Ramble: Why Reading?

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much of anything except book reviews lately. I self-imposed the decision to review at least 50 books this year, and the workload this resulted in (somehow) caught me by surprise. In more exciting news, I’ve been doing boring business stuff so I can get paid for my writing without accidentally defrauding the tax office! Yay! I love not getting arrested!

I also got approved to read a book from a series I enjoy very much via Netgalley, and I’ve been reading that and procrastinating non-review posts for the blog, so I apologise. Now, on to the post!

Today’s post was inspired by a Valentine’s Day writing competition run by the Australian Writer’s Centre (I’ve mentioned them before). They asked interested writers to share the story of how they fell in love with writing. I didn’t enter, because I hadn’t ever put much thought into what made me choose this path, and what keeps me so determined to pursue writing as a career. Thinking about writing, however, got me thinking about reading, and so evolved this rambling peak into my subconscious. Enjoy!

From the time I learnt to read, I loved it. I loved the chance to learn small, seemingly authentic bits of information while being entertained. Greek mythology was one of the first topics I was fascinated with as a child, because the moral lessons, historical details, and hints of a foreign land and alien political situation delivered in the form of a brief, entertaining story was incredibly interesting to me. No dry facts and unnecessary dates to memorise, just a snapshot of a moment and a life that I had never experienced before. It’s entertaining in a way that reality just can’t match. When it comes to my taste in reading, nothing has changed.

I’d say anyone who loves crime procedural tv shows understands the appeal—you passively learn the stages of decomposition, statistics about serial killers, or the solve rates of kidnappings as affected by various factors. Sure, it’s not really relevant in your day to day life (I hope)…

crime-scene-30112_640.png

I don’t know your life

…but that’s most of the appeal. It’s a chance to learn something entirely outside your realm of experience, while also being inspired. You read about or watch flawed people doing great things, overcoming huge obstacles and you feel more capable of slaying whatever far less literal dragon you encounter. The hero wins, the price is paid, justice is restored. Sure, sometimes the price paid is pretty steep, but that more realistic turn of events is more comforting than fairy tale endings as an adult. It tells you that there’s meaning to your pain, to your struggle. It tells you not to give up.

Reading is about being entertained while you look for comfort or inspiration. The sense of belonging when you recognise yourself or your worldview in the characters or worlds an author creates is a powerful one, that I’m sure all readers and writers understand. This may not have been the love story the challenge was meant to inspire, but it’s the reason I love reading so much. Maybe you’re the same? Let me know in the comments why you love reading.

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