As a creative writing MFA student, I feel like I hear a lot of people tell me why they read. I’ve always been fascinated with this because I sometimes feel like an outsider when this question comes up. I love exploring the human condition and learning something new, but really the main reason that I read is pure escapism!
Academic crowds don’t seem to value escapism very much, and I’ve been told several times that this is a very shallow reason. But it’s still my honest reason. I read so that I can have a break from my life. I have a great life, and I know I should appreciate it more, but I also have a lot of anxiety and occasional depression. Books help me leave this behind, at least temporarily. If that’s shallow, then I guess I should just embrace being shallow.
I bring this up because I’m curious if it will get a response – why do you read? Are you part of academic circles or commercial circles or both? Are there specific genres you always read or do you read a variety of things?
My life at the library is a lot different than my life in academia. I work in a public library, and I see all sorts of people – those who love literary fiction or academic subjects, those who only read for escapism, and those who really prefer not to read at all and would rather get DVDs. I think that all of these things are okay – I don’t like passing judgement regarding how people are entertained or spend their free time. But I’m still curious – why do you read?