I’ve been very unproductive recently and it’s taken me way too long to figure out why. Sure, I’m stressed out about my oldest starting college this year, not too mention missing him, and there’s all the craziness surrounding the beginning of the school year, sports, clubs, etc. for my two younger children, and of course work and book deadlines. But aside from my son starting college, none of these things are out of the ordinary. What I discovered is that when I feel overwhelmed, I usually don’t let myself read because I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure that I don’t deserve when I’m not keeping up with the important stuff. However, this is a huge mistake on my part, because reading helps center me in a way that nothing else can. I started thinking about the why and how reading is so important to me. So, I’ve made a top five list of reasons I love to read:
- Escape – Reading allows me to escape from my own life for a while, which is just what I need to get the proper perspective.
- Relaxation – There’s nothing like a book and some bath salts to get me back on track.
- Learning new things – whether I’m reading romance, historical fiction, or even a biography, I always learn something new.
- It helps my writing – There are so many ways that reading helps with writing, like reinforcing story structure, providing examples of symbolism, description, theme, etc., etc.
- Empathy – reading makes it easier to relate to other people. I happen to have a very personal example of this. After the school shooting in Columbine, I kept wondering how it was possible for a parent not to have any idea how troubled her child was, or to not notice that he was making weapons inside the family home. A few years later, I read the book Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, and it was so well written that I was able to empathize with the characters and understand the other side of the story.
Though I could have created a much longer list, I didn’t want monopolize all of the answers. So tell me, why do you read?