Growing up as an avid reader, I was constantly struck with questions such as “Why do you read so much?” or “How do you even have the time or attention span for all those books?” Being the shy, tongue-tied person that I was, I typically answered with a slight smile and a simple “I don’t know,” then continued to awkwardly read the book in my hands. Throughout the years, I have been struggling to find a better response that would altogether explain why I always carried a book in my purse or why you would most likely find me at the library or bookstore rather than anywhere else. To be honest, reading is so much more for me than saying “Oh, I just like it,” or “I’m bored.” Books help me grow as a person, open my mind, and make me feel less alone in a world that can get pretty lonely.
“Each book was a world unto itself, and in it I took refuge.” – Alberto Manguel
Reality itself can be extremely unpleasant at times, as I’m sure many of you can relate. Maybe school or work was stressful, you got into a fight with a loved one, or you’re simply worrying about what the future holds. Personally, books are what comfort me throughout my hardships. Nothing matters when I’m lost inside an extraordinary world in that sci-fi story, or wishing for two characters to fall in love in that young adult novel. I’m able to escape as soon as I open a book to the first page, even if it’s only for a little while.
2. To Not Feel Alone
“It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.” – Stephen Chbosky
There are times when I find myself reading and begin to wonder if a book was written just for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who does something or feels a certain way, so it surprises me when a character is so similar. It’s comforting to realize that you aren’t so alone.
3. For Knowledge
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” — Richard Steele
Reading is pretty cool because sometimes you’re getting smarter without even realizing it. You can learn about different people, places, cultures; the list goes on and on. Reading also gives you mental stimulation, expands your vocabulary, and can even improve writing skills.
4. To Think Differently
“Books open your mind, broaden your mind, and strengthen you as nothing else can.” – William Feather
Books have introduced me to a plethora of incredible worlds and left me with so many new perspectives. They take me on great journeys. Innumerable writers have inspired me with their stories to never be afraid to be myself and think differently, even when it’s scary.
5. To Dream
“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.” – Helen Exley
Books are what inspire me to keep moving forward in life. There are days where I’m feeling sad, unimaginative, or discouraged. When this happens, all I have to do is take a deep breath and begin a good book. Reading always seems to help, whether it is inspiring me to think like a certain character or even start writing a novel myself.