Subjectivity in Reading: Why Do You Read?

Hiya Storytellers and happy Wednesday!

This year has been a slow and beautiful adventure for me as I explored different avenues of just how subjective reading is. Earlier this year I curated a post that highlighted just how much books change lives. What inspired this adventure was in that very post, so many of you storytellers showed different takes and loves about the same books–each bringing forth an element that touched you in ways that it didn’t touch the other.

I’ve grown so much these months as I took this journey of really diving in to the essence of subjectivity in reading and I thought it would a great idea to share what I’ve learned with you lovelies in a new min- series/installment on the blog.
So here we are.

Before we dive in to the discussions and the socio-analysis of it all, I wanted to start this series by asking a simple question: Why do you read? This question is not only the basis of this series, but its also the very foundation that some of us have built ourselves upon. Because of this, we must acknowledge and reflect on that very foundation–
Why do we read?

Curiosity was my best friend this year, and so I went out and asked everyone I knew that shared the love of reading to write in and let me know why do they read. The results were amazing. I absolutely loved and learned from everyone’s answers. Thank you to everyone who chimed in and allowed me to question them!
“Because I draw inspiration and learn from it. It gives me a lot of happiness and a quiet connection I do not find in the presence of others.” – Ahana Rao

Entertainment, escapism, empathy, exploration, and the experience. Reading allows you to see through another’s eyes. Not only the characters, but also the authors. The effort and work it takes to write a novel takes true determination and it’s not something to take for granted. Books are made to be read and putting the words from the page to you mind is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give or receive.” – Scott

“Enjoyment. Escape. Education.” – Gennaro

“Ok so originally when I was a smol book dragon, I enjoyed reading to escape reality, find friends within characters and generally it was a way my parents kept my occupied. I’ve always been a reader, ever since I was born pretty much, either being read to or reading myself. However the reasons why I love reading, have evolved as I’ve grown up.
Originally it was to escape, to get lost in a life that wasn’t mine, to fall in love with characters and worlds you can only dream of. Gradually as I hit 13 or so it wasn’t just to escape, it was my way of dealing and processing my emotions. Books soothe me in a way nothing else can, they allowed me the bliss to forget whatever was going on in my life at the time, I also learned a lot about who I was through books.
Bringing us more or less, to present day. Now I read for the reasons mentioned above AS WELL AS to learn about others. Reading is also a way for me to get a glimpse into how life can be like for minorities, the representation given does in no way define the whole minority group. It’s but a glimpse of what it’s like for some people within the minority. The more glimpses you get though, the more you’re able to understand and try to see things from there perspective.
Reading for me isn’t just about the escapism or forgetting my day to day problems…it’s about finding yourself, your voice, feeling like you are heard. I want to hear everyone’s voices, I want to try and see through their eyes and if I lose myself to a gorgeous new fantasy world in the process that’s a bonus.” – Clo

“Mostly because it makes me feel. It makes me feel good, bad, sad, excited, happy, tense, worried, hopeful, angry, uplifted– it runs me through a gamut of emotions and the experience is unlike anything else. Also to escape. Reading is the best retreat from real life that I know of. An instant vacation for however long you wish.” – Diana
“For many reasons: to escape the stresses of the real world, to explore the world from my reading chair, to learn about the world around me, to make me think and philosophize, and to stretch my imagination by going on adventures in magical worlds.” – Kal

“Reading allows me to contemplate myself and the world from different perspectives. By reading, I place myself in new situations and reflect on how I would react or feel. With each new book, I’m able to form new viewpoints and opinions. I particularly love reading fiction and believe that exploring the human condition and societal norms through fiction allow the realization of truths we are otherwise blind to. Very often, fiction addresses topics which are difficult to discuss and we prefer to avoid, such as death, fear, survival, loneliness, or oppression. Encountering these topics through fiction is a much safer option and allows us to have experiences we may otherwise never have. I sometimes find explanations to questions or feelings I didn’t know I had by reading. Or, become better prepared to handle future events I never expected. The more I read and better understand myself, the more insightful, less stressed, and happier I become.” – Kevin Carrington

“I use it to escape from the real world. It also really calms my anxiety down when I’m lacie-slezak-yHG6llFLjS0-unsplashreally enjoying a book.” – Cora (Galactic Reader)
“When I started to read it was to isolate myself more. I didn’t like to be around other people and books always seemed more interesting. Of course it was also because I was just really bored and needed something to entertain me. Later on I loved reading about different worlds, dreaming myself into the stories, escaping from normal life and diving into new worlds. I loved pretending I was the main character. But there’s one reason I love reading. While I started reading to avoid people, I yearned for people that thought like me. People that loved books as much as I did. I’ve met some amazing people through books and I would never trade that for anything else. Reading is the best hobby I could’ve had.” – Michelle

