The second thing that comes to mind when I reflect on my motivations and reasons for reading is my family. Both of my parents highlighted the importance of an education and being literate from a very young age. They constantly encouraged my love for books and helped me maintain access to new things to read. My mother often read to me as a child and frequently read for pleasure herself. So, she provided some modeling for this behavior ever since I was very young (My dad read too but only when he was on the toilet. lol).
In addition to my parents modeling reading behavior, I also had another very special person in my life who loved to read: my grandmother. She always had a book going and spent a great deal of time reading when I was younger. We obviously did not read the same things (I think she primarily read romance novels), but I enjoyed just spending time and reading with her. She read so much that her house was one of the bookmobile stops. I loved visiting on bookmobile day every couple weeks and getting to check out some new books from the library. It is safe to say that it is primarily because of her, and these bookmobile visits, that I built a routine schedule of reading into my life.
Without her love for reading, I probably would not be such an avid reader today. I continue to read because it is one of the things that reminds me of her and keeps her presence alive in my life. She would have been 99 years old today, and I am so grateful that the world was graced with her presence. I could not have asked for a more loving and kind person as my grandparent, and I attempt to emulate her love for life, family, and reading in my own life everyday. I miss her more than words could ever express, especially today, but knowing that I carry on her love for books and the written word helps me feel close to her.
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!
I can’t believe it, but it has already been one month since I started this blog! I started blogging because I was interested in recording my reading journey and my thoughts on books. I just wanted to have a place to process my thoughts and feelings about the things I read. I did not set out thinking anyone would actually read or care about what I think.
I am grateful to each person who took the time to look at one of my posts. I still can’t believe my stuff was viewed over 100 times last month. I’ve also gained 20+ followers on WordPress and over 220 followers on Twitter. Other than all the great books I’ve read, my favorite part of this experience so far has been interacting with people. This really is a great community of creative people, and I’ve loved getting to know some of you and your work.
Things are growing, and I’m continuing to learn more and more about how to be a better blogger. My focus is still on picking, reading, and documenting really great books, but I also plan to devote more time to growing my reader base and writing some work of my own, including bookish blog posts, poems, and short stories. This month I’ll be writing a series of blog posts exploring my motivations for reading. The first post will be out tomorrow. So, don’t miss it. Here’s to many more books and many more months!
Thanks for reading!