• Well Red

Reading and me

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

In a break from my usual content, I’ve decided to write a little bit about what reading means to me. I saw an Instagram post recently asking when people ‘started reading’ – lots of people were listing ages from teens upwards. What a shock! I’ve been reading all my life, and before I could read, my parents read to me (I know, I’m lucky to have such great parents!). I can’t think of a time where I haven’t been continuously reading!

Reading for me is pure escapism. When I’m reading, I turn off the world around me (literally; I can’t hear you if you call my name!) and am fully immersed in the world – I see it as a film playing in my head. This actually makes writing reviews quite difficult as I am not ‘seeing’ the text so don’t pick up on things like structure, grammar etc. That said as I’ve gotten older, I have stopped reading a lot of books purely because of how they are written. It didn’t bother me as a child or even in my early twenties…it bothers me now because poor copy writing/editing distracts me from the story line, and I can’t get into the novel.

I’ve always had an incredibly vivid imagination and reading plays into that big time. TV wasn’t a massive thing in our household growing up, so I would turn to reading for that escape. When I got older, I turned more to TV and film and there have been times when the screen has had more of a presence in my life. However, I’ve never completely stopped reading, even if it’s looked a bit different for a while (looking at you, manga!).

I’m dyslexic, but it’s never stopped me reading. When tested, my reading age was always a couple of year’s above myself (it’s not that exciting, the test asked you to read words aloud and I’m still confused how that can test for someone’s ‘reading’ age as no-one reads aloud to themselves. Also, I’m still bitter that I got stuck on the word ‘influenza’). Ironically, as a I child I read up, whereas now I read down a lot (I read Rick Riordan when I was about 27/28!). I mostly ‘read up’ because after finishing all my books, I needed to seek my next fix so moved on to my elder siblings and parent’s bookshelves (with and without their permission)!

Reading improves knowledge and helps with emotional maturity. Full stop. I don’t like reading non-fiction and will avoid it like the plague, but there’s still so much you can learn from fiction, even fantasy! Authors do a lot of research and the amount of knowledge and understanding I’ve received from reading is phenomenal. I don’t usually remember characters names after a couple of days, but I can probably run you through dozens of fun facts that I’ve learnt and remembered solely through reading fiction. Admittedly a lot of these don’t relate to practical life skills, but sure are useful for a quiz!

I’ve never understood people who say they don’t like to read. I know for some people reading is hard (see above, I struggle at times!) or impossible, but it boggles my mind when adults voluntarily choose not to read (or listen to audio books!) when they are capable of it. To me it’s like breathing! It’s not a ‘hobby’, it’s an integral part of my life. Reading has helped me grow as a person and challenged and expanded my knowledge base. It’s my refuge in times of good and bad. As a side point, it also helps massively with my dyslexia because it pushes me to continue to practice my language skills and offers respite when I struggle with my other conditions.

I hope you’ve found a similar joy and refuge in reading.

Well Red Reviews

Listening to: Billie Eilish

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