I've been reading from as far back as I can remember. I've always loved books - the look of them, the feel of them, holding them in my lap.
When I was younger, I suppose I read to find out about another way of life. A story different than my own. As the years passed by, I probably read to gain knoweledge, to learn of different places, different situations. I'm sure there were a few years in there of required reading in high school and college - none of which I regret today. Those required readings boast some of the great classics ever written.
Here we are today, and why do I read? I was thinking about this last night laying in bed. Reading, as we all know, is a time-consuming undertaking. We read if we're waiting in a doctor's office, for a train or bus. We read to pass the time. Well, that's clearly not why I read. I have 2 small children, a husband, and a 4 bedroom house. One would think I had no time to read. But I do put off cleaning. I let the kids play outside or watch TV instead of engaging with them. I take that time to myself and read.
Perhaps I'm reading to escape the reality that is my life. To pretend for a while I don't have 2 children that require my constant attention. That there isn't dusting, vacuuming, washing, drying that desperately needs to get done. That dinner doesn't have to be prepared every night. But does that mean I'm not happy in my life? That I need to find a more "pleasing" life in a novel? Or perhaps a situation that's worse in comparison to mine to make me feel better about my life? I don't know.
What I do know is that sense of accomplishment I feel when I finish a novel (especially a good one) and that excitement that stirs when I realize I get to start a new one. Maybe reading isn't an escape from my life. Maybe it's just a part of it.