“I read for joy and I read to keep my brain stimulated. My main reason for reading is definitely the thrill and joy of it. There is nothing better than the “kick” you get from reading great book. A great book can make you feel so many different things and that is amazing. I also read to “educate” myself. I read to understand people better. Firstly myself but also people who are different than me. Lastly I read because of the “scientific” benefits of it. This is a minor reason but together with the other reasons is is what helps me through a though book and reading slumps.” – Nicoline
“I enjoy it! It is a way for me to escape to other worlds and experience things I may not or can not do. It also helps broaden my views of peoples life experiences that I personally would not be able to have otherwise.” – Meg Of Tome Infinity
“I read because it’s fun, I read because for a few hours I get to forget about my problems and about the stuff that I can’t fix even though I want to. I read because these stories teach me things about life in general, about people, things that school never taught me. I read because in some way books make my life richer.” – Ruby
1And why do I read? It’s a question I’ve thought a lot about this year and I think at this point in my life I read because it’s the only thing that makes me feel normal. Life has a beautiful way of painting the picture of our life with quick strokes, dashes, and hard jabs. Sometimes our lives begin with paint already smeared on it or some distress in the corners of our canvas. I read because when I open those books and enter those stories–those pre-made jabs and strokes no longer exist. I can be who ever I want to be and take on whatever color of paint I want to try. There is no judgement as I take up life’s paint brush, and I make my own strokes; and depending on the story–life keeps some of the strokes I make.

How about you? Why do you read?


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  1. lisasbooksgemsandtarot

    August 28, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    The first book that got me into reading was Harry Potter. I had never been pulled into a story before where I felt like I was in the story. Ever since then, I have searched for books that pull me in and make you forget reality. I Iove that feeling 😀

  2. readingbystarlightblog

    August 29, 2019 at 2:21 am

    This is such a powerful post, Sam – thank you so much for sharing it! You are absolutely right, reading is such a subjective experience, as with any art.
    For me personally, reading helped me escape and find magic. I was always an odd child. I believed in magic with my entire being. I saw fairies and elves in the woods that bordered my farm and looked for mermaids in the creek. I believed in the magic faraway tree, I believed in little white horses on the moor, I believed in Narnia and I believed in Wonderland. When I didn’t find a magical world in those woods , I sort them in books instead. A little while later I started creating my own fantasy realms.
    As I grew up, reading allowed me to discover myself and my own voice. I like to think that the books we read and the characters we meet shape us into the person we are. They always follow and never really leave us.That and the fact that reading opens our mind to a world of possibilities.

  3. Clo @ Book Dragons

    August 29, 2019 at 4:39 am

    Eeeek this post is beautiful, thank you so much for doing it and I loved reading everyone’s responses. I also loved the comparison you made about how sometimes we start off with paint smeared on our canvas or distress, it’s so true. Kinda feel like I wrote a wee bit too much now haha. I think what I love most about readers, is we all read for different reasons, we all have different problems etc we want to escape from. Books help us all and unite us all at the same time allowing us to find friends who enjoy the things we do, who understand our quirks and I think that is a wonderful outcome considering when everyone first picked up a book they never imagined they’d find friends through the books they read.

  4. Darina

    August 29, 2019 at 11:28 am

    What a brilliant post! I loved reading all these thoughts and can relate to so many of them. I completely agree with you about being able to read what you want without feeling judged and ultimately I think it’s also my main reason to read, along with my desire to find out as much as possible about the world around us.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      September 10, 2019 at 9:04 am

      Thank you! And I agree! Reading is truly its own kind of magic <3

  5. Michelle

    August 30, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Well, you know why I read since it’s in this post. I love how everyone has a different story and different reasons, but there’s also a similarity. Thank you so much for writing this Sam, it proves again and again that a reader is never alone.

  6. TheCaffeinatedReader

    August 30, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Because I can’t ever decide on anything on Netflix.
    […Mostly jk]
    I loved reading everyone’s answers in the post and in the comments as well <3

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      September 10, 2019 at 9:03 am

      LMAO this is a moooooddddd

  7. Alana from Dream Come Review

    August 30, 2019 at 7:20 am

    This was such a delight to read, Sam! It is reassuring to see glimpses of my own response in so many other readers from different backgrounds. Ultimately, reading has served as an escapism for me but it has also helped me find a way to feel comfortable in my own skin. It can be a thought-provoking experience regardless of the genre I’m currently delving into – lookin’ at you raunchy romances – encouraging an exploration of opinions I didn’t know I had.

  8. Jamsu

    August 30, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Reading is one of the things I can actually focus on. I love reading because it’s fun and it’s nice to forget my real life for a little while and read about fantasy worlds or amazing romances I’ll probably never have.

  9. Meeghan reads

    August 30, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Sam, this is so beautiful!! I read for many of the above reasons. Enjoyment, escape, education. But also to build my empathy – you know the saying “to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”, well you can actually do that to a certain degree by reading someone else’s story. I also ready to flex my imagination – you should always stretch your muscles, and there’s no better way to stretch the brain than my imagining all the fantastical worlds and people and emotions, and introducing new thought patterns and ideas. TV is something nice to occupy your time, but they do all the work for you. Reading is fulfilling and you will grow at the same time as doing it. Reading also invokes discussion, gives you a passion, and ultimately the goal is to share something you love with others. I love recommending books that I have read, and I get no greater pleasure (outside of actually reading, and maybe eating chocolate) than when someone I’ve recommended a book to comes back and says “this was amazing!”

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  11. Kal @ Reader Voracious

    September 1, 2019 at 12:29 am

    And why do I read? Its a question I’ve thought a lot about this year and I think at this point in my life I read because its the only thing that makes me feel normal.

    This just made my heart swell with its truth bomb on my soul!
    Thanks so much for this post, I really enjoyed reading the reasons so many others read (and lol I forgot I participated in this).

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      September 10, 2019 at 8:54 am

      awe mah heart <3 Thank you for reading it and participating!

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