Why do I read?

To be entertained by a cracking yarn.

To comfort me in illness or sadness.

To experience the thrill of a new beginning, and the potential that I hold in my hand for unfurling life or explosive change.

To experience and even live others’ lives, thoughts and feelings.

To empathise with their sorrows and dilemmas.

To remember and honour others’ accumulated wisdom and experience.

To try out for size different ways of being in the world.

To inform myself about the world and other ways of conceptualising or approaching it.

To understand the forces at work, in order to resist them, or encourage and celebrate them, and hold them all in prayer.

To find solidarity with others, and the energy and enthusiasm to keep on keeping on.

To reinforce my entrenched positions and opinions, my blinkered points of view.

To strengthen the walls of my bubble.

To hoard knowledge.

To go in pursuit of the new, and the next shiny thing.

To reach into my depths, and bring to light joys, sadnesses, gut-wrenching emotion.

To explore the past and the present, the Earth and the universe, God’s Creation, its wonders and its harshnesses.

To stretch my imagination, introducing and evoking places I’ll never visit.

To scratch the surface of my home world, to dig where I stand.

To dig deep to the rich seams of unconscious and collective unconscious, the human condition, the deep-down depths of God the source and ground of my being.

To tap into the ever-flowing undercurrent of prayer.

To happen across delights, pearls of great price, treasures hidden in literary fields.

To soar on wings like eagles and obtain a bird’s eye view.

To expand my known knowns and known unknowns, and my realisation of the likely vastness of my unknown unknowns.

To distract from being and/or from prayer.

To switch off from all the cares and burdens of the world, with a dead tree in my hands.

To while away a commute.

To put up a barrier on trains.

To show off or encourage the ‘right sort’ of conversation on trains.

To block out noise.

To disappear to a different place, or escape to other worlds.

To make the best of a period of waiting.

To own books, which can be categorised and ordered, and make great room decor.

To be able to make recommendations to others, and lend… carefully.

To give others an insight into my character and interests through the content and dis/arrangement of my book shelves.

To show myself in the best light on Zoom.

To display my learning to house and dinner guests… back in the day.

To boast of the quantity and quality of books I’ve read.

To appear well-read and well-informed.

To seek wisdom and understanding.

To be surprised and delighted.

To build castles and imaginary certainties from bricks of knowledge.

To validate my insights.

To fit jigsaw pieces together into coherent world views.

To try and finish the jigsaw, though the edges will never be straight, nor indeed ever be edges in any dimension.

To find my place in the world.

To identify with the human condition.

To recognise myself in others, with all their glories and flaws.

To discover new things about myself.

To understand and know that I am really no different from anyone else, but that I am also unique and completely other.

To understand the ties that bind us, and the thoughts and fears that (if we allow) can separate us.

To prompt me to write myself, to communicate my own treasure, old and new, bring it out of my storehouses of wisdom and understanding.

To have an excuse to stop and settle down with or without a nice cup of tea.

Once upon a time, to rebel against parental strictures over bed times and lights out.

In order to lay the book aside and slip into sleep or prayer.

To miss out on looking, gazing out of the window, basking, simply sitting, being attentive, life.

To know that I am not alone.

At least, these are what I have intended and received and encountered and experienced in reading, positive and negative.