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View Full Version : Why do you read? I mean as a reader--NOT as a writer



Angelinity
06-14-2008, 06:44 PM
I'm only asking the question in an attempt to validate my own writing -- let me explain...

As a reader, I may pick up a book for a variety of reasons:

1. I have some 'down' time on my hands
2. I am feeling down and hope that a story may take me away from my own personal dire reality
3. I heard the book in my hand is really really good
4. I chose a topic I feel close to
5. I want to lose myself in a different world for a little while

...Anyone wishing to add to the above, please fell free.

How many kinds of readers are there out there? Which one(s) do you write for?

Perle_Rare
06-14-2008, 07:03 PM
I read because I must. It's a compulsion.

Air, food, shelter and books: the four necessities of life.

DeleyanLee
06-14-2008, 07:10 PM
I read fiction for entertainment purposes. Why I read any particular book varies wildly, but my only goal in reading fiction is to be entertained.

Barber
06-14-2008, 07:11 PM
I read because, if a great story gets made into a movie, some of the best parts will get cut for time. Books allow me to see the entire story, including internal thought.

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved knowing characters internal thoughts; I guess that's a big reason.

I can also take in the story at my pace. I don't have to watch it all in ninety minutes. I can take a month if I wish.

I can visualize the characters to look however I want; I don't have to see the same top Hollywood actors over and over.

It sounds like, above all, readers have more control over a story than any other audience. Ouch! Issues, LOL.

Cranky
06-14-2008, 07:27 PM
I read because I've always loved it. I'm a book whore, so to speak, and I dip into all kinds of genres.

I also read cereal boxes and toothpaste tubes and newspapers and pamphlets. So I guess it's also a bit of a compulsion.

ChaosTitan
06-14-2008, 07:33 PM
I used to read, because I was a shy kid. I didn't have many friends. Also, my sister and I spent our summers on our grandparents' farm, so when we weren't helping them in the garden, we had a lot of down time. We went through stacks of books every summer, and the obsession trickled into the school year. I read on the bus, in class, during lunch. I loved reading series' (Sweet Valley, Babysitter's Club, Sleepover Friends, The Gymnasts, etc...), because it was like having built-in friends to visit every day.

Now that I'm an adult, I have friends and am rarely shy, but I still read. Albeit, far less than I used to read. I read to unwind, for entertainment, and to hang out with new people once in a while.

Harper K
06-14-2008, 08:07 PM
For non-fiction (and this includes books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, junk mail, and, as Cranky said, cereal boxes and toothpaste tubes), I read to make sense of the world. To gain a sense of control, I suppose. I could never be the sort of person who doesn't know about the news, who doesn't know why certain things are happening in politics or business and industry. I'm most obsessive about reading about my immediate surroundings -- I read all about the state legislature and city council, I read the police blotters, I read about local real estate, and I even read the silly little neighborhood newspaper that is peppered with grammatical errors and is mostly there to appease the socialites who want to appear in the society pages.

For fiction, I read for escapism -- but I define escapism in a very different way than most people do. Dense, beautiful, unrealistic language is escapism to me. Language you find in The Waves or Dubliners or Housekeeping or The Sound and the Fury but not in real life. Humor and satire are escapism for me, too. I love looking at a twisted version of the real world, one where people say astonishingly hilarious things all the time.

I also like how most fiction has a good sense of order. I mean, if a character commits a crime on page 5, you can be pretty sure it's going to cause trouble for him sometime before the end of the book. And on a smaller scale, too, if much is made of a particular character's collection of glass frogs in chapter 2, you can be pretty sure that collection is going to have some significance, if only in a symbolic way, later on in the novel. That's a great comfort present in fiction, but I hardly ever count on that sort of order being present in real life.

sadron
06-14-2008, 08:25 PM
To relax. I like to read stories (books).

KTC
06-14-2008, 08:42 PM
It's a compulsion for me too. I always have several books on the go.

Danger Jane
06-14-2008, 08:54 PM
Compulsion. Always done it, always will.

maestrowork
06-14-2008, 08:55 PM
I watch movies to be entertained.

I read to be inspired. To learn something, even through fiction.

Buddikins
06-14-2008, 09:04 PM
Like Sadron, I read to relax.
I'm also pretty shy, and I like my own company. It's something you can do alone, and, if you're reading, people are less likely to bother you. Wow, I sound really anti-social...
It also helps me learn, I suppose. You pick stuff up, even through fantasy.

kuwisdelu
06-14-2008, 09:10 PM
I watch movies to be entertained.

I read to be inspired. To learn something, even through fiction.

Same here, for the most part.

Of course, I usually hope the inspiration comes in an entertaining package, but rarely do I read "airplane books" anymore. I read pretty slowly, so I have to pick my books carefully, and I love the ones that inspire me or make me think about something in a way I never have, or just make me sit back and go "wow."

ishtar'sgate
06-15-2008, 12:58 AM
I read as a means to settle down before going to sleep. Reading allows me to forget my real day and indulge in the imaginary. It's part of my night time routine. Fluff up the pillows, snuggle under the quilt and open a book. Ah-h-h. Perfect end to what may have been a chaotic day.
Linnea

SPMiller
06-15-2008, 02:06 AM
I can easily go months at a time without reading any book at all.

