Why read a book? (Competition)

Fuel for the soul
Fuel for the soul

Several years ago I attended the wedding of a friend. At the table I was chatting to one of the guests and the topic of reading came up. I was flabbergasted when she asked ‘why would you read a book?’ She simply did not see the point. For someone for whom books have been central for most of my life it was like being transported to a foreign planet where I had to try to understand the aliens. Bookshelves, libraries, the comfort of being tucked up with a book, the feeling of never wanting a book to end, stories, lives, places, all these feelings a book engenders. At the time I stumbled over an answer to the woman’s question, I was so taken aback. So I want to ask you. What would YOU answer this woman? To make it interesting I will offer a signed copy of Housewife with a Half-Life and a Ten pound Amazon gift voucher to a winner I choose. Entries in by July 19th. Just add your thoughts to the comments.

Also interesting is this article on how reading helps with anxiety. I certainly find reading great for gathering together my overactive thoughts and it gives me a feeling of relaxation and comfort.

Update: Dear Readers Heather Walker has won the Amazon voucher (more reading!) and complimentary copy of the alternate worlds comedy Housewife with a Half-Life. Thanks for all your comments and congratulations to Heather!

17 thoughts on “Why read a book? (Competition)

  1. I’d send them to Michelle Elvy (Love, Story).

    I don’t know how I’d answer myself. I suppose I’d say that reading takes me to Otherworlds, which in many ways is probably where I belong.

    1. alisonwells

      Yes Caren, it WAS staggering. But its a good way of discovering that our unquestionable reality is another person’s mystery. Yes, I read to connect with humanity and write to tell others they are not alone. Thanks for sharing CS. Lewis’ quote.

  2. I read to escape from the chaos around me that is the single parenting / freelancing hamster wheel. Having said that because of the said hamster wheel I have very limited reading time, but when I do find the time to really sit and read, I find myself transported away and absorbing the story.

    I choose to read non fiction quite often (autobiogs, real crime and history) because I am fascinated by what makes people tick.

    I can totally understand how reading can help with anxiety as well, as when you are truly focusing on a book you forget everything else that is going on.

    I don’t need to be in the hat as I already have your book. I just wanted to reply anyway.

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Rebecca, I’ve got into the non-fiction recently. My Mum is a wonderful compassionate woman with a great interest in people in her daily life and has seen others and gone through tough times herself. She’s a huge consumer of autobiographies and true life tales. I find the non-fiction great for turning outwards and seeing how others negotiate the ups and downs of life and, as you say yourself, what makes people tick. (I’m reading a true crime at the moment.) Sometimes I find it difficult to switch off and read but once you do get immersed in a story, it really can help to spirit you into another reality. A great way of escape in your full on life as you say Rebecca x

  3. Ooh, I would probably go on a soft rant about why I read 🙂

    Woman:”Why would you read a book?”
    Me:”Why would you NOT read a book? Why would you not read a book and miss out on the brilliance of people’s minds, the play of words? Maybe I am just lucky enough to have accidentally opened the books that change the way I think, I don’t know, but there have been many many moments where someone’s words have given me clarity, offered me joy. Good books give readers something- they are like the best friends that give subtle advice on life, to never miss a chance to live, to always cherish what we’ve got. It’s people’s stories that we can often learn from. Great books surprise you with their alternative worlds where you can go and have an adventure- all you need is a bit of your own imagination to guide you. Why would I not read books? They’re definitely better than daytime TV!” 🙂

    1. alisonwells

      Thanks for so many wonderful reasons to read, surprise, advice, clarity, joy, you’ve hit on what is at the core of books.

  4. I think I would say that I have never met a more contented and peaceful soul than my late mother-in-law. We took her for a week’s holiday to Devon one summer and when we arrived, she opened her suitcase to discover she had forgotten to pack any of her clothes. Instead, there were twenty-five books neatly stacked in there. “Never mind,” she said. “I’ll be fine.”

    1. alisonwells

      Twenty five books and no clothes! What a wonderful lady. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that lovely story with us Joanna.

  5. Not only are books my escape from the everyday, I can live different lives in different
    time zones with many characters. Without a book to read I get edgy. It’s an addiction. Books have a certain smell, are tactile and the stories live with me long after I have finished them. I’ve learned so much from books and they have so much more depth than a film or TV programme. My kids used to steer me away from bookshops because they knew I’d be there for ages! I get very excited if I get book tokens for Christmas 🙂 Can’t live without them!

  6. claireking9

    I once met a man who told me he didn’t read books. But he did think one day he would like to write one himself. “About my life,” he said, “I’ve had a really interesting life.” I wondered if he ought to have read more books, just so he could make the comparison.

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