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Thread: Why do you read?
January 25th, 2005, 10:46 PM #1
Why do you read?
Not just genre stuff, but any fiction? What is it about fiction reading that draws you to do it, as opposed to watching TV, building something, taking a walk, or any of the other 101 things you might do with your discretionary time?
And while we're on the subject, how much time per week do you spend reading fiction?
January 26th, 2005, 11:16 AM #2
I guess I read because I'm addicted, frankly. Any time I have a spare moment, I read a page or two of whatever I have to hand. I always have a book with me. It'd be hard to count up the time I spend reading, probably on the order of 15-20 hours per week.
One thing I love about books, fiction & nonfiction both is that they anchor my thoughts. When I'm not reading, my brain tends to chase its tail round & round in circles, sometimes frustratingly. When I'm reading I can usually focus well enough that my brain settles down to just the one thing I'm doing. That's very relaxing. TV doesn't hold my attention that way at all.
I don't discriminate too much between reading fiction or reading nonfiction. I enjoy both and switch between them frequently, depending on my mood.
January 26th, 2005, 10:11 PM #3
Watching TV puts my brain in neutral. Reading, writing (and this forum) put my brain into overdrive. I've not only been reading a lot, I've also got a lot of audio books to pound through. So I'm booking about 10 hours a week during my commute with audio books. Makes the drive go by so much faster.
I've been drawn to fiction, particularly Fantasy, since I was a kid. I guess I was one of the few that made the leap from children's fantasy, to YA fantasy, to sci-fi and epic fantasy. It wasn't much of a stretch for me. I was reading during class while others were complaining they had to read.
January 27th, 2005, 09:09 AM #4
I'm a bit of a book junkie (even though most of it is non-fiction). I have bookcases overflowing all over the house. When I'm writing (which is most of the time these days), I find I'm not reading fiction - it's too distracting. I need to focus on my world and not play in somebody else's. Which is sad, because I love to read all of it! So when I'm between books I try to cram in as much reading as I can. When I finished Sabakushi last November I started Robin Hobb's Liveship series, and am almost done with the third book. Good thing too, as I've already started work on my next book and find myself torn between writing and wanting to use that time to read instead...
January 27th, 2005, 09:15 AM #5
It's just another form of entertainment and escape for me, and as I have a low attention span, I....
... Sorry, got distracted. Yea I read about 14-20 hours a week.
January 28th, 2005, 08:15 PM #6
That's a hard question to ask, Rad. It's kind of like asking, why do you breathe?
I think I read for all sorts of reasons, and what I read depends on what reason is paramount at any particular moment. Pleasure is at the top of the list, but what that means is pretty complex - I mean, I'd say I derived a lot pleasure from Kafka's Metamorphosis, when I read it when I was around 15, but it traumatised me so deeply I didn't touch Kafka again for another decade... I read to find things out (I read a lot of non fiction, especially history and criticism), to be intellectually stimulated, to be aesthetically challenged and excited, for fun, and sometimes good old escapism and wish fulfilment (that's a major reason I read Jane Austen - yes, I love Colin Firth doing the wet shirt thing...)
I've no idea how much time I spend a week, it probably varies wildly. But I probably read a book or two a week.
January 29th, 2005, 04:31 PM #7
A book or two a week! Prodigious... Although I suppose one reason I don't get that many read is that I have too many going at once (usually only one fiction title, but maybe half a dozen non-fiction titles competing for space on the coffee table...)
January 30th, 2005, 07:19 PM #8
I read two novels a month. One for review and one for myself. Oh yeah, and one to the kids... I forgot until Holbrook said. Right now it is HHGG x 4. They're warped kids... don't ask me how they got that way... must be the books they read.
I don't actually like reviewing but free books are hard to turn down.
Last edited by Rocket Sheep; January 31st, 2005 at 05:26 AM.
January 31st, 2005, 01:02 AM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- In the Shire
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Result of being an only child. When my mother dragged me in from play I had no brothers or sisters to drive me mad and wreck the house with, so I read
In my teenage years/early twenties it became a habit, others would buy LP's(CD's to younger folk) I would buy books. I was reading three a week.
