Bookish Chat: Why do you read?

June 25, 2015 Bookish chat 33

Reading is so much a part of my life that I rarely stop to think about why I read.  It’s as natural as breathing air for me and a book within hands reach is my equivalent of a comfort blanket.  But lately a friend asked me why I read so much and I looked at her lost for words.  Reading is life!  It is everything and a bigger question for me was why doesn’t she read more.

Bookish Chat


But it got me thinking about why exactly I read and I eventually summed it up to these key reasons:

– Entertainment: It is one of my favourite forms of entertainment. I’m not a huge TV person (but I do occasionally binge watch series), I’m not a gamer and I’m definitely not a party animal. My favourite form of entertainment involves snuggling up with a great book and you’ll rarely hear me talking about being bored. How could I be when I shelves of unread books and untold mysteries just waiting to dazzle and divert me.

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” ― Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel


 – Escapism: I can’t deny it. When I’m struggling with anything in my life, I turn to books to shut out the world. Taking off my shoes to jump around in my characters ones for a few hours gives me the breathing space that I need to recoup and re-energise myself.

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood. – John Green


– Adventure: I love that I can pick up a book and time travel to Renaissance Italy or to a far distant planet. Reading broadens my horizons, cultivates my imagination and just enlarges my world. I get to experience things in books that I would never experience in real life and through books and challenging ideas I find that I am exploring and learning new things all the time.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. – Neil Gaiman


But above all else, I read for the entertainment and the sheer pleasure of it. Reading has enhanced my life in so many ways; it has made me more empathic, has made me a critical thinker, has sharpened my brain and increased by language skills. But none of those are why I carry a book everywhere I go, I do that just because I love it and never want to be stuck with a book to read.


Talk to Trish : Why do you read? Are your reasons similar to mine? Do you make a conscious effort to read or does it just happen without you even thinking about it?


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33 Responses to “Bookish Chat: Why do you read?”

  1. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

    I think I love to read because it is just a way to get away from real life for a while (or all day!) I love to read about different things and sometimes I get to learn stuff. I have been reading a lot of novels taking place during WW2 and I have become super interested in reading more novels during that time as well as reading up on the actual history (I know I learned all this stuff but it was so long ago). So stuff like that would never happen if I didn’t read. Great post!
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Help Me Binge

    • trish

      I do love learning about stuff from books too and historical fiction can be a lot of fun as it makes you remember those half forgotten facts that are at the very back of your brain. I love WW2 novels too, it’s just such a fascinating time. As is WW1 but it’s a bit harder to find books with that setting.

  2. Celine

    Entertainment and escapism are the two biggest ones for me. I just really like stories, and they help me calm down after a busy day, or keep me entertained when I’m my a two-hour train commute.
    Celine recently posted…Blogging While in College

    • trish

      I read while commuting too. Mine is a short drive but I love the chance to tune everything out with my current audiobook. And you have such a long commute, so that’s a great way of getting some reading into your day.

  3. Greg

    Great post. I agree with all of those- the escapism and the ability to experience somewhere else. I always feel bad when a non – reader says they’re bored- I can’t understand not reading. I’d miss too much. 🙂
    Greg recently posted…Star Wars Heir to the Jedi

    • trish

      I know I always feel sorry for non readers, they don’t know how great it can feel to get lost in a book. I can’t even imagine not having that in my life!

  4. Red Iza

    I read :
    – Because I’ve always done so, reading is as essential to me as breathing ;
    – Because it helps me not thing about the unpleasant real things (aka escapism)
    – Because it makes me discover things I’ve never thought of, people I’ll never meet, places I’ve never been, ideas I’ve never had, a whole dimension of things ! That’s irresistible 😉
    Red Iza recently posted…Cat thursday #44 : Slippin’ and slidin’

  5. Lola

    My reasons are pretty much the same as yours, mostly for entertainment and escapism. Reading is my number one form of entertainment. I sometimes play games, but not as much lately as the little free time I do have is spent reading. I also read books to escape whatever worries I have at the moment.

    And for the same reason Iza mentioned to discover new things/ people/ places. I like visiting new worlds and places and meeting new people through reading. I dont travel a lot and am afraid of most forms of transport, so reading provides me with an opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures without leaving my home.

    Reading also helps calm my mind. Nowadays I really need that half hour or hour reading before bed, else my dreams are even more busy or I dream about work. When I read before bed I fall asleep easier and often feel calmer. But indeed my most important reason is just because I love reading.
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: Why I like and dislike Netgalley

    • trish

      I love travelling via books too. I actually enjoy travelling but lack of holiday days and funds mean that I can never do as much as I want. Thankfully a book will transport me anywhere I want!
      And I didn’t include the mind calming point but that is very true for me too. I love relaxing in bed with a book, it really unwinds me. It doesn’t always help me sleep but it does a great job of putting me into that relaxed state.

  6. Lark

    Escapism, adventure and entertainment. Those are the reasons I read, too. Plus, I love books. I love meeting new characters, visiting new places. And what’s better than curling up on your couch with some chocolate and a really good book? I have friends who are “too busy” to read, but they always seem to know what just happened on their favorite reality TV show. It’s how you choose to spend your time, and I’d rather spend mine with a good book. (Plus, some books that I read make me feel smart…or smarter than I actually am.) 🙂 Happy Reading!
    Lark recently posted…Back to the Classics…

    • trish

      I find people say that to me too that they don’t know where I get the time to read so much! And they watch hours and hours of TV!
      And books do make us smarter 🙂 Obviously!

