Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
I’ve been a lifelong reader ever since I fell in love with books in second grade. I was a slow learner—while everyone else seemed to pick up reading in kindergarten and first grade really quickly, it took me a minute to figure out what the big deal was (although my family claims I’ve always loved books—maybe picture books, because I’ve always adored pretty illustrations—but I wasn’t actually reading, I was memorizing). And then my elementary school librarian put this one book in my hands (don’t remember the title) and there you go.
Reader for life.
Here are some reasons I love reading. I got a little more philosophic than I intended, but these are words I needed for myself, and maybe you need them too.
Reasons I Love Reading
Books are a nonjudgmental, constant companion
I’m going to get real here: a book is an inanimate (digital or physical) object. It does not judge, it is just there, waiting to be consumed in whatever form that takes.
People are the ones that judge, but books are steadfast companions that contain only the words within—and whatever words you choose to add to the margins.
Books are a constant in an ever-changing world. People come and go, but books are always there to open worlds into which I can escape, if only for a time.
You can read a variety of ways
Physical books, ebooks, audiobooks, braille, comics, graphic novels, webcomics, fanfic, newspapers, blogs, magazines, whatever other format you can think of that contains words and story—that’s reading.
It can be a solo act of one person per work, or a communal act of silence as everyone reads silently in their own text, or a group event where you listen to someone read to you.
You can consume books like cigarettes, chain-reading one after the other. You can read a book a day, or a book a year, or a graphic novel a decade—the quantity doesn’t matter so much as the act and the conviction. If you believe you are a reader, you are a reader.
The act of reading is so varied and so wonderful, and all forms are valid.
The act of reading is revolutionary and limitless, just like you.
Each book is its own small universe
A book is a pocket universe, and writers are inter-dimensional word magicians. No, I don’t make the rules.
No reader experiences a book the same way
What might be your five-star ohmyfuckinggodthisisthebestthingeverwritten might be someone’s DNF or the worst book they’ve ever read. Or maybe they caught some other sliver of nuance, or created headcanon you disagree with or just don’t see, or maybe they love some other aspect or imagined the worldbuilding or characters just a little bit differently than you did. Maybe they saw something problematic that you just don’t get—or maybe you saw something problematic that the other reader brushes off.
And that’s totally okay.
Because just like humanity isn’t a monolith of experiences, neither are books.
We all walk this fragile life on different paths, and we all experience the world differently.*
*obviously there is a caveat here for bigotry, in all its forms.
So basically, we’re all tiny astronauts jetting off onto wild adventures
Imagine a little ant in a rocketship making the world’s tiniest weeeeeeeee sound as it launches into the over of a book.
That’s you. You (and I) are the ants.
And the anticipation of the adventure each books holds is just so marvelous.
Maybe the ride is breezy and beautiful, maybe it’s rocky and wild, maybe it’s just such a fucking mess that we bow out 36 pages in, but that breathless anticipation of what-if right before the dive is just so special.
And yet there’s a community centered around reading, so even while it can be a solo endeavor, you’re never truly alone
And even if you don’t have a community of bookish friends (either online or irl), you are still not alone. You are consuming something that has touched so many readers before you, and was written by a person and (probably) edited and touched and hyped by so many other people.
Just in participating in a solo act of reading, you are not alone, because others have come before you, and others will come after, and you are all united by one book.
Or maybe we just love reading because we’re all dead tree junkies hallucinating off words written on a page
Because we’re all addicted to words, amiright??
Some of us like the pure stuff, the written word printed directly onto pages of delicately pressed tree particles.
Some of us enjoy the spoken word, letting the hallucinations wrap around us in the form of someone else’s voice.
Some of us are fascinated by a mixed medium of picture and word, our brains leaping and connoting expression to word, connecting each frame to create a continuous timestream of movement from stillness.
And others of us will take words any way we can. A book. Off a subway sign. On a cereal box. Twitter. An audiobook. A grocery receipt. An OCS candidate’s guidebook. Anything. Fucking anything, just let it be words and let it be now. Because we are addicted and we need those word-hallucinations in whatever form they come in, even though our TBRs are going to literally kill us.