself. But regardless of the ending, books show what the world could be – for better or for worse.
Brandon Sanderson showed me what could happen if people sacrificed for the greater good.
Henry James showed me how manipulative people can be for money.
Sarah J. Maas taught me that the world could be saved and remade by the dreamers.
I’ll never run out of reading material.
This is the best. There will never not be thing things to read!!
Think about it – we have the world at our fingertips. We can learn anything we want by reading a couple research articles or blog posts. We can share information at a faster rate than any time in history!
And with that comes more and more reading material. Authors are able to publish books independently through ebook formats. Anyone can create a blog to unleash their creativity.
We’ve all heard the saying that all good things come to an end. But books – books are always there. Waiting to be picked up and read.
Plus – there’s always the library.