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to ask you why you read?

(114 Posts)

bit of a weird Q. But I've realised that I read for two reasons: to learn stuff (a lot is non-fiction), or just because it's a habit. I would feel strange without a book on the go, almost guilty! Which is crazy. And I don't think it's necessarily a good thing- means less time to absorb, to really think about what I've been reading, and it probably isn't doing my attention span much good- to always fill time like this. My mum always used to say "put the book down and MEDITATE for once" when I was a kid and I thought, that's for old people, but she has a point. I also have a funny sort of fear that I'm running out of time and I won't have time to learn all the things that I want to learn- which is silly. But every time I read a book, it makes me want/need to read ten more.
My dad reads anything, but mostly it's all historical. My mum doesn't read that much anymore except on her obsessions (we share this trait) but when she was younger it was all philosophy/C17-19th fiction. I read about specific interests and if it's novels, they're by people referenced in the history books I like as colourful characters.....

So why do you read? Do you think it's better to read slowly and take time in between the tomes, or do you always have several on your bedside table? Have you always been a reader, do you think it might be just as "bad" as screens and prolonged use of games consoles are if they get additictive.....so a bit of a two pronged question I guess. I'm interested in hearing people talk about reading tho, it's a nice benign friendly topic, and I know MN is book obsessed wink

fridgepants Wed 09-Jan-13 20:50:23

brighthair, are you me? smile My mum taught me in a similar way, which is even more impressive given that she really struggles with spelling herself.

fridgepants Wed 09-Jan-13 20:48:22

susan Hill wrote a great book about a year she spent reading only the books in her house. Enjoyed it far more than The Child That Books Built.

fridgepants Wed 09-Jan-13 20:47:14

Learned to read at two, so I literally can't remember not having books around. I actually get a bit anxious if I'm on a train or something and realise I have nothing to read. I find it odd that someone would sit on public transport staring into space when they could be learning or entertaining themselves, but maybe they've learned to meditate smile

grumpyinthemorning Wed 09-Jan-13 15:37:31

I read to expand my outlook and my vocabulary, to escape to other worlds, to discover new ideas and reject or embrace them. I read for pleasure, for knowledge, to pass the time. I'll read anything I can get my hands on, and I do pretty much everything with one hand, the other holding a book (it's an acquired skill, perfected through years of practice).

Currently reading Alternative Femininities, between finishing the Twilight Saga and waiting for the next Game of Thrones book smile

amicissimma England Wed 09-Jan-13 15:24:30

Thanks, InMySpareTime.

<Heads for Amazon library>

Amicissima, "Measuring America" by Andro Linklater, and "Hard Work" by Polly Toynbee

mercury7 Wed 09-Jan-13 11:29:30

was the minimum wage book by Barbara Ehrenreich?
She wrote a few others which I also enjoyed

amicissimma England Wed 09-Jan-13 08:43:40

Oh, InMySpareTime, what were the railways-in-America and minimum-wage-jobs books? I'm in need of some recommendations ATM, and they both sound interesting.

Apologies for hijack.

amicissimma England Wed 09-Jan-13 08:40:24

If you don't like being read to or audiobooks (and in general I don't) may I suggest you try Alan Bennet reading Winnie the Pooh or Bill Bryson reading one of his own? IMO, they are a (rare) perfect match of medium (voice) and content.

I just got a book from the library about building railways across America, returned a book investigating the theory of Arthur being a barbarian king, and I read a good one about the sewer systems of the world last year. My favourite non fiction in 2011 was about a lady who worked several minimum wage jobs to see what life on the bread line was really like. You are not alone!

BunFagFreddie Wed 09-Jan-13 07:35:11

I must be a weirdo, but I'm always reading non fiction books to find out about nerdy things that interest me. Right now, I'm readining "Mysteries of the Cathedrals" by Fulcanelli. It's about the Hermetic symbolism in France's Gothic cathedrals.

