Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Guest Post - For the Love of Reading

Written by @ April Nichole

“All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.” Author Christopher Benson

How true are those words? When you think about it why do you read? Other than to enjoy a story or feel a connection with a character we want to escape from our reality. With what happens in the world and in our personal lives we look for some way to escape.

My way used to be with movies and TV shows. While I still have mine that I like and watch regularly I don’t get the same feeling I used to. I liked movies and TV shows because they were more visual and I didn’t have to think, it really was something ‘mindless’ to do. I could visually see the superhero fly across the screen or the bad guy hit someone and the blood appear. I could visually see someone shape shift into someone or something else. It was a way to spend some time pretending to be someone else, be somewhere else, and be a part of a different world.

The thing we have to realize and help others to realize is that reading can let us do that too. Reading can let us be someone else, feel romance, action, fear, laughter or any other emotion that we feel like we could need more of or are missing in our lives.

If we can find the right author to always go to or the right book in general then it isn’t so hard to escape. We try to find that book that describes things just enough for the story to start playing out in our minds. We want that ability to feel like a fly on the wall while the story is playing out.

Now I can have a short attention span sometimes and have found it a little hard lately to find a book that I can lose sense of time with. I can go with my old favorites Ted Dekker and Frank E. Peretti, in the last couple of years I added Stephenie Meyer, but I want to find others that can make it feel like a movie playing out while I read. In the last several months I got to add Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures), Jennifer Murgia (Angel Star) and Julie Kagawa (The Iron King).

Julie Kagawa’s The Iron King actually got me thinking. In these books Kagawa’s main characters are faeries, some of which are from the story A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There is both a Summer Court and Winter Court. Kagawa added a new kind of faerie known as The Iron Fey. The Iron Fey thrive off technology and basically deny any fantasy, any make believe, any jokes.

Technology has become a very big part of who we are. We all use computers, cell phones, PDAs, some kind of technology. Even in the book world we have blogs like this one, ways to buy books online to the nook and other e-readers. How often do we do something that doesn’t involve technology somehow? How often do we take a break from all things technological?

Do you remember as a kid playing make believe? Playing house, doctor (even though really we hated going), teacher, princess, etc… It was all without technology; it was all in our heads, what we could think up on our own. Even now we try to find some way to escape our reality, some way to feel like our troubles and worries don't exist, a place were we are a part of the world even if it is fairies, vampires, princess, some place in history (if you are into historical fiction).

The way that some authors build worlds, develop characters, describe the world around them make it easy to see the world in your mind. They can make it easy to feel what the characters feel, like when you are reading a romance scene where he touches her cheek and you’re able to feel the slight touch of the hand and the blush raising to the surface.

So, what do you look for in a book? Why is reading important to you? What keeps you interested and invested in a story? How often are you really able to escape reality and lose all sense of time? What kind of world do you look for in the book to be a part of?

Thanks for the great post! Those are some great questions April. I'm going to answer a few and I'd love for you guys to comment with answers below as well.

I really am pulled by a good plot line and if there's fantasy or paranormal elements, I'm destined to pick it over realistic fiction any day. So I look for a good plotline and the genre I love when I pick up a book.

Reading is important to me because it keeps me going. I always loved reading and only had a few years time between reading consistently. I love a good story and it beats the horrible tv shows we have (minus True Blood and Vampire Diaries.. ). It's my source of entertainment and I love it so much, I could never give it up.

I always say, the way to keep a reader reading is to keep them thinking. I love my plot to twist and turn and surprise me.

Also, if the book is good enough, I will be pulled into that world and never want to leave, even when the book is over. I like what you would call realistic fantasy, fantasy I can picture that is still fantastical but there's something about it that could make it real. I just love fantasy worlds and would love to live in one. :)

Now your turn, answer one or all of the questions below, both April and I are curious for your answers.


  1. I also look at the genre and I also tend to think about the hype I have heard about the book, to decide if that is the one I am going to pick up.

  2. Unusual plots with unexpected twists characters that are realistically crafted are the most important elements I look for in a book. If one of these falls short than the book falls short.

    What keeps me interested is the action and the writers style. Humor is also something that holds my attention.

    I rarely read a book that I cannot escape into because I refuse to read any book that doesn't hold me captivated. There are just too many books out there to waste my time on one that falls short.

    I have always been a fan of fantasy and dystopian worlds, but realistic fiction also hold my interest too.

    As long as I can marvel at the story, characters and the author's ability write then I am all in.

  3. Great post! Here are my answers:

    I look for a book that is entertaining and something different from my everyday life.

    Reading is important to me because it's what I do. I'm not someone who can sit around and do nothing. I get bored easily, and with books I can take them anywhere and explore heaps of different worlds. It's just really great.

    I think what keeps me invested and interested in the story is if there is an element of mystery and suspense. I just have to keep flicking through the pages then.

    I used to always be able to escape time and reality with my books. These days it's about every third or fourth book I read that really engrosses me.

    I love fantasy books so any books about other worlds different to ours are just really great.

  4. Thanks for the comments evryone. For my first guest post I was nervous that no one would. :) Thanks Kristen for letting me do one. It is great to see everyone answer the questions.

  5. I can still be absolutely drawn into a book and escape reality. It's just a lot more difficult for me now- I don't know if it's age or health issues- but I remember when I was young I would be so immersed in a book that I couldn't hear people talking to me. I would have my Mother tell my friends I wasn't allowed out to play so that I could finish a book I was reading. I love it when I run across a book now that can still have that effect on me.

  6. The thing we have to realize and help others to realize is that reading can let us do that too. Reading can let us be someone else, feel romance, action, fear, laughter or any other emotion that we feel like we could need more of or are missing in our lives.

    How true! I found myself love reading more and more daily, mainly because it allows me to escape to some other place, be someone that I cannot be. Reading is my on escape place because there, it will only be me and the characters in it. There is no other better place other than the world in a book!

  7. I look for something new or unique when I'm reading a book - a point of view, maybe, or an interesting character. Don't want to get a feeling of dejavu when I'm reading something because life's too short.

  8. I also love plot twists and turns. I think it is whyI have always preferred mysteries and thrillers to love stories

  9. Great post. Its really all about the story and characters for me. If I dont care about the characters I wont care about the book. And if I hate the story, I wont care as much about the characters.

    I love series because when I find an author style I like and characters I care about I always want to know what happens next.

    The world can be contemporary, futuristic or past as long as it is well written with a good story and characters. But if futuristic I like it to be explained well. I have run across a few that although the plot was good it was too confusing to follow well.


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