Thursday Thought: Why Do We Read?

Posted on Jul 11, 2013 in Thursday Thought, What Are You Reading, YA | 22 comments

THURS THOUGHT:What We Don't Talk About..DNF-ingThis week I take us back to the most basic question there is… 

whydowereadSimple question, right?

Some people read because they were taught to, and it runs within their families.  Other people read as an escape from whatever is going on in their lives.  And others read simply because they want to be taken on an adventure every time they open a book.

But, I know I’m missing reasons, and I can’t wait to hear why it is that you have all fallen so deeply and passionately in love with books.

Here’s my story.  My dad is a reader, but my mother, next to never.  For a while, my brother was CONSTANTLY with his nose in a book, but once he got super busy at work in the city, that stopped.  My father has always been one for mysteries and suspense books.  Is it making sense yet?

One of his favorites?  

James Patterson

Thanks Dad.

James Patterson was my first love, but years later I realized what I was missing.  There are so many DIFFERENT adventures I could go on.  Simple ones, complex ones, different worlds to enter, different genres [thanks, Alexa] to explore.

So, needless to say, my dad started me on reading, but I kept myself reading.  I do it because while many like movies, I really do not.  Books are my love, and they are what I feel comfortable with.  I suppose, you can say…

Books are my comfort food.

So, please, chime on in and let me know why it is you read.  I know you are all going to have wonderful and different answers to this, and I truly am anticipating each and every one!

THURS THOUGHT:What We Don't Talk About..DNF-ing


  1. Great post! I definitely read because of my mom…and my local library. The house I grew up in was a 5 minute walk from the town library, and my mom used to take me there alllll the time. Some of my earliest memories with her are at story times at that library. It certainly had the desired effect, as I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love books! My father was not a reader, but my mom always has been, and that love passed down to me for sure. (Now my brother…that’s a different story. Haha.)
    Kelly recently posted…GIVEAWAY and Book Review: July 7th by Jill McCorkleMy Profile

    • Ah, a 5 min walk to the library!? TOTALLY amazing! I’m glad you grew up reading, I think its so important!

      And now you and your mom can share that love of books! [Guess your brother will have to sit that one out 😉 )

  2. I started reading at a very young age…Roald Dahl was my first obsession then RL Stine, then Stephen King. Now I read a bit of everything. I don’t think I inherited a reading “gene” from anyone in my family, but my sister also reads a lot and appreciates a good book! I think I read for myself, I like to escape the “real” world, yet I don’t like fantasy books – which might sound strange!
    Helen @ My Novel Opinion recently posted…A Novel Natter #1: Reading Multiple Books At OnceMy Profile

    • I totally understand what you mean! Regardless of a “fantasy world” or not, it is an escape nonetheless!

      And I LOVED RL Stine, and of course Beverly Cleary and Ann M. Martin! Ahhh, the days!

  3. My dad is a big reader. Growing up he always had a book on the nightstand and I loved that about him. I’ve always enjoyed reading….. but not the way I LIKE READING NOW! haha I FREAKING LOVE READING. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am a wife and a mama. It takes up a ridiculous amount of time and it got to a point that I felt my whole like was THAT! There is nothing wrong with it… but I needed something for me. Reading, particularly YA takes me back to my pre-responsibility days… a time when I had so much freedom and new experiences. I like to go back and remember those feelings and focus on things like school, love, and obviously crazy shit like aliens and vampires!! Definitely an escape for me. Plus, it keeps me young! I’m nowhere near ready for mom jeans and desperately searching for the best potato salad recipe to take to the church’s potluck dinner. 😉 I love that my kids want to grow up and read lots of books just like me. <3 That says so much!!

