Reading is selfish. I read to entertain myself, to gain knowledge, to be aware, to feel, to consider, and to escape reality. For me, fiction is definitely my favorite genre to go about doing this. Fiction can be an escape from the real world whether it be a simple, realistic story about a normal person, their struggles, their shenanigans, a story that’s not at all far from what happens in real life, or a book about a kingdom where there are people with superpowers, with a story as outrageous and as far from reality as possible. I do admit that I have a soft spot for those outrageous, fantastical stories – they’re probably my favorite, if I’m being honest – especially if it’s been a bad day, because they’re just such a great escape from reality. I feel as if I’m transported into the book, I see everything so vividly in my head and it’s kind of amazing.
But while reading is an escape from reality, every book has themes and moral lessons that we can apply in real life situations. The hero will always have some moral dilemma that will teach you a thing or two about your own morality.
Reading is also not selfish, in a way. I am an admittedly young and inexperienced person, but I find that most people come to me for advice and insight. There was a quote that caught my attention in Harold Bloom’s essay Why Read: “You need not fear that the freedom of your development as a reader is selfish, because if you become an authentic reader, then the response to your labors will confirm you as an illumination to others.” I think this is absolutely true. Reading is selfish in its very core, but the benefits of it extend to all the people that you help by sharing what you have learned reading, and by being more aware of your principles and generally being a better person for it.