Why Do I Read?

It's a question I hadn't ever given much thought to, until today. Why do I read? It's something I've done for as long as I can remember. Younger Alex would sit in front of the fireplace, surrounded by piles and piles of books, reading and reading and reading. I was as addicted then as I am now, but why? Why do I do it?

We were chatting in my creative non-fiction class about truth and the ethics within writing when it dawned on me that I don't ever pick up non-fiction books. This was proved further by the fact I hadn't read the book we were supposed to read for today's class, 'Running in the Family' by Michael Ondaatje.

Something about non-fiction triggers the boring alarm in my brain, which I know isn't always the case, but it's there and I'm trying to breakthrough.

I normally gravitate towards gothic fiction, dark romance, fantasy. I have dabbled in historical fiction from time to time, horror and a splash of sci-fi and have recently read two fictional self-help books, The Midnight Library and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which left me pondering for days. If you're an emotion sponge, I recommend maybe reading something a bit sillier in between those two. My current read is 'The Thursday Murder Club' by Richard Osman, which I'm enjoying quite a bit, and I'm audiobooking 'The Great Gatsby'.

Today I questioned, why? Why do I read the things I do? Do I read because it fills my spare time? Because I want to be inspired? Because I like to imagine different worlds and characters? Possibly, Yes, but I think the main reason I read is to escape. It's my time to check out of the real world and check in to something more wonderful. Worlds that don't exist anywhere but the imagination.

With that in mind, I see why non-fiction could be a turn off for me initially. Non-fiction looks at the real-world closely. It's often more fact than fiction, despite having elements of fancy thrown in. It's all about reality. We learn the most from these stories but when you have a sensitive soul it can be hard to enjoy reading them, especially when they're about sad or tragic events. It's like going to a theme park. Some people go because they love the thrill of the fast rides. They feel free and for a moment the world doesn't exist, but if you're scared of rollercoasters, the enjoyment isn't there. Am I just spinning around on a rollercoaster, scared of the realities that come from reading non-fiction?

I don't think I've given non-fiction a real chance, so I'm going to attempt to read 'Running in the Family' and possibly a few other non-fiction's before I truly make up my mind, and I'll fill you in on my thoughts later on.

Thank you so much for reading, and wish me luck!

Alex Allison


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