Why Do You Read?

guilty_as_charged

A farm boy with a sword
#1
Alright, so I recently joined this forum and I was amazed to see how many people enjoy reading/writing. Everyone reads for a different reason and I'm interested to know what yours are. I posted on the introductions forum why I read, (other than for pure enjoyment) and wanted to see if anyone has similar experiences, so post away!

guilty_as_charged
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#2
I read for entertainment. I don't care if it is original, literary, or critically acclaimed. If it entertained me then I like the book, if I'm not then I don't like the book.
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#4
Pretty much just enjoyment.

As of the last couple of years, I've also added that I read to help keep this site going. I read because publishers send me books.

I read because I like to practise what I preach, and that reading is fun and enjoyable, important and a life skill (I'm a teacher).
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#5
That's cool, anything particular?

guilty_as_charged
I'm relatively new to the fantasy genre but everything I have read by Brandon Sanderson would fit that description. I have read 8 books by him and have enjoyed them all. He does a great job creating and describing a world without over describing or repeating himself very much.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#6
I read different books for different reasons.
Fantasy books, I read mainly for entertainment.
Sci-fi, I read for making me think and contemplate about things I wouldn't normally. I read it for expanding my horizons as well as for fun.
I read non-fiction for education and learning things.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#7
I read to lose myself in a gripping story for some time to forget about my own boring life in that time :)

Seriously, I do read for entertainment. And reading a good book for me has always been one of the best ways to pass time alone.

Best regards,
Andy
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#8
There are two main reasons to read: (1) to temporarily escape your own real-world problems; and (2) to learn something.

Fiction is escapism, as much so as TV or movies are. Granted, reading will usually help you increase your vocabulary, maybe give you insights on the topic the fiction is concerned with and, most of all, employ your own imagination, which is a greater thrill/addiction than any image created outside of your mind and then implanted in your head can be, such as from a visual medium. But no matter how much you could learn from fiction, it is, ultimately, an escape from your own problems in life, be they absolutely trivial or something major. Of course, it's damn entertaining, and therein lies the rub.

The second point can be subdivided further: (a) you can read something to learn about specific topics that concern you in your life - your job, academics, your specific interests or hobbies (be they history, art, the properties of a Bose-Einstein condensate, the manga industry, Batik fabric, whatever), etc. - and thereby increase your knowledge of the world; or (b) you can read material to help you give insights into your own nature (habits, emotional baggage, destructive patterns, etc.) so that you can find some measure of peace with yourself and those around you and, ultimately, come to accept death with equanimity. And I don't mean 'new-age' books, though I'm an optimist and I won't necessarily discount them...because who knows, you might come across that one 'new-age' book in a shit pile of 1,000 that actually helps you.

In order of importance: outside of reading material for your immediate needs such as academics/job, I'd say there should be a definite emphasis on self-development and self-awareness, which can come about through both non-fiction and fiction. Pure escapism is fun and sometimes even necessary, but it is an addiction that you should beware.

Ultimately, you can be the most knowledgeable person on Earth, achieve great and monumental feats, and still live an unhappy life, perhaps making those around you unhappy and miserable in the process, and die full of regrets, which is how the majority of people end up. It's good to constantly learn about the world, to accomplish things and improve the world, but if you can't live in harmony with those around you and die peacefully, then what's the point.

Unfortunately, I mostly read for (1) then (2a) and sometimes (2b).
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#9
@Boreas, I do not fully agree with you.

I definitely think that fiction can also teach you a lot. Maybe not factuals (though even that is possible), but possibly values and experience in areas that you have not encountered yourself.

Best regards,
Andy
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#10
Yep, you're right. Fiction can give you lots of insights into the human condition to help you understand yourself the world better. I was being too rigid.
 

Shorty

Philosophizes with Kellhus
#11
There are several reasons for me picking up a fantasy-book.

First of all, it is the explorer in me. Discovering new worlds, "getting to now" new people, seeing their developement and experiencing magic.
Some of those aspects I also enjoy in the real world, like discovering new places by travelling. Other aspects can't be experienced in the real world.
Especially that magic part, but it is something I've been a fan of, since I was a kid and not only in books - it doesn't matter if TV, Movie or RPG, it has to be fantastic.
I guess that's in some ways similar to Boreas number (1), but more of a discovering than an escaping.

Second of all, reading has a great relaxing effect on me. I hear often from people who say that reading is too exausting. After a hard day of work, they prefer watching TV, beacuse it's "easier" and you don't need that much of focus.
I have to disagree with them. For me, even on the hardest day I can calm down and relax by sitting in the garden or liying on the couch and reading. I've to admit that foreign language books are of course a litlle less relaxing, but they are great for the next reason.

The third reason for me is a personal developement effect. It's not so much the real lerning of vocabluaries or in case of foreign books, a new language - those are mere positive side-effects. It's more the "having-something-done-feeling" after you finsih a book. It was even greater before I started with ebooks, becuase I could see what I "accomplished" by watching my bookshelfs or even impress guests. Just kidding, I do not think that anyone is really impressed by how many books his host has read - but deep down I am always kinda proud about having my "trophies" standing visible for every one to see. I imagine myself having learned something from every boook that I've read, but nothing I can measure, or even expain how it points out...

Last but not least I simply enjoy those things:
The tension, the excitement and the fun that's part of every book.
The complexity of the tales and the deepness of the characters. So many I loved, so many i cried for, so many I hated.
Every epic battle.
Every crossreference.
Every unexpected plot twist, every goosebump moment, every revealing story, every tragic death.
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#12
I read to discover the hidden messages the sky people leave in in our minds.

That and to remind myself of the possibilities in life. I don't have too many heroes in the real world so I think sometimes I look to fantasy literature to give me the templates for what I would like to aspire to. It also reminds me that the cages we build for ourselves in life are no more or less real than these stories, meaning I can choose to live my life in a more liberating way.

...and fireballs. Clearly.
 

Mohammed Al Mulla

Owns a Ring of Power
#13
Well.. I used to read Sci Fic stories.. Well in Arabic languge.. And i was content.. Then moved to Fiction when reading The Swords of Night and Day.. And felt like stumbling over a lost treasure.. I read these novels because they transfer the reader to a world that no longer exists.. Where codes are cherished.. Where promises are sacred.. Where people do fight for their beliefs.. Not just 'to destroy the world' which i never understood in Sci Fic movies.. Where most villans aim is to destroy the universe or the world.. Or merely the planet.. I read Fiction becsuse people are appearing on battlefield, encouraged by their concepts and beliefs.. Not hiding cowardly behind laser guns or machine guns.. ^^ thats why i read fiction
 

Mohammed Al Mulla

Owns a Ring of Power
#14
Pretty much just enjoyment.

As of the last couple of years, I've also added that I read to help keep this site going. I read because publishers send me books.

I read because I like to practise what I preach, and that reading is fun and enjoyable, important and a life skill (I'm a teacher).
Wow Jon... Publishers send you books? That is awsome :) you must be some sort of a critic or support readers who give feedbacks ^^ if this is a Naruto episode.. You would be surely a shinobi ^^ master of all.. HAIL LORD JON
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#15
Wow Jon... Publishers send you books? That is awsome :) you must be some sort of a critic or support readers who give feedbacks ^^ if this is a Naruto episode.. You would be surely a shinobi ^^ master of all.. HAIL LORD JON
Well I do write reviews for this site ;)
 

dunebuggy

Knows the real name of Lower Corte
#17
I don't really have concrete reasons of why I read. Its fun of course,and really exciting just starting a new book but its what i've been doing since I had a library card,its just part of my life like eating I guess.Its a must