Why Do You Read?

Why Do You Read?

I read because it gives me pleasure. I mostly read fiction, but sometimes a good biography or popular science will do. For me, process of reading begins not with turning page (or pressing a button on my e-book). For me, it all begins with anticipation when I read description on GoodReads. Followed by immersion in the very atmosphere of the book, empathy to the characters and the desire to know what happens next. Feelings, nothing you can compare with and can’t feel anywhere else. Films? Pfft, for all of the time I’ve been reading books only one screen version was better than printed one — “The 100”. That’s all! In all other cases, what described in the books is so exciting to me, that I literally can see it all in front of my eyes. Letters and symbols on my e-book turn into something bigger. I guess, everyone who ever read something exciting understand what I mean. And that feeling is really magical.

The very first book I liked was “Nobody’s Boy” by Hector Malot, and I was about eleven back then. Then I remember reading “The Man Who Laughs” by Victor Hugo and that book about Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These are some of the greatest, I guess. And this is pretty much about my childhood relationships with books. It’s like a first love — you can never really forget her :)

“4,560,110 Earthlings fell in love today;
4,567,007 fell out of love.”
— Douglas Coupland — “Shampoo Planet”

I began to read more consciously about six years ago when I was studying at the university. And here starts that book reading mania that is not backing off of me and I hope it wont. It all started with one book, then one more, then another and another… And now I’m reading 52 books per year or one book every week, give or take, for the last two years. Last year I really wanted to read 50 books. It was like a challenge to me: can I do this? But this year I was hoping to read about 30 but it comes to that magic number again. But it’s not about quantity. Reading helps me develop my imagination and in some measure fills in my vocabulary. It teaches me to build sentences (note that I didn’t say “correctly build” because correct isn’t always fun) [this applies only to russian language which is my primary]. It gives me an opportunity to experience something what will never happen to me or already happened and it feels like author found out about that episode of my life somehow. Different stories show interesting outputs from various situations which affects my creativity. I notice, how my view of the world is changing after every book I read. And reading in english since I’m a russian-speaking person — is a priceless experience.

But all of the above is not the purpose of my reading. It’s all just “side effects”. What I want to see in the book in the first place — is the story and how it described so it will make me want to dive into it completely. First book of that kind was “Shampoo Planet” by Douglas Coupland. The atmosphere of this book, interesting dialogues, peculiar characters and unexpected twists just put me in some kind of trance. I began to see this world through prism of that book. I wanted my life to become like Tyler’s life. Yeah, it really affected on me in some way. Actually, most of Coupland’s books are written with such manner. That’s why he became one of my favorite authors. Later on, Haruki Murakami and John Green completed the list. These two are holy geniuses of words. Every sentence is worth quoting. For example:

“Like going to the other side of the moon to have a smoke”
— Haruki Murakami — “A Perfect Day for Kangaroos”

How on earth could you think of that?! And yet, sometimes it’s the most precise phrase to describe a feeling. And that is why you should read books, just for the sake of the words like this.