Why read??

Any avid book reader (such as myself) will tell you that immersing yourself in a great novel brings your imagination to life and transports you to another world where all the troubles you face in reality don’t exist- it’s just you and the characters. When we read we’re improving lots of aspects of our well-being, such as growing more empathy, improving memory, cutting stress, and even just making us more positive overall. And isn’t that the most important thing in life?

Over and over again I hear people complain that reading isn’t for them because they can’t find a good book, or it’s BORING! There are millions upon millions of fantastic books out there of all genres to get lost in, and I truly believe that there is a genre out there for everyone. And by no means is reading boring! I’m going to put it out there and say that reading a novel is a skill that all comes down to your interpretation and imagination, because realistically speaking, we’re the authors, the words are there to be manipulated into our own story based on our personal life experiences, and we’re the ones that create the characters in our heads and decide whether or not we like them. Take me for instance, I find reading fantasy a real chore, and I truly believe it’s a talent to be able to comprehend a whole different reality than our own, but when I discovered romance, I was converted for life and reading became exciting and pleasurable.

No one should be reading because they have to, it should be because you genuinely love the feeling of travelling to another world with characters you’ve created and grown a connection with in your mind. And if this isn’t how you feel when you’re reading, then you just haven’t quite found the right book for you. So keep on looking, because it’s out there somewhere.

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

-JK Rowling

Published by Written in the Stars

Love to read & review romantic heart-jerkers

6 thoughts on “Why read??

