Why I read

Not my words and not all of the reasons and statements are mine but still …

I read. I read because I’m curious. Because I crave alternate realities. Because I want a book to show me how to unravel experience, unravel life, in a way my own brain can’t manage alone. I read because books exist. Because books have existed for thousands of years. Because storytelling and metaphor, symbolism and dialogue are all innately connected to who we are as human beings. And who we want to be as human beings.

I read carefully. I read carefully because I love language. I love the sheer potential power of language to transform us, alter our relationships, amend our opinions and change the world. I love the awe-inspiring genius of the very existence of language. I read carefully because I am afraid to miss something. Anything. Everything. The truth. The point. The truth beyond the point. I read carefully because I am willing to forget who I am and experience a book’s reality as my own and this vulnerability is worth respecting.

I read selfishly. Selfishly because I want to possess the ideas, places, and people found in my reading – to make them a part of my own inner menagerie as soon as I have finished. I want to remember what the books have said and how their worlds affected me. I read selfishly because I can. Because no one else will experience a book the same way I do.

I read critically. I am demanding. I am severe. I loathe a book that gives up on me, that fails to ask questions, that chooses the easy way out, that forgets its vocation. I read critically because I want literature to work its hardest. To achieve something. To affect change and improve society. I want books to have an impact. To make us, readers and non-readers alike, pay attention.

I read for the absolute delight of reading. For hours spent quietly, calmly, with words and pages. With new ideas, with old thoughts, with fresh images and difficult propositions. I read because reading is an art form. A way of life.

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