Posted by: Matt | April 11, 2007

Why Do I Read?

The other day I began to wonder why it is that I read.  Why do I move on to the next book after finishing the last?  What is it that keeps pulling me forward, giving me the motivation to continue reading book after book.  Do I read to obtain facts, to become more culturally informed, to increase intelligence, or something else?  I suppose at times some or all of those are reason enough.  But I think what has really addicted me to reading is emotion.

When I think about my favorite books and why they became favorites, there is one thing they all have in common:  their ability to draw me in emotionally.  The most powerful thing an author can do is invest me emotionally in his/her story.  This is not only what gives me reason to keep reading but what makes a book a favorite.  I want a book to make me feel; to give me joy when the characters feel joy, sorrow when they feel sorrow, terror when they feel terror.  After I finish one book I pick up the next hoping to feel that emotional connection, hoping it will become my new favorite.  Feeling and emotion remain long after the words have faded from memory.  I don’t remember every little plot detail from my favorite novels, but I do remember how I felt as I read them.  And that is why I read.

Why do you read?



  1. I read because I have to. If i didn’t read, there would be a huge and gaping book-shaped hole in my life that couldn’t be filled by anything else.

  2. I’ve noticed lately that the “book-shaped hole” that would be left in my life has been getting bigger and bigger. In other words, reading has become almost an addiction lately, but it’s a good addiction right?

  3. I think it’s a good addiction! I read for the same reasons you’ve mentioned, and also because I think it is one of the most essentially hopeful activities I know.

  4. I’d like to say I read for the entertainment value alone. It’s nicer than the truth- like you, I’m addicted to reading. I’m a traveller at heart I think, despite going on few vacations ($ is an issue), so maybe reading fills that void. Not to say it’s all about escape, but it’s nice to get inside someone else’s head for a while.

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