Friday, September 08, 2006

Why Do You Read?

I do not remember the trigger that turned me on to reading. I do not remember where my love for reading began. There is no one book that stands out from my childhood as having been the turning point for me. I often joke that my love for reading and books is genetic. My father's passion for reading and his book collections I am sure played a part in it. My mother is a reader also. I grew up in a household where reading was encouraged and nurtured. So, is it really any wonder why I enjoy reading today?

I once had a pen pal who argued against reading fiction, believing that there was no value in it. She obviously did not subscribe to the belief that "fiction reveals truth that reality obscures" as Jessamyn West once said--a quote I believe to be true. It's a shame because I think she misses out in the end.

For me, reading is much more than just an escape. I read to learn and to broaden my views and outlook in ways that I am unable to do in my own life. I have met, journeyed with, and shared experiences with characters I would probably never have met outside of books. Reading strengthens empathy and helps maintain an open mind, offering up different perspectives to any given situation. My love for mysteries has certainly helped hone my skills required for my job. On a much more personal level, reading has offered me an outlet for my emotions, which I tend to keep close to my vest both for professional and personal reasons. A fellow booklover said she enjoyed reading because it was good therapy. I had not really thought of it that way, but I suppose there is a lot of truth in that for me too.

Why do you read?

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