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 really 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
And 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?