When I do read, I only care about entertainment. Affected prose, if not done well, actually makes me like a book less. It can be done well, but it so rarely is. Usually I see the writer waving his arms in the air, screaming, "Look at me! Look at me!"

Fraulein
06-15-2008, 02:35 AM
I want to know more.

Bo Sullivan
06-15-2008, 02:37 AM
I have loved to read books since early childhood. I have read many different genres. My favourite books are all based on true history.

Siddow
06-15-2008, 02:52 AM
I read because everything else is boring.

Well, not everything. :D

If I want to learn, I get on the internet. If I want to veg, I watch TV. If I want to spend the afternoon in New York City or Australia or heaven or some dank apartment in god knows where or even the hot-as-hell Pico Mundo, but I have to be at home in Georgia, I read.

HeronW
06-15-2008, 04:14 AM
My family read to me until I was old enough to do for myself then it was Tues or Thu night trips to the local library. I read for new places, for escape, for seeing what a fav author's done next or reread to ground myself.

Righting
06-15-2008, 05:50 AM
To go on vacation! :) How else would I vacation to the Discworld or Hogwarts?

HorsebackWriter
06-15-2008, 05:53 AM
Books are "other worlds" for me, too. And often, many things you wish were part of this real, imperfect world, the things that are missing, you can find in the world of a book.

Books are food for my heart and soul.

Em

Esopha
06-15-2008, 05:54 AM
Escape.

Real life is boring.

veinglory
06-15-2008, 06:27 AM
To be entertained.

JoNightshade
06-15-2008, 06:57 AM
I am a knowledge addict. I don't know why, I just am. I crave it. Constantly. And I don't mean in the sense of concrete facts about the world, although those are included. I want to know why people do things, I want to know why certain minds work they way they do. I want to know how people justify horrific actions and how to make sense of the world we live in. I want to know the big questions and I want to know how people answer them. Anything that has a sense of the bigger picture, something beyond us, drags me in. Non-fiction provides concrete facts about the world; fiction reaches in deeper, to those inner parts of us that we can only touch through analogy and metaphor. This is why I like science fiction, philosophy, the classics, etc.

Also, I read to fall in love. I'm a sucker for tragic heroes.

With my writing, I try to do both. I create main characters I hope people will sympathize with and want to spend time with for their own merits. But then the work as a whole will address a bigger question (or several), such as, when is it ok to kill? Can ugly, undesirable, social misfits find real love? What IS real love?

Dave.C.Robinson
06-15-2008, 07:26 AM
I read for the way it takes me into other worlds and times. There are some books I've read so often the characters have become old friends that I like to visit and revisit on occasion.

Some books I read for the author's use of language; others for escape.

I read because I love it.

I am a reader.

inkkognito
06-15-2008, 06:01 PM
I utterly adore true crime ala Ann Rule. Since I'm doc of psychology, the workings of deviant minds is very interesting to me. I could never, ever see myself writing true crime tho'. I am strictly a spectator of the genre.

Melenka
06-15-2008, 08:07 PM
I read because I can. For the past several years, I have been reading because I had to. The end result was a degree and the ability to think critically. Oh, and random news stories that make me want to email links to my Biology 101 teacher (which I often do). Now that I've finished, I am reading only fiction and it is delightful.

I read because it keeps my brain fed.

And lately, I read because I want to support good writers. I used to finish every book I started. Now I finish only if it's good.

Libbie
06-16-2008, 05:42 AM
Unless I'm reading nonfiction, which I read to learn something new, I read to be entertained. Plain and simple. I want to get a little entertainment and have some fun. That doesn't mean the book has to be light-hearted, of course. I can have fun reading serious stuff, too.

maestrowork
06-16-2008, 05:48 AM
Same here, for the most part.

Of course, I usually hope the inspiration comes in an entertaining package, but rarely do I read "airplane books" anymore. I read pretty slowly, so I have to pick my books carefully, and I love the ones that inspire me or make me think about something in a way I never have, or just make me sit back and go "wow."

These days it's a little harder to entertain me. I mean movies are fine -- they're short and if they're boring or bad, I'll forget about them in no time and it costs $6 (matinée). But I'm a slow reader so if I can't get into a book, it's a waste of time because I will never finish it. A lot of books bore me -- it's the same plot, or similar characters. Overlong exposition that doesn't really tell me much. Not a whole lot intrigues me enough to continue reading. I'm getting really picking about books.

steveg144
06-16-2008, 01:23 PM
Unfortunately, these days the bulk of my reading is for research (I've got a couple of non-fic books bubbling to the top of my queue). I miss the days when I could do a lot of reading for pleasure. Heck, I miss the days when I had the time to do a lot of reading for pleasure. :D

Faolmor
06-16-2008, 01:29 PM
I read to be transported, to learn, to improve my own writing, and of course for enjoyment. I read because there is nothing better than exploring a new world from the comfort of my couch on a rainy afternoon.

