There are many reasons why I read. I read because I adore books and the tales they hold. I love the written word and the way those words are arranged to tell a story. I read to learn and to expand my knowledge about the world and objects around me. I read for enjoyment and to pass the time. I love the places books take you and the characters you meet along the way.
In books, I can travel to places I’ve never been. I can journey to another state, another country, another planet, another time, or another dimension without leaving my room. If I want to visit London I pick up a book and suddenly I am immersed in a land of tea and scones, sitting by a fountain in Trafalgar Square. I open a science fiction book and become a demon hunter, flying through the air, fighting with grace and skill. When I grow weary of living in the 21st century, I crack a book and find myself plunged into the artistry of the Renaissance Period.
Books let me meet new people in the form of characters. After I spend hours with a character, reading their innermost thoughts and tagging along on their adventures, I feel that I really know that character. I know their story and I wonder what happened in their life before the book began and what happens in their life after the book ends. I know them so well that these characters become, in a sense, my friends and it is this friendship that keeps me invested in the story. I care for these characters that are my friends. I cry when they are depressed and laugh when they are happy, and when it’s all over in the end, I am sad to leave my friends on the last page of the book.
Not only can I meet new individuals, but books allow me to become other people and to try out other people’s lives and jobs. I’ve been a wizard, a mortician, a psychic, an angel, and a vampire. I’ve been a schemer, a betrayer, a know-it-all, a hero, and a villain. I’ve solved murders and mysteries all within the confines of my apartment just as I’ve climbed some of the world’s tallest mountains without worrying about the elevation or frostbite.
Books allow me to do all those things and go to all those places. But there is also a sense of voyeurism in reading and in knowing what other people are thinking. Reading is the closest you can get to reading someone’s mind and knowing what someone is thinking. Reading is like people watching, which I love to do, only if you like the people you are watching you can return to them over and over again and not worry about being labeled a stalker. Because really, all you are doing is visiting your friends and checking in with them to see how they are.
That is why I read.