Your Reading Life

Top 20 Reasons to Read

"Why do you read?" we asked. So many of you responded and helped us build our Top 20 list of Reasons to Read!

Thank you to everyone to shared your thoughts with us here on our site, and on Facebook and Twitter.

‘Escape’ and ‘relaxation’ were far and away the most popular answers. But there were some funny answers and some clever ones, too. Check it out and tell us why you read in a comment.

And now … drum roll please … the Read It Forward list of Top 20 Reasons to Read!


20. “BECAUSE IT’S MORE EFFECTIVE THAN ANTI-DEPRESSANTS AND CHEAPER THAN THERAPY” ~Michael E. on Facebook

19. “BECAUSE I CAN’T NOT READ” ~Sarah McW.

18. “BECAUSE IT SOOTHES MY SOUL” ~Phyllis L.

17. “TO SUBDUE THE INCESSANT MONOLOGUE IN MY HEAD” ~Alice B. on Facebook

16. TO FALL ASLEEP

“I can’t go to sleep at night unless I’ve read at least a little. It’s a daily necessity.” ~Jen F.

15. “PRETTY SURE IT’S BECAUSE I’M ADDICTED” ~Kay G. on Facebook

14. “BECAUSE T.V. IS BORING” ~Tisha H. on Facebook

13. TO FORGET

“To forget the real world for a while and live in a world made by someone else.” ~mizkatie51

12. “BECAUSE THERE ARE BOOKS” ~Barbara P. on Facebook

11. TO OPEN DOORS

“The reader only needs to chose which door they are walking through – travel, historical, memoir, romance and so many other choices, and every new book challenges the reader to open that door a little wider to meet whomever is inside.” ~TML Writes

10. TO BECOME PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER

“To become part of a community. To be surprised, delighted, hooked. To laugh and cry. To find new words. To remove myself from my surroundings. To meet new people.” ~Jane S.

9. TO EXPAND MY HORIZONS

“I read because reading expands my horizons and takes me to times and places I could not otherwise visit.” ~Robin

8. TO LIVE SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE FOR A WHILE

“To experience adventures, the live in times I will never actually live in. To explore. To grow. To see the world through a different set of eyes.” ~Chani O.

7. TO IGNITE MY IMAGINATION

“Reading stokes the imagination and carries one away to new possibilities.” ~Donna S.

6. TO TRAVEL THROUGH TIME

“I read to be able to travel back in time. To be able to be a courtier, or a lady in waiting, or even a fly on the wall.” ~Carla

5. “BECAUSE IT MAKES ME HAPPY” ~Jackie G. on Facebook

4. TO DE-STRESS

“Reading is one of the best de-stressers I use daily for a healthier mind and all over well-being.” ~Pauline B.

3. TO LEARN

“Reading taught me more than every teacher I had in school, even college!” ~Kat H. on Facebook

2. TO RELAX

“To relax and take a mini vacay in my head.” ~Susan M on Facebook

1. TO ESCAPE

“As a child I read to escape; as a teen & young adult I read to explore; nowadays I read to find my way home again.” ~Roman T. on Twitter

Honorary mention goes to Caroline O. on Facebook, who says it all: “I read for the same reason I breathe.”

And to Robert E. on Twitter, who said he reads because “I have it on middling authority that if I spot the word cattywampus 5 times in life, I win a prize in heaven.” Good luck with that, Robert!

[Photo Credit: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.com]

Let’s keep the list growing! Why do you read? Tell us in a comment!

About the Author

READ IT FORWARD is brought to you by a team of readers who love books as much as you do. Questions? Comments? Contact us at kira@readitforward.com.

  • The Book Wheel

    For me, reading is like breathing and I couldn’t live without doing it daily!

  • BookClubCheerleader

    I love to read for almost all the reasons above—especially #7—but I’m in book clubs so I can honestly discuss my thoughts, feelings, and concerns about a book with fellow “bookies”. The conversation opens up even more possibilities! Cheers! BCC

  • Kamaldeen Oladeji

    Reading is learning: learning is knowing and knowing is living! A knowledge based world cannot afford not to read.

  • Endlessly curious

    Reading allows me to live other lives I would not have the time or opportunity to live myself.

  • Melissa I.

    We live in a world where chaos is killing the happy and joy from the souls of so many as people. The chaos from my perspective is seen from the outside and it’s overwhelming as I think of it while wishing to stop the clock and scream for everyone to just…….STOP!!! Breathe and enjoy the simplicities in life!!!

    Here, in my world immense loneliness suffocates me. I have nobody…..I have three people, but they don’t believe in the beauty of enjoying simple and cherished moments anymore. So I’m alone and although acting, piano, music, drawing and crafts are passions of mine some of those dreams have passed me by and I ache to the core over that with no comfort. While other things I just cannot do anymore due to failing health so in my loneliness which feels like a prison I turned to reading.

    These gorgeous books and their pages filled with spine tingling thrillers filling me with scary fun, sweet sweet romance and the sometimes happily ever after feeding me hope, or the steamy romance lighting a fire inside, to the memoirs telling me I’m not alone and the non-fiction empowering me with knowledge giving me a burst of energy and remembering who I once was and the causes I fought for……all genres, all stories pulling me into world’s of places I’ll never have the chance to go, the people whom I’d love to be for a day or even just a taste from the amount of pages they bring us I treasure those.

    These books with their Beautiful covers and words strung together to feed me stories of things I long for or simply the joy and fun of reading them don’t talk back, they don’t ignore you or tell you “we tune you out after about 30 seconds”, physically hurt me (unless I fall asleep while reading and it should fall on my face, lol), they don’t yell or pass you by as if you don’t exist. They sit on our shelves and wait patiently. They wait to be picked up, held, read, cried over, to know they’re scaring the crap out of us if that’s what the authors intentions are.

    In this suffocating and lonely world I may be told and shown that I’m not needed by people, but a book, it’s story and the Author who wrote it need me, need us. They need us as we need them to feed to us what’s missing in our lives and with the millions and millions of books out there (if circumstances allow us ways to have books), than all of us who need any particular feeling there is to be had there is most definitely a book out there to comfort and fill us, to pull us in and help us forget for awhile the hardships many of us face and where there is nobody to be found who cares when we need it the most……….we have our stories and the authors, who often unknowingly, are giving a gift to somebody out here in the world much more than paper with words typed on the pages.

    If they only knew how deeply their work truly saves so many people from that suffocation through loneliness they may very well cry many happy tears knowing how much they, as the writer, are needed. Did that make any sense? In my tired brain and aching heart it made sense to me. Without my piano (it was lost due to horrible circumstances along with all my books and my health as I’d mentioned in another post here), but without my piano my Heart stopped singing and I ache a pain that’s indescribable because playing that was a feeling that lights me up on a level I could never describe and I’ll never have the chance for that again, but the books We all love…….they’re magic to our eyes and souls.

    …….and this is so long a post which I’m sure won’t be read or eye rolls are happening, but I had a chance to express my feelings about why I read so thank you RIF and as I hear angry tear filling yells from the next room over something so stupid I guess my time of expressing is over. Shed some tears and pick up a book where nobody can hurt me and my hope might be restored…..even just a little. ~*Happy Reading, Everyone*~ Wishing we all, always have the gift of a book within reach <3