Question: Why Do You Read?

Posted October 16, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 86 Comments


I read for a variety of reasons, but the main one is probably to escape. The daily grind has a way of weighing down even the most happy-go-lucky among us with work commitments, family life, and a seemingly never ending to-do list. Sometimes it’s nice to forget that I have bills to pay, let the dishes sit in the sink over the weekend, ignore the most recent in-law drama, and just lose myself in a fictional world. You can’t turn on your TV/radio or step outside without being bombarded by the latest human tragedy, however when your nose is buried in a novel, it all fades into the background. You won’t find any biographies, textbooks, or history volumes on my nightstand because I have no interest is feeding my brain other than maybe expanding my vocabulary, and that’s simply an added bonus.

Entertainment is another reason why reading ranks as high at it does on my priorities list. I love seeing what shenanigans my favourite characters are up to, crushing on some grade-A werewolf man-candy, and getting dirty looks from peeps when I laugh out loud or start crying after an especially poignant scene. Getting to live vicariously through someone else’s eyes is a nice perk as well because I get to travel to all kinds of exotic locations and experience a wide range of activities without ever having to leave the comfort of my living room. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own real life bucket list, but money and time are always tight, so reading is a workaround until I win the lottery. LOL

My mother was a reader, so this hobby was instilled upon me at a very early age; she passed away from breast cancer five years ago, and this is only a side benefit, but my fiction addiction also makes me feel closer to her. I’ll sometimes revisit old stories, and reminisce about a convo we shared about a certain author because those are the good memories that are worth cherishing. And finally, I know this might sound strange, but I also read to get some alone time whether it be to escape my coworkers in the middle of a busy cafeteria or my husband while we’re sitting side-by-side on the couch. Books allow me to fly solo without having to hike to a secluded spot in the woodsβ€”the one way I can be alone without actually BEING alone.

Why Do YOU Read?

Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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86 responses to “Question: Why Do You Read?

  1. I’ve always said that I live my life vicariously through fictional characters. To be honest, I don’t know that I want the lives of many of my fictional friends, they have it pretty tough sometimes.

    I also read because authors seem to be the only ones with original thoughts. When I watch TV or movies these days, it all seems to be a remake of something. How many times can we remake Spiderman or Batman? We have TV shows based on movies, movies based on TV shows that are based on books. It seems that the only original content comes from books. Yes, there are exceptions, but the amount of money that it takes to create a movie or TV show is so high, that execs want something that they know will be a hit and proven, so they take a best selling novel and make it into a TV show or movie.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2014 (Win a $25.00 Giftcard)

    • You raise a good point about original ideas, you see taglines like ‘this book is exactly like The Hunger Games’ way more in YA than in UF / PNR which is yet another reason why that genre remains near the bottom of my reading pile.

      I don’t want to fight vampires, or turn into a werewolf, but skydiving is as close as I’ll ever come to flying minus the airplane, and I want to try someday.

  2. We read for a lot of the same reasons, Carmel – escape, entertainment, living vicariously through words. I also read to feel – happiness, love, sadness, etc. I read to learn from the characters’ experiences and what they get from it, as well as new words ands places I’ve never known. I read to feel like I’m not alone. I read for many reasons really, and I don’t think I can really put it all into words. But I’m sure that a lot of readers would have interesting and heartfelt answers to this question. πŸ™‚
    Francine Soleil recently posted…Help Wanted!

    • Ha! I read to feel like I’m alone while as you do the opposite; I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. The FEELS are definitely an added bonus, and I’m sure I missed a bunch of reasons, so I’m eager to see what today’s commenters have to say.

  3. Hmmm…this is actually kind of a tough question for me! I read for fun, not really to escape, but to experience new places and things (or read really top notch banter!) while drinking my coffee. I also read for knowledge, since I’m a pretty big non-fiction reader even when I’m not in school. Mostly history and politics, but sometimes I’ll read one of those pop-science books that gets really big (like Quiet or Guns, Germs, and Steel). I probably read so much because it was something my parents used to do with me every night for basically my entire childhood. It’s ingrained, baby!
    Danya recently posted…Tough Traveling: Desert Nomads

    • Oh yes, I love snark! I can’t open my mouth without a little bit slipping out, and it’s not always appropriate for everyday conversations, so sometimes it’s nice to get my fix via books.

  4. My mom was a reader too but I don’t think that is why I read. For me I think it has always been about escaping into another time, place, and world. I love getting lost in things and reading was the easiest way to do it.

    AS an adult I read to decompress and destress. Reading relaxes me, even when I get hyped up about a story and even though I love movies, nothing is ever quite as good as the books and being able to picture everything for your self. πŸ˜‰
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

    • Exactly! This is why I always try to read the book before watching the movie, otherwise it’s just not the same. My mom always had a novel in her hand, and so do I. LOL

  5. Nathan ( from reviewbarn)  

    I really like stories. Even ones I find silly I want to know the whole story. Other things go into it, but my constant desire to know how it ends pushes me. That is why I always read the second half of books faster than the first as well; I hit a certain point and wont put my book down.
    Nathan ( recently posted…Tough Travels Desert Nomads

  6. I have always been a big reader. I think I might be the only one in my family that does. My kids always see me reading, I can only hope they do the same.
    I read to escape. I read instead of watch television. It makes me feel more, imagine more, experience more.
    I am, therefore, I read.

