Why Do YOU Read?

Barnes & Noble recently came out with a short video called Why I Read, in which they record interviews with L.A. readers and edit the responses together into a nice little YouTube style production.

I love this idea of mixing medias. But I love even more the idea of going out and asking people about books and reading. Good lord, I do this as often as I can, and sometimes feel a little like an oddity when I do. But the fact is that I’m always wondering what people are reading. I love asking my friends what they’re reading, that question is my favorite conversation starter at parties, and whenever I see someone reading in a park or at a bus stop I have to slow down and try to catch a glimpse of the title. On a recent trip to Boston I nearly gave myself whiplash walking through the Public Gardens. (Boston is a city of readers, and the Gardens were full of people with books.) I applaud Barnes & Noble for taking literary questions out into the public space, making books less of an oddity and more mainstream.

As for the question itself, “why do you read?”, I’m not sure that would be such an easy question for me to answer. The dramatic answer is that I read because I must. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read, and can’t imagine life without it. The more tame answer is that reading enriches my life and educates me. The person I am today is an amalgam of all the characters I have read over the years, incorporating the traits I found admirable and being wary of the traits I found distasteful.

(The best answer to this question, given by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, and more recently by my friend Mark Merenda, is “we read to woo women!“)

So now I ask, why do YOU read?

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One thought on “Why Do YOU Read?

  1. Hi Jenni, just stumbled into your blog this morning. I have to go with your dramatic answer "I read because I must". I am now 56 and I still have books from when I was 12 years old. I have Enid Blyton's & C.S Lewis to Dickens and Pepys, Shelley &Browning, Wordworth, Henry Lawson, Maugham, Forster & many early and first editions of too many to name, I collect comics, children's and classics, John MacDonald and Alistair Maclean, John LeCarre to John Wyndham, I have all Jane Austen and the Brontes. I also collect non-fiction, I have an entire room dedicated to my book collection. Why? I really don't know, I just love them all, and I'm still buying (much to my husband despair). I have my own website where I sell a lot of my excess and doubles. I think I'll subscribe to this blog. Keep it up Cheers Ursulahttp:www.usedbooks-online.com

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