My Thoughts On Why We May Choose To Read

THIS MAY SOUND OBVIOUS TO MOST, but I am confident it is scantly felt on a visceral and sentimental level; i. e., we read because we want to expand our minds and move beyond the ignorances of everyday life. It is one thing for one to maintain a contention that he or she reads because they want to know more, but it is another for that same person to profess, quite accurately, that they’re reading to be less ignorant. The former is casual and similar to the every day roundabout pleasantries that we exchange with complete strangers, while the latter is more honest and worthy of nobility.

In addition to that, we may read because we want to protect ourselves from the embarrassments of making a statement like this; if you have money you can live anywhere you want, we are in a post-racial society, or, women are equal to men, why do they want more pay? Reading books, newspapers, online articles, or what have you, about the true state of affairs, enables you to transcend not only the ignorances in your own mind but, as well as, the follies harbored in the minds of your fellow countrymen.

Britsh novelist and screenwriter, Willaim Nicholson once wrote, “We read to know we’re not alone,” and I couldn’t agree more. Knowing there is a community of people that are reading with the same intellectual and emotional inclinations as you are—that is, to be less ignorant—-is a good thing. It relaxes the mind, stretches the spirit, and confirms the assumption, which was quite brilliantly exposed by William Nicholson, that your conquest is not a solo one. I mean, can you imagine if that wasn’t the case—-how scary and lonely it would feel to know that you were the one soul reading with the proclivity to de-sponge the ignorances of the populace? My word, that would be more than overwhelming—it would be a fucking nightmare!

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book,” wrote Jane Smiley. And how could you not? Books, with all their different shapes and sizes, arouse in me, and in people like Jane Smiley, all the sentimentalities we once thought were lost as a child—like, happiness, joy, and conquest. For those who may read for pleasure, to pass the time, to prevent boredom, or for the reasons of appearing more sophisticated than you really are, I do not wish to adjudicate on your rationalizations. However, my hope is that whatever you read, no matter how brief or pretentious that experience might have been, is that you still managed to walk away less ignorant and far more happier than you were before!

Main Photo from Unsplash and taken by photographer Hisu Lee

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