Do You Read Books as Real Life or To Escape from Real Life or Another Way?

Provoked by the comments on this post and then┬áthis actual post “A Note on How I Experience Stories.” My main thought on that post was, well, if I read like that, I wouldn’t read. I can’t take reality as it is. I need my reading to escape (or avoidance, maybe that is a bit more accurate), I like to view a world safely through the window of a book. I think this is also maybe part of why I don’t like labelling reading as a hobby that one should continually increase, I know it is one that can be used to avoid living and learning and experiencing.

I’ve heard a lot of people say they like such and such character because they can see themselves in them or they feel they are experiencing the world as that character or they relate to that character. Well, I don’t relate either to that sentiment or to characters. And if I see myself in a character, it often is one I don’t like (how’s that for encouraging me to self-reflection?!).

I can’t do that, and if I could I would prefer to just observe. Part of my rereading obsession is returning to the safety and comfort of old favorites. Part of the reason I read within my comfort zone is because I’m reading for comfort. I don’t really care to add tons of details of violence and horridness, I already know of plenty from the news, from history, from my fears, I just don’t get why people add these things to books or why they should be in them, I probably will label many more things gratuitous than many people perhaps would.


  • Skye

    I get that, reading for comfort makes a lot of sense. And I do that when I re-read, but I do like finding aspects of myself in different characters and stories. Sometimes I like reading outside my comfort zone to, but to each their own.
    If reading for comfort makes you happy, you should do that.

    • Rachel Olivia

      I’m trying to find a balance, I can’t keep rereading and rereading, I need some new favorites. I’m also trying to stretch myself just a little bit.

  • Elizabeth

    It’s always interesting to me to see how other people respond to books. I have a multitude of different reasons I’ll read a book or like a character but it always depends really. But then my sister has her own reasons for liking the characters that she likes so it’s always different.
    Rereading comfort reads is just really nice. It just makes everything better for awhile.

  • Catherine

    It’s interesting how different people read – I read for escapism too, but if characters or situations are written well/feel true to life I think I’ll always recognise something in them of myself or of people I know or have met. (I prefer it when they’re in situations I’d never have to be in so I don’t cringe too much for them though…)

    • Rachel Olivia

      Yeah, I never really thought about different ways until reading other people mention it. I guess I’ve never read anything that felt true to life to me maybe because I don’t do much in real life since I’m too busy avoiding things. Usually if I see myself in a character its a character I want to smack in the face.

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