Why do you read?

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I recently read an article by what I would call a “power reader.” He reads at least two hours per day, at least 100 books a year and often twice that many. Not surprisingly, he reads in all the obvious places: home, trains, planes, buses, public parks, as well as the not so obvious: during concerts and plays, waiting for people to emerge from comas, during a medical treatment. He reads mostly fiction.

He writes that he has figured out why he reads so much: he wants to be somewhere else. He considers his real world to be reasonably satisfactory but the world conjured up by books is a better one. He reads to escape to a more exciting, more rewarding world.

I read a lot too, but not that much. I read more fiction than nonfiction, but still a fair amount of nonfiction. As I think about it, I agree that fiction reading is often to escape to a different world, though I’m not so sure it is always more exciting or rewarding. My nonfiction reading seems to be more about an interest in a different time, place, or person, not necessarily that I want to be there….I want to know about it though.

Beyond that, I’m not going to overly analyze why I read. I just know I enjoy it. Why do you read?

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Posted by Ann Rohrbaugh at 03/18/2013 10:08:02 AM | 


It makes me a better, more ethical person. Readers can feel this happening to them, but now studies show that reading expands our circle of empathy for other points of view and other people. With fiction you really connect with characters that are different from you. With the nonfiction I read, I connect with the ideas--and the people behind them. Great post Ann.
Posted by: Matt S ( Email ) at 3/20/2013 3:34 PM


I read to learn. Music serves as my escape (when I want to be "somewhere else") so I seldom if ever read fiction. But learning about people, places and events of the past usually catches my intrest. I also read a lot for my work; to learn something new, or to be better at something I know.
Posted by: keith ( Email ) at 3/20/2013 4:19 PM


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