Summer Reading Part 1 – Why I Read

This spring I ended a year-long run of reading mostly nonfiction, and started up on fiction again.  To my delight, while I’d been away there’d been some wonderful things published.

Before I talk about that, however, I’d like to talk about why I read, which shines some light on why I like what I like (and hate what I hate).

The first reason is, quite simply, so I can have thoughts I’ve never had before.  Science fiction is particularly good at providing me with this one.  I want to know, when I’m done, that I’m a different person than the one who began the book; someone who sees the world differently, forever.  Bonus points if I get my prejudices challenged and my provincial word view widened.

The second reason is what I first heard my friend Nina Hoffman call “survival strategy.”  I read because I want to learn how to survive in a difficult world.  For me personally, that doesn’t mean just physical survival, but heroic survival.  I want to learn how to be brave, selfless, and compassionate under fire.  Although the chance I’ll ever have to fight off aliens or a zombie horde is slim to none, I want to be ready for what life does throw my way.  Tied up with this reason is why I don’t tend to read cautionary tales.  I already know how to fail.  (grin)

So.  Now that I’ve regaled you with tales of my inner life, we’re set up for the next installment – what are the best things I’ve read this year, and why do I think so?

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