    • I love that you found something that suits you! And you are right! Pre-responsibility days = YA, well SOME TIMES, some of the kids in these books have awful parents and have to do EVERYTHING ::sad!::

      But regardless, it is SUPER AWESOME that your girls want to be like you and read when they grow up!! Makes me so happyyy <333

  4. You know, I really don’t know what got me started reading. Neither of my parents is into reading AT ALL. My oldest brother is the only other reader in the family besides me, so maybe that’s where it came from? It must be, because although I don’t remember him specifically encouraging me to read, I do remember him being the one to teach me other things, like how to write in cursive by the time I was 5…

    I kept reading because…I don’t know. It was like a drug to me. As a kid/teen I devoured books like other kids devoured candy. I was always ahead of my reading level, always participating in (and winning) the accelerated reader programs at school, always begging my parents for book fair money even though they rarely gave me any (they didn’t believe in spending money on books so the library was my best friend). Back then I read at least one book a day.

    Then I became an adult and had things like college and work to worry about, so my reading had severely slacked off but it’s still my absolute favorite pastime – more than playing video games or watching TV or photography, or any of that. I can’t really explain why I love to read so much….I guess I just love the reality escape. Books ARE my reality. In books I can do all the things I cant do in “real” life – travel, experience different cultures and events and so on, laugh, cry, kill, bring to life, etc.
    Shannon @ Twilight Sleep recently posted…Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Atom & Eve by Jeff YagerMy Profile

    • YES YES YES~! Love the escape part of this, and traveling and experiencing new cultures through books. I agree. What other way to immerse oneself?


  5. I love this post! Although it is a difficult question for me to answer. I have been asked it for years, and the question is: I’m not sure. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t loving reading.
    I think it’s a combination of things.

    My house is reading friendly. We’ve always gone to the library regularly. My parents both read to me when I was younger. When I was really little, my dad always read the smaller books to us. He was awesome at Dr. Seuss. When I got a little older, my mom started reading chapter books out loud to the family at night. Nancy Drew and Little House and Love Comes Softly. Individually, though, while my mom is a reader (though not to the extent I am), my dad isn’t at all.

    Books were always an option for me. I loved the worlds they provided. I loved the characters and the stories and everything that was totally more interesting than my own life. It wasn’t that my life was bad; it was good. But there was always a new adventure to be had, a new set of characters to get to know, a new relationship to watch develop and bloom, a new aspect of history to discover. There still is.

    Just as I can’t remember not loving to read, I can’t imagine my love of reading ever changing. Even though I go through periods where I watch television more than I read (although that hasn’t happened in a while), I never ever stop reading. And I’m more than okay with that. :)
    Sharon @ The Book Barbies recently posted…(Review) It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne LongMy Profile

    • You phrased this so beautifully Sharon, and I love that you grew up with reading/books around. It makes me happy, and I hope it continues for generations to come <3

  6. My parents bought me fairy tales when I was child and from there, I went on to discover Enid Blyton books, Sweet Valley, Sweet Dreams, RL Stine and finally, Harry Potter. I even read some of Sidney SHeldon when I was like 13 or something. But I love his books. It mostly because of my family (a little ) and my school library (a lot). I discovered HP via one of my classmates and it was such an amazing experience reading and discussing the books with her.

    So I guess I read because at my core I’m a reader. I sometimes don’t read or just not in the mood but I always come back to it. This makes me glad because no one in my family reads even though they used to. I, on the other hand, managed to find the time and devotion. Reading is part of who I am today and that is all I can ask for when it comes to books.
    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Best Book to Movie AdaptationsMy Profile

  7. I can’t tell you how much I adore the idea behind this post! It’s such a smart and original idea.

    The funny thing is, my family situation is almost the exact opposite of yours – My mom is a voracious reader and is never without at least one book on-the-go, but my dad almost never reads for pleasure. Buying books for him and convincing him to read them is often a Herculean effort 😛

    That said, my parents both instilled a love of reading in me at a very early age. Both would read to me for hours as a child and never said no when I wanted to buy little else but books growing up. They’ve always encouraged me and I don’t think I would be half the book addict I am today without them. I don’t know whether I should I thank them or blame them 😉
    Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Review: Wait For You by J. LynnMy Profile

