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reading as escapism

(16 Posts)
shinmum Mon 10-Mar-14 17:58:45

I am currently studying for an Eng Lit degree and need to research how and why people read. One of the areas that keeps coming up is people reading as escapism...I would love to hear from any of you that use reading to escape and how this makes you feel and if particular genres work better for this than others...equally if you feel escapism is not a valid use of your reading time I would love to know your thoughts...many thanks in advance

JimmyCorkhill Mon 10-Mar-14 21:09:38

Well just the act of reading for me is escapism because I'm not doing anything else (childcare, housework, blah blah blah). If I have a particularly gripping book I will have an early night so that I can keep reading it. So the book isn't the escape but the action of reading a book is.

tomverlaine Mon 10-Mar-14 21:17:27

It is escapism for me as I can occupy my brain in such a way that I am not thinking about anything else - no real genre just something that is sufficiently all encompassing.
I do also comfort read which is a different form of escapism - reading something I am familiar with to such a degree that it is relaxing and also takes you back to other times you have read it- this doesn't necessarily require my brain to be engaged as I don't need to follow the story! It is emotionally comforting to read stuff where the path is well known and the end is happy ( I am sadly reading Harry potter now but also includes georgette Heyerdahl, Jane Austen , bill Bryson and John le carre)

TheArticFunky Mon 10-Mar-14 22:29:05

Reading is an escapism for me because I am not thinking about all the other things that occupy my mind and I can allow my mind to have time off from reality.

I read all sorts of books both fact and fiction. Books that are set in particular places offer me a certain type of escapism as I can escape from my everyday surroundings to the place where the book is set. Emily Barr is particularly good for transporting you somewhere else and I also love Maeve Binchy's novels as they allow me to experience the Ireland that my father grew up in.

Devora Mon 10-Mar-14 22:33:52

I was an unhappy child, and a compulsive reader - reading wasn't just a form of escapism, but almost felt like a drug-induced state. I could feel my heartrate slowing, I went almost dreamlike, pleasantly numbed from the outside world.

I don't have quite that strong a reaction to it now, but I still find reading has a calming, almost sedative effect. If I don't read for awhile, I get quite jittery and unsettled. If I read too much, I get a bit dopey and find it hard to click back into the outside world.

LostInWales Mon 10-Mar-14 22:40:45

I have read voraciously since I was a child, as an only child it was a great form of entertainment and now as a fairly dead adult it is a great form of escapism because I don't have to really concentrate to hear the words like I do with TV. I am also very restricted in my movements due to arthritis so it really takes me away in my head when I just have to lie flat and be still to protect my bones. Reading is awesome grin. I read everything, science magazines, national geographic, sic fi, historical novels, cycling autobiographies, Lace, romance, cereal packets, news papers. smile

Nocomet Mon 10-Mar-14 22:41:26

I want to get lost in a biok and kniw that the ending, for the majority of characters at least, will be happy.

I want lots of plot and bugger all flowery discription.

Discription that teaches me about the period of history fine, waffly arty discription, no.

I don't want lots of ridiculose navel gazing, unrequited love or messing about.

Do something!

I really don't get the point of English lit. (Despite having an A). Either a book is enjoyable to read or it isn't. If it's well written any deeper meaning shoukd be clear without sitting writting notes an analysing it.

Wastes time that could be spent in science lessons.

Katkins1 Mon 10-Mar-14 22:41:34

I read so much for escapism of one dramatist that it became my thesis. Even toward the end of the first draft, its still fantastic. I regularly stay awake until 2am reading because I want to. Suspect I always will.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 22:45:32

Can I recommend you read "The Child that Books Built" by Francis Spufford. The first part in which he describes completely immersing himself in a book, becoming oblivious to the outside world, pretty much says everything I feel about reading.

LostInWales Mon 10-Mar-14 22:45:41

<spits at phone> fairly DEAF adult, deaf, not dead. Well at least I have made myself laugh like a loon tonight gringringrin

shinmum Tue 11-Mar-14 21:37:36

Thank you all get replies and suggestions for further reading much appreciated

shinmum Tue 11-Mar-14 21:38:06

Sorry - great replies

Chacha23 Tue 11-Mar-14 22:26:49

I read to experience other worlds and other lives, when I manage to get completely lost in a character/story I even forget about myself and my real life. It's an amazing feeling. (and my real life is not bad, btw!)

I've noticed that many of my friends and family read to get interesting information (dh and his biographies...), or because they appreciate beautiful prose from an artistic point of view. But not me. I read because I can become someone else and experience intense emotions. It used to be really easy to get lost in a book when I was younger, now that I'm older and more analytical it's a bit more challenging. But it still happens, with the right books.

shinmum Wed 12-Mar-14 20:59:46

Thanks for the advice - perhaps you might like to use a spell checker before you denounce the study of English?

shinmum Wed 12-Mar-14 20:59:59

Thanks for the advice - perhaps you might like to use a spell checker before you denounce the study of English?

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 12-Mar-14 21:27:03

If this is some sort of research for your degree, you might want to think about whether it's ok to mock people who respond for their spelling. Just because you don't like their opinion, it doesn't mean that it's not relevant. It's just a completely different opinion on English literature than you have.

You did ask for people's opinions, and suggested that they might not find escapism a valid use of their reading time. No comet has simply said that she values the escapism she gets from reading a book with lots of plot and a happy ending, and that she places no value on analysing books for deeper meaning or literary technique.

If I were to answer your question I'd say that I do two types of reading. In my professional life I read for information and argument. In my personal life I read mostly for escapism. I tend to read YA literature because it is often entertaining and enjoyable without seeking to make onerous demands upon me to make sense of it. I read enough 'hard' stuff at work that I don't want to read anything I find hard going.

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