Australian Book Week is happening this month, 17-24 August, so at Kin Books’ we wanted to show our love of books and reading with a couple of blogs about why we love reading. First up: editor-in-chief Tighearnan Kelly.
Oh no! I hear you say, not a drive down memory lane with a guy who struggles to find the emotional brake. Well, yes, but I promise the drive is short.
Escape the everyday or don’t
Some stories take us away, some leave us thinking about where we are standing. All have innate value to help us reflect on our lives. It sounds corny, but I try to keep my reading to things that have meaning to me. If I’m looking for an adventure or want to get out of my own head for a while and jump into someone else’s world, I’ll tend to just watch a film or play a video game.
I don’t read this way to be deliberately pretentious, but to save time. I want to spend the time that I have reading what I think will help me grow as a writer or as a person. If you just like easy reading for reading sake then kudos to you, I admire your commitment but I prefer something that I know will present me with a challenge.
Something to carry
I encourage everyone to carry books around when out in public. Seriously, I can’t think of a better way to look cool and aloof than stuffing a copy of The Oresteia in your back pocket. Which is probably why no-one has ever considered me cool.
I do carry around a copy of whatever I am reading, just in case I get bored. Over time I have traded in the fantasy tomes for more slim line novellas and shorter histories because, unfortunately, squashing a complete copy of The Lord of the Rings in my back pocket is really just not possible.
Know the past, learn the future
I read a lot of classics. A lot. Below is my classics book case. If you could turn around you would see a pile of Lego, some files strewn across the room and another book case full of medieval folktales.
I read classics because I love ancient history, particularly early Republican Rome. So Livy and Polybius have pride of place on the shelf. The only problem with classics was once I started, I realised that I didn’t know as much as I thought, so I had to keep on looking for more works to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I’ll have to double my shelf space soon.
The most important reason to read is, quite simply, to enjoy yourself. Whether you’re reflecting on the nature of existence or finding out how to stuff peanut butter filling into a powdered donut. Regardless of your reason for reading you should enjoy the process. If you don’t, then may be you haven’t found a way to read that suits you. Don’t give up! You will get there eventually.
Why do you read? Let me know in the comments.