  1. Loving your reviews! You have great taste in books. I so agree with your thoughts shared above. Wondering, could I perhaps quote your second paragraph to my Year 8 reading class to inspire them? I love your words and how powerful and encouraging they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another point of view
    In his story Sarrasine, Balzac, speaking of a castrato disguised as
    a woman, writes this sentence: “It was Woman, with her sudden
    fears, her irrational whims, her instinctive fears, her unprovoked
    bravado, her daring and her delicious delicacy of feeling” Who is
    speaking in this way? Is it the story’s hero, concerned to ignore
    the castrato concealed beneath the woman? Is it the man Balzac,
    endowed by his personal experience with a philosophy of
    Woman? Is it the author Balzac, professing certain “literary” ideas
    of femininity? Is it universal wisdom? or romantic psychology? It
    will always be impossible to know, for the good reason that all
    writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several
    indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention
    of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin:
    literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which
    every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost,
    beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.
    · · ·
    Probably this has always been the case: once an action is
    recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act
    directly upon reality — that is, finally external to any function
    but the very exercise of the symbol — this disjunction occurs,
    the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death,
    writing begins. Nevertheless, the feeling about this
    phenomenon has been variable; in primitive societies, narrative
    is never undertaken by a person, but by a mediator, shaman or
    speaker, whose “performance” may be admired (that is, his
    mastery of the narrative code), but not his “genius” The author is
    a modern figure, produced no doubt by our society insofar as, at
    the end of the middle ages, with English empiricism, French
    rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation, it
    discovered the prestige of the individual, or, to put it more
    nobly, of the “human person” Hence it is logical that with regard
    to literature it should be positivism, resume and the result of
    capitalist ideology, which has accorded the greatest importance
    to the author’s “person” The author still rules in manuals of
    literary history, in biographies of writers, in magazine interviews,
    and even in the awareness of literary men, anxious to unite, by
    their private journals, their person and their work; the image of
    literature to be found in contemporary culture is tyrannically
    centered on the author, his person, his history, his tastes, his
    passions; criticism still consists, most of the time, in saying that
    Baudelaire’s work is the failure of the man Baudelaire, Van
    Gogh’s work his madness, Tchaikovsky’s his vice: the explanation
    of the work is always sought in the man who has produced it, as
    if, through the more or less transparent allegory of fiction, it was
    always finally the voice of one and the same person, the author,
    which delivered his “confidence.”
    · · ·
    Though the Author’s empire is still very powerful (recent
    criticism has often merely consolidated it), it is evident that for a
    long time now certain writers have attempted to topple it. In
    France, Mallarme was doubtless the first to see and foresee in its
    full extent the necessity of substituting language itself for the
    man who hitherto was supposed to own it; for Mallarme, as for
    us, it is language which speaks, not the author: to write is to
    reach, through a preexisting impersonality — never to be
    confused with the castrating objectivity of the realistic novelist
    — that point where language alone acts, “performs,” and not
    “oneself”: Mallarme’s entire poetics consists in suppressing the
    author for the sake of the writing (which is, as we shall see, to
    restore the status of the reader.) Valery, encumbered with a
    psychology of the Self, greatly edulcorated Mallarme’s theory,
    but, turning in a preference for classicism to the lessons of
    rhetoric, he unceasingly questioned and mocked the Author,
    emphasized the linguistic and almost “chance” nature of his
    activity, and throughout his prose works championed the
    essentially verbal condition of literature, in the face of which any
    recourse to the writer’s inferiority seemed to him pure
    superstition. It is clear that Proust himself, despite the apparent
    psychological character of what is called his analyses, undertook
    the responsibility of inexorably blurring, by an extreme
    subtilization, the relation of the writer and his characters: by
    making the narrator not the person who has seen or felt, nor
    even the person who writes, but the person who will write (the
    young man of the novel — but, in fact, how old is he, and who is
    he? — wants to write but cannot, and the novel ends when at
    last the writing becomes possible), Proust has given modern
    writing its epic: by a radical reversal, instead of putting his life
    into his novel, as we say so often, he makes his very life into a
    work for which his own book was in a sense the model, so that it
    is quite obvious to us that it is not Charlus who imitates
    Montesquiou, but that Montesquiou in his anecdotal, historical
    reality is merely a secondary fragment, derived from Charlus.
    Surrealism lastly — to remain on the level of this prehistory of
    modernity — surrealism doubtless could not accord language a
    sovereign place, since language is a system and since what the
    movement sought was, romantically, a direct subversion of all
    codes — an illusory subversion, moreover, for a code cannot be
    destroyed, it can only be “played with”; but by abruptly violating
    expected meanings (this was the famous surrealist “jolt”), by
    entrusting to the hand the responsibility of writing as fast as
    possible what the head itself ignores (this was automatic
    writing), by accepting the principle and the experience of a
    collective writing, surrealism helped secularize the image of the
    Author. Finally, outside of literature itself (actually, these
    distinctions are being superseded), linguistics has just furnished
    the destruction of the Author with a precious analytic
    instrument by showing that utterance in its entirety is a void
    process, which functions perfectly without requiring to be filled
    by the person of the interlocutors: linguistically, the author is
    never anything more than the man who writes, just as I is no
    more than the man who says I: language knows a “subject,” not a
    “person,” end this subject, void outside of the very utterance
    which defines it, suffices to make language “work,” that is, to
    exhaust it.
    · · ·
    The absence of the Author (with Brecht, we might speak here of
    a real “alienation:’ the Author diminishing like a tiny figure at the
    far end of the literary stage) is not only a historical fact or an act
    of writing: it utterly transforms the modern text (or — what is the
    same thing — the text is henceforth written and read so that in
    it, on every level, the Author absents himself). Time, first of all, is
    no longer the same. The Author, when we believe in him, is
    always conceived as the past of his own book: the book and the
    author take their places of their own accord on the same line,
