Pet Peeve Rant-Rant-Rant: Reading Isn't Just About Entertainment

I'm so sorry I haven't been updating like I thought I would lately. Last week Louisiana had a freak "sneaux" storm, which is all well and lovely but, well, it got me quite sick. I spent over 48 hours in bed reading. That sounds like it would have been a great way to spend an unexpected stretch of days, but it wasn't really. I was feeling miserable and uncomfortable, and being bed ridden there wasn't anything else I could do. So suffice it to say, I'm on a reading fast for a little while. I'm picking up other things I should have been doing when I was actually But even though I'm on a break from books, I miss them. This may be hard for some people to understand - I've had this conversation before with friends - but my love for reading runs so deeply, I don't see it as simply entertainment. It's difficult to explain, but in this post I'm going to try to.

For a great many people, reading is just a hobby. It's something you pick up to do when you have a scrap of time on your hands that needs some filling. It's something you might do to stave off boredom. I don't think this is wrong or bad, per say. You may be as passionate about movies or video games as I am about reading, and I can't sit still through a movie (even in a dark room) and video games don't hold my interest for very long. To me video games and movies are entertainment - it's a thing I'll pick up when nothing else interests me, just as books might be for you.
But books are more than entertainment for me. It's not just a medium to tell a story through. It is my passion. It's what feeds my imagination, it's a vein to mine for "truth." All I know is that I'm searching for something, and I never know what it is until I read about it in a book. It's like this: have you ever been thrifting? You don't go to a flea market or thrift store with anything more than a $20 bill in your pocket (like the in the Macklemore song) and though you may go in hoping to find some kind of small table to fill a corner, but what you go home with is something far more treasured - an old upright piano, a new wardrobe, an old toy you begged and begged your parents for, but got lost in your memory. That's what reading does for me - I call it "dropping a Truth bomb." Sometimes I'll read some ditsy novel and an author will write a line what was so unexpected, but so beautiful and profound that I have to put the book down and go out for fresh air. I'll read a line from that dead stack of paper and ink that will remind me not just why I'm alive, but that I am alive - that I'm human, and I'm not alone. Video games don't give me that. Movies are closer cousins to books, and even they can't give me that.

Besides this, movies and video games are visual, and as an artist I should appreciate this - but I'm also stubborn and instead I see them as other artists trying to TELL me how things are supposed to look. And I do not appreciate this. My imagination is fertile enough - I can take the bare bones of what the writers give me and build the world in my mind from there. (Perhaps I should be adapting and directing movies instead?) But there are some times when I depend on others to help me out - sci-fi and fantasy for example. I think this is because there are no set rules. I can't read Discworld and expect it to match the universe of Hitch Hiker's Guide, or something similar. This may not be hard to do with practice, but sci-fi isn't my go-to genre if we're being honest. I do appreciate someone else helping me along with the visuals in this case. For example, when my brother and I were reading The Da Vinci Code for the first time, he insisted on me reading the illustrated version - because it would be too confusing any other way. I was offended that he thought I was that stupid, that I needed visual footnotes to make my way through what is in reality an easily read novel. But my brother really doesn't read very much, he watches a lot of TV and movies and "video games are his books." In other words, my brother is like a lot of people in that reading just doesn't click for him. That doesn't mean I think he's stupid and hopeless (I do, actually, but not for this reason. ...exclusively). I just think he can't possibly understand it unless he practices at it enough to change his mind, if he were open to it.
The real problem is that many people aren't open to it. That they are somehow superior to you for never having read a book in their life. How sad. Oh, but that is a rant for another day.
Until next time!


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