    • I remember my mom reading while the TV was on, and my dad would switch the channel. She’d get pissed, and he’d be like you weren’t even watching it! 5 minutes later he’d change it back, and she wouldn’t even notice. LOL

  7. I grew up hanging out in libraries (homeschooled and the library was my mom’s way of getting us out of the house once in a while lol). I’ve loved reading since I was a young kid and that’s followed me into adulthood πŸ™‚ It’s ‘me’ time, where I can shut everything else out!
    Finley Jayne recently posted…{Halloween Special} The Master Of Creepiness

  8. julie from m5monkeys  

    I have always been a reader my whole life. My mom always had a book in her hand along with my greandma. I like to read to escape life , kids . I love books because they take me to different places. That’s why I read.
    julie recently posted…Snow like Ashes

  9. YES CARMEL!!! I read for the escape as well. Give me vamps and shifters and crazy paranormal things any day because I want to escape from reality for a while. I was never a big reader in high school or college, I only read what I needed to for my classes, but not long after I discovered the paranormal romance and UF genre I became an avid reader. No nonfiction for me either, give me the supernatural sexy times:)

    • I read all throughout school, not as much as I do now mind you because assigned texts kinda take the fun out of doing it as a hobby. I keep wondering when I’m going to get sick of paranormal as many of my blogger peeps have, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hehe!

  10. i think i do read ostly to escape as well and to keep hope…. life can be so difficult and harsh that we could feel like giving up. i always found confort in books it can make you diiscover fantastic world, show you how differents species can get together no matter teh obstacles and the HEA after all the ambushs… it show me that yes hope it still there because if the character got their with everything that trioed to prevent it..; then our life being more simple we will get ours too just need to be patient

    My mother always read but when she is in her books you can call and everything she won’t notice… i love that feeling ( but for me it(‘s only with book i really love above teh others^^)
    miki recently posted…Captured (Fallen Siren 0.5) by SJ Harper

    • Unfortunately it is rather rare that a group of people from diverse backgrounds come together to fight a common foe in RL, so it’s definitely refreshing to see that happen more often in books. I’m never so immersed in a story that I don’t know what’s going on around me, but sometimes I pretend I am just to gain a few extra minutes of reading time.

    • Winning the lotto is a very distant plan Z, but you never know! LOL Everything about books makes me happy; the covers, the blurbs, the smell, reading ’em… I’m a total addict!

    • No matter how much life may get me down sometimes, fictional characters always seem to have it way worse than me, so that in a way kinda makes me feel better too. Well, until they get their HEA, then I am jealous. Haha!

  11. Roro  

    To escape from reality for a few hours . Fun , sometimes fluffy reads are great for that .
    Secondly, to feel emotions and gritty , grimy ones are great for that . Grim dark fantasy or super realistic contemporary . With all of the heartache and sadness

    And lastly, reading awesomely done written words .

    Yep ^_^

  12. This is a hard question for me to answer because I feel like my answer has changed throughout the years. But right now I feel like I read because I just enjoy it. I’ve never really read as a type of ‘escape’ if you want to call it that but as a learning experience. I love stories and being inside other peoples heads and finding out how other people would handle situations differently than I do. I think it really all bottles down to the fact that I love learning and experiencing and reading gives that to me. Great discussion post Carmel!
    Lily recently posted…STALKING–Hot or Not in YA?

    • When I saw your tweet, I was expecting an epic answer, and although yours is funny, I’m not overly surprised. πŸ˜› However, I think you need to be introduced to this little thing called the internet where porn is plentiful and free.

  13. Hear, hear, Carmel. I read for the same reasons – escape, entertainment. I also read because…well, I’m an addict. Seriously. If I don’t get my reading time, I go through withdrawals and am not a person anyone wants to be around. So there is that. πŸ™‚

    By the way, I’m sorry you lost your mom but I’m glad reading helps you feel close to her. πŸ˜€
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**That’s What HE Said ~ #15**

    • Everyone needs a least one vice in their lives, and all things considering, reading is far from being the worst out of the bunch. Yes, it makes us anti-social, and can wreak havoc on our bank accounts, but those repercussions are minor IMO.

  14. I read because I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t be a reader. But, and this is probably a really weird answer, I don’t really read to be alone… I read to feel less alone. It’s hard to really explain it but as an introvert who tends to like everyone I find it hard to connect with real people. I constantly feel judged and have had so many experiences where people have treated me like a doormat. Books don’t do that and the characters inside stand up for themselves (well, most of the time that’s how it works) and for others. But yeah, it’s a form of escape in that regard too I guess.
    Rhianna recently posted…OUTLANDER GIVEAWAY!!!