I often have more than one book on the go, a couple are located in the bathrooms iykwim.

Thanks to this thread I have joined goodreads, anyone know how to add books it can't find? My "to read" pile is mostly international folk tales, it can't even find them from the ISBN!
Anyway, I love reading, and have mastered the art of reading whilst walking, using peripheral vision to see where I'm going.
Printed words have a way of lodging in my memory in a way spoken words cannot.

MrsHoarder Wed 09-Jan-13 01:56:51

I read because its the best escapism. It allows me to leave worldly troubles behind in a way that may not be productive. But as a medium it is fairly unique in the way which it is possible to step back from it if it is too much, unlike say TV, where your mind can't filter details out and you can't look away and leave it instantly.

Also I think reading books leads to more personal growth than MN.

mercury7 Wed 09-Jan-13 01:55:52

also I feel that by reading I can access the minds of clever people, people who have in depth knowledge of things I want to know about!

generally I prefer to read books than talk to people

mercury7 Wed 09-Jan-13 01:49:44

I read because I love reading, if I have an especially good book on the go I am delighted, I spend a fair amount of time looking for books that I'll enjoy.

I rarely find fiction that I can really get into, so I mostly read non fiction.

achillea Wed 09-Jan-13 00:08:05

I didn't say "live in the moment" - implying impulsive actions - that's completely different from "being in the moment", which is more to do with how someone engages with you. See, you read too fast to read proper.

wordfactory Mon 07-Jan-13 09:39:37

For pleasure...

I delight in the story, the characters, the craft. Nothing explores what it is to be human more than literature.

brighthair Mon 07-Jan-13 09:26:30

I definitely get the "reading without having to read"
I see a page not words and sentences so I can take in the page without moving my eyes. I often get asked "are you really reading that?" and accused of lying. Mainly at school but also by a friends Mum who fell out with my Mum over my reading

I read usually very boring non-fiction for work. Sometimes I have to force myself to keep reading because it's so dull. Occassionally, I just can't keep going (some of it has actually put me to sleep). I tend to skim it all though (and read selectively, missing out all the really tedious sections entirely). My PhD thesis was actually about reading (a particular kind of literature).

I steal DS1's books and read them for leisure. I love a good bit of YA literature. I rarely read actual literary fiction (or anything intended for adults) and you could not pay me to wade through anything that could be referred to as 'chick lit'. Literary fiction is usually too much like hard work (I don't think it helps that cloud atlas is the last 'proper book' I tried to read; I made several attempts to keep going but I have admitted defeat and returned to teenagers in some kind of peril, which is what most of the books DS1 reads are about). I just have no interest whatsoever in 'chick lit'.

PurpleStorm Mon 07-Jan-13 09:02:34

Because I love readng.

Bonsoir Mon 07-Jan-13 08:55:26

For escapism, I would always much rather watch a DVD than read fiction.

But I love to read to learn.

dinkystinky Mon 07-Jan-13 08:55:21

escapism, channeling my imagination, relaxation and information

I love reading and tear through books.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Mon 07-Jan-13 08:48:56

iismum*, I'm exactly the same - just put down my current book after 10 mins to check 'threads I'm on' and here I am smile.

Can't decide whether the attention reduced when I had children or whether I've let it dwindle through spending too much time online - it's so easy to flit around without ever truly concentrating on and absorbing what you're reading.

elleephant Sun 06-Jan-13 23:18:11

When I was younger I read fiction avariously and intensly and I think I did so to figure out the adult world iykwim? All those complex emotional situations wholly absorbed for I'd say 15-20y.

Now I read mostly non-fiction, biographies and popular science/history mostly. V random. Also I find I don't really retain what I read now. Still read a lot though. It's more interesting than the telly ;)

VitoCorleone Italy Sun 06-Jan-13 23:12:03

I usually tend to just read autobiographys, because im generally a nosy person.

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