Sometimes we read because we want to be informed. Sometimes we read because we want to journey without even putting our shoes on. Sometimes we read because we feel obligated, whether for school or for a book club or because you told someone you would read something.
Some people love libraries. To me the library is endless possibility. I don’t mean the shushy kind like in TV shows and movies where nobody will help you find a book and the people who work there are stern. I mean the real kind where you can wander around, books on certain topics are displayed in order to catch your eye–the sky at night, ghosts, banned books, sci-fi classics, staff recommendations–and the librarians want you to leave with a book (or many) that you’ll enjoy.
Some people love bookstores. Whether small and independent, or large and corporate, bookstores offer endless possibility if you can afford it. They smell nice, and the staff are friendly and also want to help you find a book that you will love.
There is no question that there have been books–with worlds and characters and scenes–that I preferred to whatever was happening in real life. More interesting, more to my liking, people facing issues that seem simple compared to the complexities going on outside of the covers of the book. When you’re not reading the book, you’re thinking about the book and the characters, wondering what’s going to happen next, or why they did a certain thing a few pages back. You look at the book from where you are doing some sort of obligation that is keeping you from reading it, and look forward to catching a few moments when possible to find out what’s next, what’s next, what’s next.
That’s when you are so glad you’re in a book club, or that you’re reading something that seemingly lots and lots of people have read, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, (add other popular book names here) so you can discuss it with almost anyone. Or maybe you can go into that library or into that bookstore and find someone who would love to talk about it, or talk about what you are both reading, even if it’s not the same book. Agree, disagree, talk about how it made you feel, if you related, if you were mad at the characters, and why.
Reading is a gift. Thank you to all the writers out there–living and dead–who have poured their hearts into a book, whether realistic fiction, a silly story for kids, a memoir, a sci-fi book or series, a comic book, a fantasy story, comedy, non-fiction, chick lit, scary stories or any other book out there. Thank you to all the teachers who have taught children how to read and then encouraged them to read. Parents who read to kids. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and anyone important in a child’s life who has read to a child. Parents who read in front of their kids (modeling to kids that grown-ups read), and to the librarians out there who are working constantly to get books into the hands of the people.
Now get out there and read!