SOMETIMES I ANSWER questions about the 300 hard cover books we have in our home. I draw my answers from friends who have read more than 10 books during the previous 12 months. Friends who read help me understand why I enjoy reading.
Ten years ago, Pew Research asked people why they like to read. The answers range from the highly practical to the sublime.
- 26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.
- 15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
- 12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
- 12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
- 6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
- 4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
- 3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
- 2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.
- In their own words, respondents were eloquent and touching. One respondent noted: “I am an English teacher, so I read to save my sanity from grading essays.”
I feel guilty when I don't read beyond the paragraphs that my students share in their writing. I know I'm lucky to be surrounded by creatives in their twenties who have written deep thoughts in response to questions I've set. By reading their work, I often realise I haven't discovered corners of life that they share with me. When that happens, I tap into Kindle Unlimited to see if I can find background information that will fill gaps in my knowledge.
I've tried cutting my Kindle Unlimited subscription several times since emerging from COVID restrictions but every time I think I can abandon it, I discover another 300 pages that answer questions arising from course material I teach.
Just now I noticed my Kindle app is politely telling me there's something Amazon thinks I want. It's Project Hail Mary, a title spotted on Barack Obama's desk.
[Bernie Goldbach has 45 titles on his Kindle Paperwhite.]