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Musings on Why I Read

For someone who constantly alleged she had “no time for reading” and was “always busy” I sure found time to read a lot of books in April! This month I managed to finish seven books, the most I’ve read in any month this year, for a total of 1,954 pages. That makes my year-to-date total to 5,406 pages! That feels like a lot to me.

For the last several weeks I’ve been thinking about why I read. It started when I tried to explain to my boss why I took so long to start Under the Banner of Heaven, even though I’ve wanted to read it forever. I told her I put it off because I needed to get some shorter books read so I had enough books finished so I could post a review every single week. She laughed at that, and after I said it I realized how odd it must have sounded to someone who doesn’t blog.

Then I started to think about why I read at all, and I realized that part of the reason I keep reading a priority is because of this blog. I’ve stopped watching tv shows because when I do I get sucked into them, avoid my homework, and don’t read anything for fun. I think if left to my own devices, I’d spend most of my free time zoning out in front of the tube rather than exploring all the fantastic books there are to read.

I don’t mean to say that I wouldn’t read without my blog. I love getting lost in a good book. I love the feeling when you pull yourself away from a story to see that hours have passed without you noticing. I love the feeling of carrying a book in my purse and knowing it’s there if I have a few spare minutes during my day. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I don’t ever really see that changing. I’ll always read.

What I think I mean is that I wouldn’t read as much or as well as I’m reading now if I weren’t blogging. If I didn’t want to review and think about books in a public way, I don’t know what exactly I’d be reading, but it would probably not be that interesting. And you know, part of the reason I keep blogging is because of the feedback I get from all of you.

So I guess this ramble is my way of a thank you. Thank you for helping me be motivated to read. Thank you for helping me be motivated to blog. Thank you for being so great that I’m motivated to participate in the conversations you start on your blogs. Just, thank you.

There’s been lots of discussions around the book blogosphere lately about why we blog and what we should be doing as bloggers. Those conversations are important, but I ultimately think the whole discussion boils down to something pretty darn simple…

I love to read books and write about books. My blog is part of a book blogosphere full of people who love to read books and write about books too. The Interwebs gives us a place to connect, ignoring geography, so we can share our love of reading. That’s the power of book blogging, and in all of the stuff that is going on online and in my real life, I just don’t want to forget that.

EDITED: I forgot a question! Pretty simple this time… why do you read?

Photos by suchirta prints and takomabibelot

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Steph April 30, 2009, 9:57 am

    I think this was a great post! It echos a lot of my thoughts and feelings about reading and book blogging in general. I think it’s really weird for people to talk about what a book blogger should and shouldn’t do – everyone’s blog is his or her own site, so they can (and should!) do what they wish with it! We wouldn’t tell each other what the purpose of a journal is or what aims it should strive to meet, so why a blog? It seems that more and more, people are using blogs in lieu of traditional journals and diaries. But I’m not going to get into a rant here in the comments! 😉

    The one thing I definitely connected with in your review is avoiding lengthier books because I worry I’ll not have content for my own site. I want to try to tackle that fear and realize it doesn’t matter (or perhaps do updates every 100 pages or so for lengthier books) how much I read so long as I feel rewarded, but it’s hard! I do think though that since becoming more active in the book blogging world that my reading has increased and I’ve become a more discerning reader.

  • Lynn April 30, 2009, 11:12 am

    I totally understand what you mean about reading so you can blog. I have the added dimension of blogging about books for my son. Sometimes I have to step back and remember why I read with him, and make sure I’m picking books he’ll love and not just that will make for a good blog post.
    Lynn at Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile

  • Devourer of Books April 30, 2009, 11:42 am

    Fantastic post. I agree that blogging probably improves both the quantity and the quality of my reading, partly because I want to read and write about things that I and my readers will find interesting, and partly because I get more fantastic recommendations from other bloggers than I can possibly every get to.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) April 30, 2009, 11:44 am

    What a well thought out post! I agree – I read much more now, than I ever did before I was blogging. I love the feedback I get from other bloggers, and the encouragement to read along with other people. Here’s to many more years of blogging!

  • bermudaonion April 30, 2009, 11:51 am

    I’m glad you love to read and write about books because I love your blog!

  • Jeanne April 30, 2009, 2:32 pm

    Asking why I read is kind of like asking why I breathe. I just have to. Blogging hasn’t changed my reading habits much, except to make me mark things more, for later reference. I like blogging because I like talking about a lot of the things I read, and it’s especially fun when other people talk back.

