The Question

Why do I read?


Because Iím curious.


Because I can control it in a way that would be impossible with any other cultural media. Only books allow me to imagine at will characters, situations or places. With a book Iím the director, the casting director, the music arranger, the editor and each of the characters.


Because reading makes me feel fine.


To live other lives.


Because reading doesnít require my interacting with other people.


Because reading makes me feel more than just a man, I feel part of humankind.


Because reading is meditation, my mind yoga.


Because I want to feel smarter than others.


Because in the same way as you enjoy a sexual encounter all over again when you talk about it with a friend, you experience anew the pleasure of reading a book when you talk about it with a friend.


Because itís a habit that was taught to me while a child.


Because I need to know how other writers manage to solve their stories as regards drama and style.


Because I can choose what I wish to read and donít need to submit to the commands and purposes of my literature teachers at school or, much worse, of my father. Letís face it: the Mio Cid is, was and always will be a drag, Shakespeare is not for reading but watching on stage and, sorry to say, I was never drawn to the adventures of Salgari, Verne or Dickens.


Because I want to know, I want to understand, I want to find a meaning to what I am and my role in this world.


Because itís something I can feel with my hands and its existence is more real to my senses than the other visual experience.


Because I feel Iím standing on the shoulders of giants.


Because it leads me to silence.


Because the first time I read a book I myself had chosen, Joseph Pageís biography of Perůn, I felt like reading another, and another, and yet another.


Because I find it easy.


Because books require no batteries.


Because it raises questions, itís disturbing, it makes me doubt what I take to be certain.


To know that Iím not alone.


So I donít feel bored when Iím in the bathroom.


But basically and beyond any explanation, I read because I canít help it.