I wasn’t that much of a reader as a child. I actually didn’t pick up my passion for books until I was in high school. See, I’d always loved writing, but I always found it difficult to get into whatever was assigned by my teachers. Over time, I learned to add the most energy into independent reading projects and book reports, where I read classics like On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I even managed to read Looking For Alaska by John Greene and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer for class.
As an adult, I still keep up my reading habit. It’s a great — but also temporary — escape from today’s treacherous political climate. (Of course, that’s assuming you aren’t reading Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya or Trump: Anatomy of a Monstrosity by Nathan J. Robinson, both of which I’d still recommend). I consider it a great form of self-care, especially depending on which genre I choose to dive into in that moment. (Short horror fiction, anyone? Queer erotica, ‘eh?) Reading helps me both unwind from and prepare me for a big day.
Reading about other peoples’s stories, too, helps me de-center my life experiences and really look at the world from another perspective I likely hadn’t ever considered before.
As a writer myself, reading helps me flex my vocabulary muscles, practice my own craft, and examine the way other successful (or occasionally, not-so-successful) authors write.
Plus, who doesn’t love an indulgent trip to your local public library? It provides a quiet environment to browse through its endless shelves and sit down to flip through a book’s many pages. Just the other day, I checked out a bag full of books. Walking out of the those library doors afterwards felt absolutely amazing, and unloading the new titles on my window sill was an event better feeling.