  • Nymeth April 30, 2009, 4:19 pm

    Perfectly put, Kim. Blogging has definitely motivate me to read more, to read more widely, and more importantly, to read better and more attentively. I’m so grateful for that.

  • Karen April 30, 2009, 6:49 pm

    Simple answer is I read because I love to! I love the escape reading brings me – even if I am reading a book about particularly real or heavy issues I still feel as though I am escaping into another world or another way of thinking.

  • Molly April 30, 2009, 8:02 pm

    Lovely post and it echos my sentiments exactly.

    Not only has blogging motivated me to read more – but it has also motivated me to experiment with different literary genres. It has expanded my horizons — and I too, am very grateful for the blogging influence.

  • Ali April 30, 2009, 11:44 pm

    This is definitely true for me, too–I read because I enjoy it, but having a blog helps me think about what I read in a different way (not to mention, actually remember what I read, months later). And I do read different things, because I’m exposed to more books through blogging.

  • Rebecca Reid May 1, 2009, 7:42 am

    I find myself doing the same thing, thinking “I need to finish reading this so I can review it on my blog!” I think it’s a good thing if one has a balanced life, but lately I’m feeling a bit too full of reading. I do love how blogging adds a dimension to my reading. I just hope it stays a good dimension.

  • CoversGirl May 1, 2009, 9:28 am

    I read because I couldn’t not read. I love books, I’m addicted to books, and I generally have two or more on the go. Because of my blog, I try never to read two huge books at once, and I’ve been known to look at my TBR pile and calculate what book to choose next in order to keep up the flow of reviews.

    Blogging has made me think more about the books I’ve read, and it’s brought me some great recommendations. Plus it’s introduced me to a community in which reading mountains of books is normal, and where I feel right at home.

  • Dorte H May 1, 2009, 2:39 pm

    “What I think I mean is that I wouldn’t read as much or as well as I’m reading now if I weren’t blogging.”
    I can second that. The first month I found myself spending a lot of time on writing my blog, visiting other blogs and commenting, but I have learnt to ´do my rounds´and find time for my reading as well. And I feel that I think much more about what I read because I want to share the experience with the readers of my blog.

    And why I read? Because I can, I think.

  • Jodie May 1, 2009, 2:44 pm

    I also get addicted to the tv sometimes, I think that’s why I don’t see the big book totals some people do, because I spend the ngiht hours watching box sets:)

    Why do I read? I actually think it’s the same reason I watch tv and like the theatre, I love seeing a story unfold. There’s just nothing better than seeing some people do some things and develop along the way! I could happily watch omnibuses of different soaps back to back because they’re filled with people just living and having really involved storylines. It’s the same with books, give me great characters jumping through the hoops of an absorbing plot and I’m on very happy girl. (This is also the same reason I’m a bit of an evesdropper I think).

    I know what you mean about not reading longer books. Now that I blog I find myself putting off the big books because I want to be able to blog regularly. This must stop because I love big books.

  • Lu May 2, 2009, 4:02 pm

    This is a great post! I know I read for a couple reasons. Because it was my first love and something that connected me to my extended family; my immediate family weren’t extended readers, but my grandmother and aunts were. Whenever we would talk about books, we would really get into it. We’d help each other find new books to read and everything. Now that my grandmother is gone, I miss that connection so much. I miss being able to talk to her about books. She’d had hand surgery a year or two before she died, so we were always trying to find new ways to help her read, between audio books and book “helpers” like that new pillow that’s everywhere. I would have loved to buy it for her.

    I also read because I like to write. I want to write one day, and the best way to get good at writing, other than continuously writing, is reading.

    I read because it is the one thing that I always love to do. No matter what. I feel empty and naked when I’m not in the middle of a book. It’s just part of who I am.

  • Sherrie May 3, 2009, 10:04 am

    Hi Kim,
    Why do I read? I love learning new things. Finding new authors to read. But mostly I like to read because I can travel all over the world without leaving my home! Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great weekend.


  • Fyrefly May 5, 2009, 2:04 pm

    Well said! I have noticed a decline in TV-watching since I started blogging. It’s partly because the TV got moved to the basement, so I have to make an effort to go and watch it, I can’t just be sucked in by something as I’m walking past… but it’s also because I’d rather be reading – partly because reading’s nifty, but also because I gotta have something to post about! 🙂