    cast as a before and an after: the Author is supposed to feed the
    book — that is, he pre-exists it, thinks, suffers, lives for it; he
    maintains with his work the same relation of antecedence a
    father maintains with his child. Quite the contrary, the modern
    writer (scriptor) is born simultaneously with his text; he is in no
    way supplied with a being which precedes or transcends his
    writing, he is in no way the subject of which his book is the
    predicate; there is no other time than that of the utterance, and
    every text is eternally written here and now. This is because (or: it
    follows that) to write can no longer designate an operation of
    recording, of observing, of representing, of “painting” (as the
    Classic writers put it), but rather what the linguisticians,
    following the vocabulary of the Oxford school, call a
    performative, a rare verbal form (exclusively given to the first
    person and to the present), in which utterance has no other
    content than the act by which it is uttered: something like the /
    Command of kings or the I Sing of the early bards; the modern
    writer, having buried the Author, can therefore no longer
    believe, according to the “pathos” of his predecessors, that his
    hand is too slow for his thought or his passion, and that in
    consequence, making a law out of necessity, he must accentuate
    this gap and endlessly “elaborate” his form; for him, on the
    contrary, his hand, detached from any voice, borne by a pure
    gesture of inscription (and not of expression), traces a field
    without origin — or which, at least, has no other origin than
    language itself, that is, the very thing which ceaselessly
    questions any origin.
    · · ·
    We know that a text does not consist of a line of words, releasing
    a single “theological” meaning (the “message” of the AuthorGod), but is a space of many dimensions, in which are wedded
    and contested various kinds of writing, no one of which is
    original: the text is a tissue of citations, resulting from the
    thousand sources of culture. Like Bouvard and Pecuchet, those
    eternal copyists, both sublime and comical and whose profound
    absurdity precisely designates the truth of writing, the writer can
    only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original; his only
    power is to combine the different kinds of writing, to oppose
    some by others, so as never to sustain himself by just one of
    them; if he wants to express himself, at least he should know
    that the internal “thing” he claims to “translate” is itself only a
    readymade dictionary whose words can be explained (defined)
    only by other words, and so on ad infinitum: an experience
    which occurred in an exemplary fashion to the young De
    Quincey, so gifted in Greek that in order to translate into that
    dead language certain absolutely modern ideas and images,
    Baudelaire tells us, “he created for it a standing dictionary much
    more complex and extensive than the one which results from
    the vulgar patience of purely literary themes” (Paradis Artificiels).
    succeeding the Author, the writer no longer contains within
    himself passions, humors, sentiments, impressions, but that
    enormous dictionary, from which he derives a writing which can
    know no end or halt: life can only imitate the book, and the book
    itself is only a tissue of signs, a lost, infinitely remote imitation.
    · · ·
    Once the Author is gone, the claim to “decipher” a text becomes
    quite useless. To give an Author to a text is to impose upon that
    text a stop clause, to furnish it with a final signification, to close
    the writing. This conception perfectly suits criticism, which can
    then take as its major task the discovery of the Author (or his
    hypostases: society, history, the psyche, freedom) beneath the
    work: once the Author is discovered, the text is “explained:’ the
    critic has conquered; hence it is scarcely surprising not only that,
    historically, the reign of the Author should also have been that of
    the Critic, but that criticism (even “new criticism”) should be
    overthrown along with the Author. In a multiple writing, indeed,
    everything is to be distinguished, but nothing deciphered;
    structure can be followed, “threaded” (like a stocking that has
    run) in all its recurrences and all its stages, but there is no
    underlying ground; the space of the writing is to be traversed,
    not penetrated: writing ceaselessly posits meaning but always in
    order to evaporate it: it proceeds to a systematic exemption of
    meaning. Thus literature (it would be better, henceforth, to say
    writing), by refusing to assign to the text (and to the world as
    text) a “secret:’ that is, an ultimate meaning, liberates an activity
    which we might call counter-theological, properly revolutionary,
    for to refuse to arrest meaning is finally to refuse God and his
    hypostases, reason, science, the law.
    · · ·
    Let us return to Balzac’s sentence: no one (that is, no “person”)
    utters it: its source, its voice is not to be located; and yet it is
    perfectly read; this is because the true locus of writing is reading.
    Another very specific example can make this understood: recent
    investigations (J. P. Vernant) have shed light upon the
    constitutively ambiguous nature of Greek tragedy, the text of
    which is woven with words that have double meanings, each
    character understanding them unilaterally (this perpetual
    misunderstanding is precisely what is meant by “the tragic”); yet
    there is someone who understands each word in its duplicity,
    and understands further, one might say, the very deafness of the
    characters speaking in front of him: this someone is precisely the
    reader (or here the spectator). In this way is revealed the whole
    being of writing: a text consists of multiple writings, issuing from
    several cultures and entering into dialogue with each other, into
    parody, into contestation; but there is one place where this
    multiplicity is collected, united, and this place is not the author,
    as we have hitherto said it was, but the reader: the reader is the
    very space in which are inscribed, without any being lost, all the
    citations a writing consists of; the unity of a text is not in its
    origin, it is in its destination; but this destination can no longer
    be personal: the reader is a man without history, without
    biography, without psychology; he is only that someone who
    holds gathered into a single field all the paths of which the text
    is constituted. This is why it is absurd to hear the new writing
    condemned in the name of a humanism which hypocritically
    appoints itself the champion of the reader’s rights. The reader
    has never been the concern of classical criticism; for it, there is
    no other man in literature but the one who writes. We are now
    beginning to be the dupes no longer of such antiphrases, by
    which our society proudly champions precisely what it dismisses,
    ignores, smothers or destroys; we know that to restore to writing
    its future, we must reverse its myth: the birth of the reader must
    be ransomed by the death of the Author.
    — translated by Richard Howard


  3. Wow, I couldn’t agree with you more. The Library Lady loves books, and I’ll be interested to see your take on teen romance. I too have a hard time with fantasy / Sci Fi. I want to like the genre – the covers always look great, but just can’t get into it. My favorite romance author is Georgette Hyer, ever heard of her?

    Liked by 1 person

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