    • I’m an introvert too, and have suffered my fair share of bullying, but now I just don’t give a sh*t anymore. My big mouth sometimes gets me into trouble mind you. I forget that I’m not an UF heroine, and telling your boss off is NOT COOL. πŸ˜‰

  15. I have always been a reader. I used to read for hours on end, and I would still if I didn’t have two busy, noisy children. I am with you, I read to escape and I don’t read a bunch of drama or non fiction books. I want to laugh and have fun when I read. When my kids go to bed at night, I savor that two hours or so I have to read when all is quiet, it is the best time of the day for me.
    Heidi recently posted…Something Wicked Strikes Day #16: Tour Stop: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters: Guest Post, Review & Giveaway!

    • I reminder the good ol’ days when I used to spend hours on end reading; I do manage to do that occasionally on weekends, but it’s rare. Now, I’ll take whatever I can get whether it be 5 minutes or an afternoon. Beggars can’t be choosers!

  16. I started reading romance books when I was in year 9 b/c it was something different, then it become a entertainment and now its way of life. I can’t imagine not reading. Reading just makes me very happy. It also feels like an adventure from the safety of my own bed and as you mentioned escape, from how mundane real life can be at times.
    Izy recently posted…Review: Masters of Seduction Collection

    • It’s definitely a way of life for me as well. I often find myself planning my days around my reading time. Nothing makes a work day suck less than knowing that you get to come home to a good book.

  17. I’m right there with ya — I read for escape and entertainment. It’s also my way of relieving stress. Sometimes when things are just too crazy, I just need to take a few minutes to read a book (like a time out), and I feel better. Things might still be crazy, but I feel better equipped to handle the craziness. If that makes any sense! LOL! πŸ™‚
    Tricia recently posted…The Mortal Instruments TV Show – Will You Watch?

  18. I read for a variety of reasons: 1) to escape, 2) to get ideas for books, 3) to improve my writing (hopefully by osmosis!), and 4) to forget that I’m on the treadmill, since that’s usually where I’m reading. The miles fly by!

  19. I read to escape from the real world and de-stress. I’ve always had a book in my hands since childhood and it’s something I’ve carried with me into my adult life (thank goodness!!!). I love to get lost in a new world with sexy alpha and kick ass heroines even if it’s just while I’m on my way to work…LOL Why do I read? I guess the better question is why not? Who doesn’t enjoy an inexpensive mini vacation from real life?! πŸ˜‰
    Lori recently posted…Book Spotlight: Desert Bound by Elizabeth Hunter + Giveaway

    • Inexpensive is a matter of perspective I guess; I’m sure that I could have paid for a pretty sweet vacay with all of the books that I’ve purchased over the years. LOL

  20. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    I’ve always read, but I gotta admit, it got way more fun once I started blogging. It’s really cool to be able to go to the bookstore, see all the stuff in the SFF section and go, wow, I’ve read a lot of those. Plus, it’s so much fun talking to other bloggers about the books you’ve read.
    Mogsy recently posted…Tough Traveling: Desert Nomads

    • Blogging has definitely added another dimension to my reading as well. I love interacting with authors & fellow readers, and free books are a definite perk too.

  21. You’ve summed it up nicely for me, too–escape and entertainment,and my mother was/is a reader, too!

    I’m sorry to hear your mother passed away, but it’s lovely that you can still think of her when you are doing something you enjoy so much. I think parents who read definitely breed children who read as well, as opposed to those who just tell their kids to read but never actually do it themselves.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…This Shattered World: blog tour sign-up

  22. I read to be entertained! And I agree with Melanie way up in this thread – TV and movies seem to be so similar, and most stories I see there make me think of other stories I have already read or watched.
    Also, when I read, the characters come alive in my mind, and they all look a certain way that is not like any human being I have ever laid my eyes on. This is a reason why I am often disappointed if I end up watching a movie based on a book I loved…
    And I can read anywhere I want, (more or less) anytime I want. My husband watches a lot of sports, and so I can be next to him, but read a story and lust after a crazy vampire, were or rock-star while he is shouting at the referees…
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: Ugly Love – Colleen Hoover

  23. This question made me pause a moment because I’ve always (or at least, as long as I can remember) read. It’s just what I do. But like you, it’s escape and entertainment. I like experiencing the adventures and emotions.
    Amanda recently posted…Blind Date with a Book

  24. I think my answer would be the same. Entertainment and escape. My mom also read a lot and it’s nice to have something in common with her and I share a lot of my books with her even though we have a lot of differences in taste I have convinced her to try things she normally wouldn’t have, and she ended up loving them. Like she’s a total fan of YA time travel books now. I never would have guessed!
    Candace recently posted…Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

    • That’s funny about your mom’s reading preferences, mine liked thrillers and mysteries, but she also loved the Harry Potter series, so you just never know.