  8. This is such a great post Cassie :)

    I began to read when I was really young. Both of my parents are big readers, so I know that definitely contributed, but I really think it was my mom who got me hooked. She always read stories to me, and then I could read on my own by the time I was three. Albeit, back then I was reading picture books, but still 😉

    My parents never pushed me to read. They got me started, but it was something I loved to do all on my own. My mom would take me to the bookstore all the time and let me pick out new books to read. Me and my mom always joked that we could live in a bookstore for the rest of our lives – and we still do! Wouldn’t that just be like heaven?

    I’m also fairy certain that a love of reading is in the blood for my family. My grandpa loved to read too, and although I didn’t know him for that long until he passed away ( I was five) I knew that. I even have a lot of his old books with all of his random papers that he would use as bookmarks in them. They’re my favourite books that I own, and I cherish them so much.

    As for why I CONTINUED to read? Plainly, just because I love it. Reading takes you to a whole different world where you can experience exactly what the characters are, no matter how amazing, awful, dangerous, or heart-breaking it is. It allows you to learn so much more about life than you could all on your own. And sometimes, I read because I just need to get away from what’s happening in my life at the time, and the best way for me to do that is to submerse myself in someone else’s life.

    Thanks you writing this post Cassie, I haven’t thought for a long time about why I read, and I’m glad I did :) <3
    Natalie @ books, etc. recently posted…Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

  9. My mother always encouraged me to read when I was younger whilst devouring books of her own, that I would never understand. Even when I could not pronounce words, one could find me drooling on a foamy cloth books during teething. I remember when she got me the Beatrix Potter collection. I prized it as though an ancient treasure, even being sure to stack them neatly when one was out of place. So, I really have to thank for my mother for that. My parents really instilled reading in me. Whether it was a bedtime read-along or a book shopping day, they made books were a salient part of our household.
    Christine @ Oh, Chrys! recently posted…Let’s Discuss, #7My Profile

  10. I have been a reader literally since before I can remember. Apparently on my third birthday I cried because my parents didn’t get me any books, so they took me to the book store, bought me a new book and I proceeded to read this book I’d never seen before aloud in the car while my dad narrowly avoided crashing out of surprise. And I don’t think I’ve really ever stopped. Sure I’ve had years where I read less than other years (law school, I am looking at you), but when I move to a new town the second thing I get after my driver’s license is always my library card. My son and I spend every Tuesday night at story time at the library and I let him pick out anything he wants – I am praying seriously that he also is a reader. Because is there anything better, truly? Is there anything better than being able to open a book and use a combination of the words on the page and your imagination to bring you somewhere you’ve never been before? To meet characters that stay with you your entire life, and inspire and guide you? To learn about friendship and love and life and pain through words on the page? Books have given me so many gifts and all I have to do in return is be a reader? I’m down with that.
    Emily recently posted…Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra BrackenMy Profile

  11. I wrote a super long comment and it DISAPPEARED. I am sad. I’ll attempt to rewrite.

    I’m not sure what started me on reading – my mom read to me when I was a kid but it’s not like either of my parents read very much. My mom did take me to the library a lot though and I LOVED it. I would check out stacks of books and I basically devoured the entire children’s section of my library. That kept up as I got older, I just loved being able to be taken on an adventure, live someone’s story and have it be an ESCAPE to whatever I was doing. My mom blames my bad eyesight on all the reading I did as a kid (quite possible). My parents always encouraged my reading though by buying me books (remember scholastic book orders???) and taking me to bookstores, etc. They still do that too! My dad bought me Throne of Glass the other week!
    Wendy recently posted…Feature & Follow Friday #3My Profile

