I've been tagged by Aparna of Life as a Mom to write a post on Why I Read (Thanks, Aparna!). I've been reading for as long as I remember. My more vivid early memories are not of people or places but of Noddy and Amelia Jane, which I think sums up the role books play in my life. In the last few years, after the babies came along and other responsibilities took over, I haven't read as much or as voraciously as I used to; but even today, the feel of a book in my hands is one of my life's greatest pleasures.
Why I read is very simple. I don't read as a form of escapism. I read because very early on, I realized that there is magic in the written word. This magic permits me to do two things. One, enjoy various aspects of life vicariously, without moving an inch (one reason why I love books and blogs about travel). Two, it can move me the way nothing else can. People are moved by different things - maybe art, perhaps movies or music. Maybe something else. But nothing in the non-real world excites feelings of wonder, adventure, joy and sorrow for me as much as a good book. I've been known to be found reading, tears streaming down my face and sniffing sorrowfully; or walking around with a broad smile the whole day while reading a funny book!
Sometimes, when I am very fortunate, I find a book that may or may not have a superb plot line but is so well-written, so powerfully-expressed, words used so tellingly and so mindblowingly that I am just awestruck with the writer's artistry and just...the way he can take the right words and twist them around and put them together to create that perfect symphony of language. I think -- that's when I love reading the most.