Friday, December 20, 2013

Why Do We Read?

A couple days ago, I came across this article entitled "Damsels in Distress: Why Do So Many Contemporary Women Read Old-Fashioned Romance Novels?" In this article, the author ponders why there are so many women that enjoy romance novels and then he chalks it up to things like this: "Perhaps most women (even the ones who get lost in romance novels) do not want to go all the way back – but it is obvious, they are unhappy with how the world has turned out in the contemporary era."


While I find the article a bit offensive (why is it not okay for women to read what they want simply because they want to read it???), it got me to thinking a little bit more about why I read or rather why any of us read. I know that for me personally I usually don't find myself reading because I want to have lives like the characters or the people in the book. I'm usually not yearning for something in my own life. I read to be entertained. I read to escape. I read to learn. Of course there is probably a character or two or a real life person in one of the biographies that I love to read where I do think about how it would be to be more like that person or that person exactly but I would not say that's my main purpose in reading. And that only happens once in awhile. You can find someone's life fascinating and not want to be them!

It is simply not as cut and dry as wanting to be another person. We read to learn about others and to share in parts of the human existence that we have not experienced ourselves. We want to put ourselves in other people's shoes. Not a single one of us has the same set of experiences and thoughts so to be able to share an experience or thought through a book is truly a special thing!

Why do you read?


  1. Agreed - I certainly don't want to be like the majority of the characters I read about! I like to stoke my imagination, find new ideas/things to look up and research. And have fun!

  2. Well put, Meg. I read to be entertained, to escape, and to learn a thing or two also.

  3. Exactly! I like to be entertained - whatever the story it is, I'm not always envisioning myself as the main character. I certainly not unhappy and longing for some escapism.

  4. This is really interesting! I definitely do not read because I'm envious of the characters and want to be like them! I read like you, for enjoyment-because I want to see into someone else's life and see them grow, watch them pick themselves up when they're down and watch them have fun! I love stories about character development and it makes me so happy watching them grow from beginning to end. I certainly don't want to be them ;)


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