There are a whole host of reasons to read a book, there’s also some snobbery around it, but we’re positive here so we’ll ignore that debate. I’m a reader, and I choose different books for different reasons. This will hopefully also help to remind writers that there are many reasons to write your book! Sometimes it can be so easy to fall down the hole of thinking that it’s not worth it, but it is!
Onto the reasons.
The world is a dark, miserable, and chaotic place. Sometimes, we really just need to escape into another world. There’s nothing wrong with this! Reading is a good way to de-stress and work out emotional entanglements we may have locked away in our subconscious. It gives us a safe place to be happy and soothe away whatever issues we may be facing at the time.
Writing a book that’s designed for fun escapism is a great thing! You’re providing a safe place for people to go and be happy for a while.
The story needs to be told.
Sometimes the story really needs to be told. Maybe a voice needs to be given to a particular person, or group of people. This is an opportunity to get something important across to a wider group of people. Perhaps it will open some eyes and allow progress to be made on a larger scale.
It can be a hard book to tell, but perhaps the most satisfying. If you have a story that needs to be told, stick with it, get your story out there.
Exploration of society.
I wasn’t quite sure how to title this one. Sometimes, we read because we want to explore a particular concept either within society or about where society is going. It can be easier to consider these ideas through the lens of fiction rather than looking at cold hard facts. The lens of fiction gives a degree of separation and can allow some things to shake loose. Maybe we’re concerned about global warming, or the feminist movement, or something else that has an effect on society. A book that touches on those things, whether overtly or subtly, can help us figure some things out.
These can be hard to write, but when handled well they can make a positive difference.
Exploration of the psyche.
Sometimes we read to understand both ourselves and those around us. The world is a cold, hard, place and that can lead to a lot of emotional trauma and confusion. Reading about characters’ journeys, seeing how they explore similar or even wildly different situations, can help us understand and grow. It’s amazing how reading about a dragon slaying boy can help us figure out how to approach our career, or stand up to our principle.
These are another one that can be difficult to write, but you can potentially change people’s lives. You can give them strength, courage, acceptance, and understanding.
Exploration of something entirely different.
Sometimes we want to look into a culture entirely different to ours, or a historical period. We want to experience something vastly different to our own daily lives. This can be a fantastic way to grow and progress as a person. It can be so wonderfully enlightening to do this.
This is a bit like the story that must be told, there’s so much potential for encouraging understanding in writing these stories.
This is a lot like the exploration of the psyche. Sometimes, we read because we’re trying to figure out who we are and where we fit into society. Fiction gives us a way to do that. This is particularly important for those people who fall outside of the majority. Seeing ourselves reflected in fiction, seeing our potential and the possibilities that stretch before us, is a wonderful positive thing. Again they don’t have to be overt. They can be subtle and buried beneath shifters and fae and in a magical world where everything sparkles and rainbows hunt you down once the sun rises.
Don’t be scared to write about the characters that call to you. Write the characters you love, someone will identify with them, and you can potentially brighten someone’s world with that character.
What other reasons are there for reading?