05 September 2011

Why do I like reading?

Since that post on books I've been thinking why I like reading. What is it that has always drawn me so strongly and irresistably towards books?

The first thing must be the magic of the story, the yarn spun from page to page, drawing you ever deeper into the plot, the characters and events. It was impossible to resist the temptation presented by the mystery of the unknown and the thrill of the suspense was, oh so addictive.

Then there's the imagination, whole new worlds and universes, which provided backdrops against which I could stage my childhood fantasies and play with them, turning them this way and that, playing a hero or a victim, a savior or a villain, a sheriff or a vigilante, a cowboy or an Indian, depending on the mood. I must have been an avid daydreamer back then. It is from these stagings, I guess, that my power of visualization developed, a blessing and a curse that's been with me from a very early age.

And finally, I think that the seclusion that reading offered is what I enjoyed. Even as a child I liked being alone and was never bored. Reading offered an opportunity to be alone when I was not, an opportunity to set myself apart from the rest of the world. And it worked.

Then came university (and later work) and a different kind of reading that I needed to learn. Reading for study, dissecting, analyzing. I didn't enjoy that as much. I had a feeling that it stripped books of their magic. And that is, at least partly, why I did not go on to study literature but opted for a different line of work. And I'm not sorry because the magic is back :)