Random Thoughts and Bookish Ponderings: Why do I read?


I thought I’d start writing about some of my random bookish musings, hope you enjoy:

I’m always wondering why we humans are so attracted to storytelling.

Why do we tell stories? Why do we take the time out of our own lives to invest in lives of others, fictional or otherwise? Is it a natural curiosity or an escape? Is it humanity’s propensity to empathize and seek connection? To live a thousand lives in one lifetime? Perhaps the answer is a summation of all these things.

Today, we have so many mediums for telling stories, whether it be movies, music, podcasts, theatre, spoken-word poetry, or, of course, books.

So then it begs to question: why are books (rather than podcasts, movies, etc.) my favourite medium for consuming stories? To provide some context for my answer to this question, I’ll take you back to my childhood. To be frank, I was a really weird kid. But I had an explosive imagination.

When I was a kid, our games were stories about dragons, wild cats, wolves, and yes, even Pokémon sometimes. Our playgrounds were trampolines, basements, the closet in my parents’ bedroom, or the forest across the street. Our games would have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There was always a protagonist (usually one of my friends), and a large cast of secondary characters (almost all of them played by yours truly), each with their own histories, quirks, and motivations.

I was playwright, director and actor all rolled into one. I was the boss, a dictator of sorts (my childhood playmates can attest to that – they still tease me about it to this day). All I needed was time, space, some company, and I would whisk my friends and I away for hours to snowy mountain tops, faraway towns, and fantastical countries in the midst of war and chaos. We drew maps, fought with foam swords, made delicious mud quiches, and built beautiful homes made of sticks and cardboard. I would often shout “PAUSE” when a wonderfully creative idea came to me. I would share it with my friends, often coaching whoever played our hero on how to advance our story once we resumed.

My mind was a hungry thing back then, and it didn’t need much inspiration to get going. Now, although my imagination is not as spry as it used to be, reading a book allows me to exercise that part of me that yearns for creativity. Reading a book is a lot like creating your own story as well. You determine what the world looks like. An author might describe a character as having red hair and green eyes, but you, as the reader, get to decide the intricacies of that physical appearance.

And no two people ever read the same story. Interpretations vary, which only makes sharing our individual reading experiences that much more wonderful!

I’ll end my thought-spewing here. If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. If anyone’s still out there, let me know why you enjoy reading.

Toodles my nerds,

Rebecca xx

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