  12. I think it’s mostly my mom who got me into reading. And my grandmother. When I was a kid, I wanted to do EVERYTHING my mom was doing (I even had this phase where I pretended to be cleaning stuff, waving around a mop ‘dusting’ things) and my mom read a lot. So I wanted to read as well and through this I’ve developed a love of it that’s stayed with me :) I now read much more than my mom and I love recommending books to her. My dad reads as well, but mostly on vacation.
    I think this one quote describes why I love reading so much: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
    Daisy @ Between the Pages recently posted…Review of Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

  13. Honestly, I cannot remember a time I wasn’t reading. When I was still in my mother’s womb, she read to me. From the moment I was born until I was old enough to read myself (I think that was around 3 years old, to be exact), my mom and dad would take turns reading to me. When I learned how to read, it was the beginning of a lifelong passion that’s turned into the wonderful, crazy, life-changing thing it is today.

    I read because it allows me to TRAVEL, letting me explore worlds I haven’t been to before or visit places I can’t afford to go to yet. I read because it allows me to SHARE THINGS and OPEN MY EYES, letting me experience other people’s situations and realities. I read because it allows me to MAKE FRIENDS, by finding characters I can relate to, like, root for, LOVE. I read because it TRANSFORMS, allowing me to learn things, make realizations, grow and shift. I read because it’s pure FUN, keeping me preoccupied during long periods of waiting, of travel, during empty afternoons when I try to save money and stay in or during nights when I’m settling down to sleep, or on my daily commutes. I read because it CONNECTS me to other readers + other writers. I read, mostly, because I LOVE IT.
    Alexa Y. recently posted…Circle of Magic – Tamora Pierce (Series Review)My Profile

  14. I love this topic! It totally made me take a trip down memory lane. My parents and grandparents are the reason that I love reading (in fact, I love books so much that I majored in library science in college!!). I don’t remember there ever being a time when books weren’t a huge part of my life. When I was a kid, if I made good grades on my report card, my parents would reward me with a book. I could go pick out any book I wanted, and it was usually the latest Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, or Goosebumps. OH OH and Boxcar Children. Sometimes, if I was staying at my grandparent’s house, my grandfather would say, “let’s go for a ride,” and we’d always end up at the bookstore, even though he wasn’t much of a reader. I remember always picking out 3 or 4 books and acting like I couldn’t choose between them, so he’d buy me all of them :) hahaha. Those are really good memories. Thanks for this topic! Yay for cool parents that fostered our love of reading, right?!

  15. James asked me this the other day, and I’m still not sure how to answer it. I really like reading because I like to hear about other people (even if they are not real) and their experiences. My mom was always a big reader and I think that’s what got me into it. Even though my dad is more of a newspaper reader, he was always very encouraging about me reading and never made me feel bad for sitting quiet in a corner and reading. 😉
    Estelle @ Rather Be Reading recently posted…Estelle: Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena MennaMy Profile

  16. Neither of my parents are huge readers, so I’m not too sure where I got my love of reading from! But both of my parents encouraged my love of reading. In fact, my mom used to take me to the library three times during Spring Break, because I’d finish my entire stack of books in two days! I’m grateful that they encouraged me to read — because it’s just the bestest hobby!!!

  17. C! This is such a wonderful post <3 I love that your dad made you fall in love with James Patterson. (Note to self: read JP soon!) I also loved reading all the stories above. Such a great thing to share :) As for me, I ALWAYS asked books for my birthday and for Sinterklaas when I was little. My dad, like yours, is a big reader, but my mom doesn't read that much, though she loved it when she was a kid. I grew up with my dad reading stories to me and my brother, and my mom reading the Bible to us, but from the moment I could, I picked up my own books. They were usually very girly stories (my favorite being about these twins who solved mysteries – awesome) and I don't know. I was always the one bringing a billion books on vacation and reading until my parents caught me. I love getting lost in stories. I grew up with it, yes, but I still think it's the best thing in the world to get lost in a book and completely fall in love with that world. I think that we as readers experience so many more lives than just our own, and I love that.
    Judith recently posted…A to Z Book SurveyMy Profile

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