  7. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I read for the same reasons you do. I don’t watch a ton of tv, but I am a gamer and I find that my gaming habits follow those of my reading. I love when a game has epic world building and a addicting story. And the escapism is something that keeps me sane. My mind handles stress differently than most, and I need that escape or I end up in a complete mental breakdown. Being able to shut my mind off here and there is essential to a Happy Michelle.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Review: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

    • trish

      I always find that nothing can distract my mind like a book. TV doesn’t do it as my mind wanders all over the place but when I’m reading as I’m usually fully focused on that and it can be a great stress relief. I need to shut my mind off too for a happier Trish!

  8. Rachel

    I <3 this post. Like you, reading is just something I do. I don't think about it, and when people ask why I read so much, I struggle with putting it into words. Your reasons pretty much hit the nail on the head. But additionally, I love words! I write a lot for my job – be it marketing, corporate communications, strategy documents, whatever! And I'm pretty much always doing a course or studying in some capacity, I'm an eternal student, when I'm out of a classroom environment for too long I get restless, I need to be learning. Reading for me is a "fun" way to learn too I guess when I have down time from the actual courses. It's not academic or overly structured, but I get the same sense of learning from it. That, and you know that feeling when you find a new book to love? Or a book that is unique and surprises you in the best way? That makes you go "wow!". I LOVE that feeling. I keep gobbling books because I'm always trying to find that again. R x
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Nowhere But Here

    • trish

      Exactly, I really struggled to put this in to words as I never think about reading, it’s just part of who I am. I love the sense of learning that I get from a book too and I love the wide variety of experiences I get from reading. I often think that those who read more are a bit more open minded than those who never read and it’s because of the various opinions and new ideas that we are constantly exposed to.
      That wow moment is the best!

  9. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    Yes to all. I’m definitely a reader for the sake of entertainment and sometimes that comes with a heaping helping of escapism or adventure. I love getting caught up in a story. I love TV too but while I normally have to be doing something while I’m watching TV (folding laundry, making a grocery list or if I’m being really undisciplined – snacking). Reading is like jumping into another world for me. Great topic!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…A Season for Killing Blonds – Blog Tour + Giveaway

    • trish

      I’m usually multi tasking while watching TV too which is maybe why I don’t get totally lost in it the same way I do in a book.

  10. Kathryn@Book Date

    I definitely read for all the reasons you mention, it is my favourite form of leisure. I just have to have a book on the go. I am not a great literary reader though. I just like to see the world from the characters’ eyes and get to think about the things that they are faced with that I may never meet in actual life. Most of them speak in some way of family, kindness, belonging and all the yearnings of the human heart. Books and reading are a big joy.
    Kathryn@Book Date recently posted…A Year of Marvellous Ways. Sarah Winman

    • trish

      Books are one of the biggest and one of the most constant joys in my life too! And I love how we are exposed to ideas and issues and experiences that we might not experience in our own life, I love living thought a characters eyes for a little bit.

    • trish

      Exactly, that was how I felt when my friend asked me! I love immersing myself in a whole new world for a little bit and then a different world the next day, what’s not to love about that! 🙂

    • trish

      I agree movies and tv just don’t carry me away in the same way a book can. I don’t know why. I can enjoy tv but when I want to really escape and relax, its my trustworthy books that I’ll turn to.

  11. Elizabeth

    I read for all these reasons and also love the added side effect of learning so much in an interesting way. If I read a historical fiction book that is about a traveling troubadour, I may look for a book on that topic or, these days, investigate online. I do the same with any topic that comes up, checking to see if locations are real, or whatever. I think that’s why I’m so good at trivia.

    • trish

      I like checking out facts too when something catches my interest. I forget them quickly too though so I’m still crap at trivia!

  12. Rita @ View From My Home

    I read for the same reasons that you do: entertainment, escapism, and adventure (or virtual traveling).

    I think when we bibliophiles learned to read and immediately were drawn to books for pleasure, it became an ingrained habit that we wanted to repeat over and over. When I’m ready to escape my troubles (I’m moody), or feel boredom with free time, reaching for a book is an ingrained habit that I know will give me that “warm fuzzy” feeling, even if it’s not the best book around.

    My brothers ran outside to play ball on long, unstructured summer vacation days (holiday) with a group of friends. I did too, sometimes, of course, but I also chose to hole up on a cushion in the corner of my living room and escape into a book. I’m an introvert personality but not a shy person, if that makes sense. I choose to be solitary much of the day, but not because I don’t get along with other people– it’s just my nature. And let’s face it, unlike watching tv with the family or playing card games or football or whatever folks want to do for entertainment, reading a book is a solitary affair.

    Watch out what questions you want to discuss, Trish… you might get “too much info”! 🙂 Thank you for allowing us to talk about this idea.
    Rita @ View From My Home recently posted…Month of No Buying, No Borrowing, No Requesting Analyzed

  13. Charlotte

    I think my reading reasons are the same as yours! I look getting lost in a book and going off on an adventure 🙂 it is the best feeling!

    There is just something so comfortable with reading a book. It just always feels like the ‘right’ thing to do, does it?
    Charlotte recently posted…Review: Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

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