Thirty-Three Thoughts (Plus a Few Questions) on Books and Reading

What are your thoughts on books and reading? Why do you read? Of course you like to read books or you wouldn’t be on this website. I mean what do you hold to be self-evident and true about books and reading? Here are some of my thoughts on books, reading, and their importance. Share your thoughts on books and reading in the comments.

  1. Passports facilitate travel outside of one’s country of citizenship. Books are my passport to any point and place in time and space, whether real, imagined, or somewhere in between. It is why I named my blog Passport Books.
  1. Books allow us to play dress up but without actually having to change clothes, hair, or makeup, which is great because I’m partial to jeans, tee shirts, minimally fussed with hair, and a little gloss.
  1. In a book you can be anything, in any place, at any time.
  1. Imagination is what separates human beings from inanimate objects.
  1. With imagination all things are possible.
  1. The world and books feed each another. Each makes the other more vibrant.
  1. A mind needs books like a body needs food.
  1. When I see a painting, photograph, or other work of visual art I can’t help but wonder what the story is behind it. I want the words and the pictures.
  1. When I see a really great movie I hope it was based on a book that I can get my hands on and read.
  1. I tend to assume that reading makes people better in that by showing us the world through other people’s eyes we may become more empathetic and compassionate. But does mean it is also possible that reading can make some people worse?
  1. Though a solitary pursuit, books banish loneliness by reminding us we are not alone. They prove that someone else has felt what we feel.
  1. Books can bring people together. They are also a great way to avoid interacting with others.
  1. Books are real but they are not your real life.
  1. Stories allow us to explore the best and worst of ourselves.
  1. Are you what you read? Reading horror and mysteries doesn’t mean you will become a serial killer or a clever detective; nor does reading romances mean you will be able to navigate every romantic situation successfully.
  1. Words matter. They can hurt and they can heal.
  1. I care about diversity – racial/ethnic, nationality, gender identity, sexual preference, religion, physical disability, neural, age, and otherwise – because I am interested in the lives of people who may or may not be like me.
  1. I care about diversity because I believe it is important that we see and remember that we are all part of this world – part of its past, its present, and its future.
  1. I care about diversity because in my experience seeing people that resemble one’s self in art makes it easier to imagine one’s self in that position in real life.
  1. The worst thing a book can be is boring. I can forgive a lot of things in a book, but boring isn’t one of them.
  1. Once a writer sends a book out into the world, the world gets to do what it wants with it: write about it, quote it, misinterpret it, be inspired by it, reimagine it, love it, and yes, even hate it.
  1. Should the behavior of the author affect how a book is critiqued and consumed?
  1. I learned how to run from a book. I have since run many races, including eight marathons. True story.
  1. Never leave the house without something to read, never.
  1. The upside of jury duty, going to the DMV, or other tasks that involve waiting around for an extended period of time is that all the waiting around means extra time to read.
  1. A day without reading, even if only a page or two, is a very sad day indeed.
  1. I can understand not liking a particular genre or finding certain types of writing difficult, but when I hear a person say they don’t read fiction because it isn’t “real” or “true” I can’t help but think that person doesn’t understand how fiction works.
  1. Books are not static. The words may stay the same but the reader doesn’t.
  1. Books are not simply read, they are felt, heard, smelled, and tasted.
  1. A good book seeps into your bones.
  1. Write in your books. Record the moments when they spoke to you.
  1. Yesterday’s impossible and fictitious stories may be tomorrow’s reality.
  1. I’ll never finish reading all the books I want to read. That’s okay. In fact, it would be worse if I finished them all and there was nothing left to read. Just thinking of such a possibility makes me want to cry.
Samantha Irby and Robin Sloan talk about their favorite books in our newest podcast, Recommended. Download it for free from Apple Podcasts or Google Play.
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