Sunnyside
06-16-2008, 06:28 PM
I'm between projects at the moment, so I'm not immersed in a new subject. But even then, I can't help myself from having several books going at once. At the moment I'm reading John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle, as well as Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and the new Absolute editions of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

So my answer to your question, then? I read for entertainment, enlightenment, and just because.

Phaeal
06-16-2008, 06:30 PM
I read for fun and insight and information. The great books provide all three.

Kitty Pryde
06-16-2008, 09:12 PM
I read for many of the reasons stated above. I like to read science fiction for the "Hell yes! Awesome!" moments I have when reading great scenes, great ideas, or great plotting. I used to watch movies for the same effect, but recently, those moments on film have been few and far between. Books rarely disappoint, though!

Nyna
06-16-2008, 11:16 PM
Honestly, the real question for me has always been why people don't read, and it never even occurred to me to ask it the other way around. I suppose I read because I love reading.

Jill
06-17-2008, 06:19 PM
I read because I must. It's a compulsion.

Air, food, shelter and books: the four necessities of life.

and because I know of no other leisure activity that gives as much pleasure.

Aragon
06-17-2008, 06:27 PM
I love reading because it is how I can explore worlds I will never see. It has always been a therapy to me, as I grew up being alone. No sadness to it, I grew to love reading and writing.

Angelinity
06-17-2008, 07:37 PM
just wondering... take away the 'hopeful' and published writers... are there any fiction readers left?

MsK
06-17-2008, 07:44 PM
I love to read. Always have. As someone else mentioned, I read everything, toothpaste tubes, take out menus from restaurants I would never eat in, anything with words on it, I'm reading it.
And of course, novels. I always have 2-3 on hand.
For me, it's true to life fiction. I've noticed a strong bend towards sci fi and fantasy here at AW and I wish I could relate to it all, but it doesn't get me. I like realistic situations I can relate to, characters who may be like people I know or even like myself.
Reading is like people watching over a period of time. I get to see the characters at their finest moments and also at their weakest moments.
To watch a character I am fond of pull through a difficult moment fuels me with renewed optimism about my own troubles.

Jill
06-18-2008, 11:15 AM
are there any fiction readers left?

I almost never read anything except fiction. An arrangement of words on a page can have the same hairs on the back of my neck sensation as a piece of music.

DanceGirl
06-18-2008, 06:53 PM
I read when:

I'm bored
I'm in need of an escape
A book has been reccomended to me by a friend

EDIT: Most of the stuff I read is fiction btw. If it's not, it's a biography.

Alex667
06-19-2008, 09:33 PM
I'm also pretty shy, and I like my own company. It's something you can do alone, and, if you're reading, people are less likely to bother you. Wow, I sound really anti-social...

This is me. Except, I'm not so much shy as I am anti-social. :)

Although I prefer my own company, I occasionally like to go out to places where there are people, like a bar or coffee shop. However, I don't always want to socialize. Sometimes I just want to be around the noise and commotion (Not too much noise and commotion), but not in the middle of it. It's not unusual for me to go out to a bar and read.

Anyway, I like to read for many reasons, especially to get a different perspective. There can be a lot of insight woven into fiction stories. Sometimes, it’s just to enjoy a similar perspective to my own. (I love Sedaris because I can relate, not so much to the individual stories, but to his sense of humor.)

ACEnders
06-19-2008, 09:51 PM
Enjoyment, entertainment, to lose myself in another world, because I love words, to relax, to unwind....

Those are the main reasons I think.

Claudia Gray
06-20-2008, 12:07 AM
I read for all kinds of reasons, and I always have at least one book going. Sometimes I read for fun, sometimes to challenge myself, sometimes for research into subjects I might write about, sometimes for research into subjects I simply find interesting, and sometimes based on recommendations or reviews or just a shiny, shiny cover.

SPMiller
06-20-2008, 12:23 AM
This is me. Except, I'm not so much shy as I am anti-social. :)

Although I prefer my own company, I occasionally like to go out to places where there are people, like a bar or coffee shop. However, I don't always want to socialize. Sometimes I just want to be around the noise and commotion (Not too much noise and commotion), but not in the middle of it. It's not unusual for me to go out to a bar and read.

Anyway, I like to read for many reasons, especially to get a different perspective. There can be a lot of insight woven into fiction stories. Sometimes, it’s just to enjoy a similar perspective to my own. (I love Sedaris because I can relate, not so much to the individual stories, but to his sense of humor.)This is disturbingly familiar.

I like to observe society, but don't really enjoy participating. I'll go to bars just to sit there and watch people interacting.

But I also get into conversations with pretty ladies from time to time ;)

JenUK24
06-20-2008, 01:30 AM
I read because I love it. Its a way to relax...although with a 9 1/2 month old daughter I dont get to much time to relax.

J x