Now that I’ve been at this for a month, I’ve decided to take some time to reflect. In my last post, I briefly discussed my motivation for starting and continuing the blog. However, I now want to broaden my perspective and reflect on why, in general, I love to read. Many reasons come to mind, but I have narrowed them down to four. I’ll tackle the first today, and then I plan to write about each of the remaining three motivations weekly until the end of April.
Why do I read? When I asked myself this question, the first answer that came to mind was the simplest and, probably, most boring. I read to learn. I’ve been in school for most of my life. (In case you’re interested, I have earned two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, and I attempted two doctorate degrees). So, reading has been an essential skill that I’ve honed over the years. It has allowed me to gain a great deal of knowledge about many different subjects (a small fraction of which has actually been retained in long-term memory 😉). I read to gain knowledge to use in my career as a therapist, as well, which allows me to learn things that are useful to pass on to my clients. In addition to what is needed for school or work, I read a variety of nonfiction books just for the joy of gaining information. I particularly enjoy reading about Greek, Roman, and European history. Overall, I just take pleasure in the act of gaining information because I think it enriches my mind and makes me a better, well-rounded individual.
How does this relate to my love for science fiction, fantasy, and the other fiction genres I often review? At first glance, it may seem like it doesn’t. However, I think reading fiction of any sort helps me learn about people. The characters in fictional works often reflect aspects of the author’s personality or the characteristics of people they know. Reading different characters from diverse authors has helped me improve my perspective-taking abilities and build deeper empathy. Additionally, there is a reason that tropes are tropes. They re-occur often in literature because many people experience similar situations in their lives and can relate to them. So, reading about them from different viewpoints helps me to better understand how people may deal with certain situations or themes in their own lives.
Overall, I just enjoy learning new information. Reading has been an excellent avenue for gobbling up as much information as possible and learning more about human nature. Do you read to learn new things? What motivates you to read? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!