It amazes me, sometimes, that there are people out there who don’t read.
For myself, I can’t remember not reading or not having my own library card – growing up without a TV in the ’90s meant that learning about the world came from the books I read and the radio I listened to (so, Enid Blyton and The Archers). I grew up in a family which unconsciously valued books and reading – our meeting place for shopping-trips to the nearest town was either the library or the bookshop. I’ve collected library cards since and now only require one for Cornwall to have completed the West Country as far as Hampshire on my Library Card Map of the UK.
Reading took me to new and wonderful places, to worlds I reimagined in my games, and gave me friends other than my siblings. Yup, imaginary playmates all round. Some stories and characters taught me new skills – I spent quite some time honing my observational skills after discovering Sherlock Holmes – and others taught me valuable life-lessons, one of which is being greatly reinforced by the current Archers storyline with charmingly horrible Rob who seems to have persuaded the entire village he’s a really top bloke. Quite simply, beware any overly charming people. There’s probably something wrong with them. Or there’s an ulterior motive.
But more than anything, I read to be entertained, to feel the whole gamut of human emotions (because books and their characters are frequently more real than Real Life), and to experience things I wouldn’t otherwise experience. Like magic.
Besides, frankly, my dear, why not?
Why do you read?