Why do we read?

As a writer I ponder that question often. Why do we read? I read because books are my life, the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer. I read to learn. Unfortunately that all too often is a two edged knife, I read books to learn how to write and then spend far too much time worrying that I’ll never be able to write as well as other writers.

I can’t write like anyone else because I haven’t lived their lives as they haven’t lived mine. I have to write my own stories but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. Which brings me back to why do we read?

I read because I love books. Unlike many readers I seldom remember what I’ve read. I can give you a brief summary of the book years after I’ve read it but I couldn’t tell you the name of the book or the author minutes after I’ve finished reading it. I don’t know if that is because of all the unwritten books I still have living in my brain or if it’s just me. I keep a journal of the books I’ve read, as soon as I finish reading a book I write down the title and author so if I pick it up years later and it sounds familiar I can go back and check.

Yet, I can start a book, lay it down and pick it up years later and start reading right where I left off without any problems. I’ve been trying to read “War and Peace” for the last 20 or more years. Even loaded it onto my kindle and started reading where my book mark is in the book on my shelf.  I know it’s weird but it’s the way I am.

Why do we read? I read mainly for pleasure. I love just about all genre’s of books and seldom read two of the same kind in a row. I like to switch up my reading. I also find that I seldom like books that are on the best seller lists. I don’t know why but I usually can’t get past the first chapter in a book that is highly publicized. It isn’t that they aren’t good books, I’m sure millions of people aren’t wrong. I’ve just never gotten into that peer pressure thing.

Years and years ago when I was a teenager my Mom would take me shopping for clothes, she would try to get me to wear whatever by saying, “Don’t you want these, all your friends are wearing these.” At which point I would usually say, “That”s why I don’t wear them. I don’t want to be like everyone else.”

I might be extremely shy and a loner but I am definitely  myself, I don’t want to dress like everyone else or read what everyone else is reading. I like being somewhat unique. The one really great thing about kindles is that you can find a lot of new authors or authors who would not be published the old way. Many of them are really good books, some even great. I still have over 5000 books, all hardbacks. I’m a book snob. I only read paperbacks when I can’t find a title in hardback. Most of my books are old, from the 50’s and beyond.  I love the feel, smell and content of older books.  My old books are my relaxation, security, and sometimes my escape world. All I need to be totally, completely happy is a good book, my dog and a warm blanket and I am set for life.

Why do you read?


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