Monday, 30 March 2015

What's your excuse?

Not that you need an excuse to read. I wouldn't call them excuses anyway, I'd call them reasons, and, in my book, any reason to read is a good reason. (This from For Reading Addicts:)

I have several reasons (which must explain why I read so much, right?):

Learning. I know it's hard to believe and never really shows, but I do read to learn about things. As it happens, these tend to be somewhat obscure things and topics that have little or no relevance in everyday life. Besides, as nice as it is to learn about (useless) stuff, I'm also very good at forgetting all about it. Even so, I'm curious about a lot of things, and often despair because I can't possibly read about every interesting topic!

Passing time. A long flight. Those endless, agonising minutes as you sit in a dentist's waiting room... how to pass that time? Here's an idea: grab a book! I hate those long flights, but being immersed in an adventure can actually make it... well, not a pleasant experience, but as close as it gets. And even with my dentist phobia, I've managed to sit in the waiting room and be pulled so deep into a story that I forgot where I was!

Entertainment. All right, I'll admit it... this is what I often look for in a book: entertain me!

Experiences. Very much intertwined and sometimes inseparable from the previous point. I want experiences I might never have otherwise. I want adventure! I want to see new places! I want to travel to the past, or to the future! And – although this is something I do get in my normal life anyway – most of all I want to feel things. I want to laugh, cry, fear, cheer... I want emotional involvement (this, more than anything else, is what gives me that “hooked” feeling with a book).

Escape. There. I said it. I've been told that my reading addiction is nothing but a form of escapism. I've been told that there must be something seriously wrong with me, or with my life, if I want to spend so much time in fictional worlds. (Edit: My DH asks it to be noted that these words never came out of his mouth - of course not, he's as voracious a reader as I am.) I have always explained that, first, I'm perfectly happy with my life and myself (neither needs “fixing”, thank you very much) and, second, reading isn't an escape, it's a way to enrich my life. You know, life is good, but life with books is even better! However, there are times when books do indeed provide an escape. They help me forget the everyday hassle. When I'm stressed or depressed they take me away and help me forget my worries. I know they're not a solution. But anything that helps you cope and keeps you sane and stops you from eyeing your sword in the wrong way must be a good thing.

So, for me, it all boils down to greed. We only have one life to live (assumably; let's not start a religious debate) and that puts some serious limitations to how much you can do and experience. Books change everything. And so it all pretty much amounts to this popular quote (image from Little Book Things):

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