When my children were small I limited myself to buying one book every other month. Often did not get to read them for ages as I spent a lot of time reading other sorts of books to my children.
Now I read when I can. If I am in hosptial I can read a book a day in-between the bed baths and the dozing. If life is sort of normal it can take me a couple of weeks. I don't have that much spare time and most evenings I am too tired to do more than crash when I have finished my housework type jobs (about 9.00pm)
Reading that's effort, you need to have the brain working...
January 31st, 2005, 01:32 AM #10Originally Posted by Holbrook
Plus when I was a lad, we didn't have playstations, PC, DVDs, CD's, internet etc.
Kids had to use their imagination more, we "made belief" and played games using nothing more that our minds to construct our playgrounds.
The love of reading came for me long before I could read (i.e. bed-time stories etc)
Reading is looking through a window into another world, constructed by the mind of the writer.
It's a form of escapism, but also expansion of the reader's mind (particularly at an early age), as he/she will try to reconstruct what the writer saw when the story was written.
January 31st, 2005, 03:27 AM #11Originally Posted by kahnovitch
January 31st, 2005, 09:00 AM #12Originally Posted by kahnovitch
January 31st, 2005, 06:26 PM #13
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- Sep 2002
- Charter Member, Restore Pluto Initiative
At least an hour an day gets me through almost a book a week. When I was younger I was doing two books a week but I've slowed down a lot in the last few years.
Wish I had kept everything I ever read. Would like to see the library that would make. The rough math says it ought to contain over 5000 books.
But why do I read? Curiosity. Insatiable curiosity. I blame it on Asimov. In an interview - or maybe one of his intros - he talked about how much he read and why and I figured I could keep up with a biologist without any problem. I think he cheated, though. Think I read that he learned to speed read and I never did.
February 3rd, 2005, 06:40 PM #14
I'm a story addict; I don't care what kind of story or in what form -- t.v., movies, plays, songs, memoirs, art, etc., if it's a story, I'm interested. But that does not explain why I read so much, in addition to my time on the computer, t.v. watching and videos. Nor does the explanation that I started reading early, my mom read me novels at bedtime, and I was a bookworm child who could escape from annoying adults by doing something they found acceptable, really explain it.
For me, written fiction has dimensions that other forms of story-telling do not. Written fiction can explore the inside of a character's mind thoroughly and on many levels. Written fiction can create imagery -- not just an image but abstract concepts turned into images and patterns. It can explore the workings of a kitchen sink, the symbolism of scattered drops of tea, the exact moment someone's heart breaks and the exact method by which it breaks. Written fiction can be visceral, because I take the author's description of action and recreate that action inside my own head, and it can also be completely intellectual or philosophical. It can offer stories that have taste, scent and feel, not just sight and sound. It requires my attention, interaction and imagination in ways that other forms of storytelling do not. It has no limits and no fear of exploration.
Reading fiction is not for me better than watching a movie or t.v. show or seeing a work of art, but it is necessary. Clearly reading fiction stimulates parts of my brain that like that sort of thing. And it does it enough and to enough other people that we as a society value it highly, even though only a small part of the population actually reads fiction and an even smaller group reads a lot of it regularly.
As for why that lead me into book publishing, my only explanation was that I was stupid. Or in need of a really big fix. Now, it's too late for me. But the reading glasses are coming soon.
February 4th, 2005, 06:05 PM #15
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- Dec 2004
- Dublin, Ireland
I agree with KatG, its about the stories, the utter curiousity in what somebody is doing, how they are doing it and why?. It doesn't matter whether it is on tv, radio or a book.
However, I am a bookaholic and I tend to read fiction, rather than non-fiction. On average I read about three books a week at the moment. (If I am not working then it is more.) I just love that my mind can take someone elses story and throw up a wealth of visualisations and interpretations. Its like shining light through a prism. Its fascinating and satisfying in ways that tv cannot reach.