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Essay: Why I Read by Keishon

Last winter, I posted that I would love to hear from readers, writers, bloggers about why they read, write and blog. Keishon, avid book reader, is one of our favorite bloggers here at Dear Author. Three of us here are participating in her monthly TBR challenge. Keishon is the reader who introduced me to Julia Spencer Fleming’s writing, among others.

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Let’s see, why do I read. A little background is in order. First off, I come from a family of readers. I started reading in high school, way back in the 90′s and it more or less came out of curiosity. A friend of mine would come to school everyday with a book in her hand and one day she was crying her eyes out. I asked her what she was reading and she said, V.C. Andrews, the book was SEEDS OF YESTERDAY. I went to the school library the next day, located the first book, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC and after that I was well on my way to reading. I read the entire series and understood my friend’s uncontrollable tears. Moving on.

I went to my mother next and asked her if she had any books around the house and she did. She gave me a paperback of Victoria Holt’s gothic romance, THE HOUSE OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS and I loved it. I went searching for that woman’s back list like a mad woman and read almost every Victoria Holt novel that was out there. My mother even asked her friend for rec’s for me and that friend introduced me to LaVyrle Spencer, nuff said. At that point I could call myself a ‘reader.’

Anyway, that’s how I got started reading but the essay asks: why do I read. I read to escape real life but more importantly, books offer the best way to travel to all the different parts of the world on the cheap. I love reading because there’s nothing better than a good book. I get a natural high going when I am reading a really good book. I mean admit it, when you’re reading a really good book, you tend to forget all the stresses in your life. I go to work happy knowing that I got a good book waiting for me at home. I also read to increase my knowledge base and vocabulary and more importantly, it’s a pleasure getting to know all the different characters, different personality types, seeing how other people live their life and to be completely lost in their world. But the best part of reading for me? is meeting other readers who love to read, too. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

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If you would like to contribute a guest essay on why you read, why you write or why you blog, please send an email to Jane at dearauthor.com with “Essay” in the subject line.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

19 Comments

  1. Bev Stephans
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 01:36:42

    I see that your mother also got you started on certain authors. Nice essay.

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  2. Keishon
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 07:51:40

    Yes she did! She also read some early JAK and Judith McNaught books, too but never gave me those to read. It’s interesting when we talk that she read a lot of these romances from the 80′s but she never kept them. She threw them away.

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  3. Jayne
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 09:23:17

    I love reading because there's nothing better than a good book. I get a natural high going when I am reading a really good book. I mean admit it, when you're reading a really good book, you tend to forget all the stresses in your life.

    Love that feeling. The pages of those books just seem to fly by. And even years later, I can still recall specific things about the story and the characters.

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  4. theo
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 10:14:18

    I still have a shelf full of Victoria Holt! LOVE her. I understand why you devoured them all.

    I started reading in high school, way back in the 90's and it more or less came out of curiosity.

    This made me smile though. I read Bride of Pendoric when it was new…

    :D

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  5. Keishon
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 11:46:43

    Hey Jayne – thanks! There are very few things in life that gives you a natural high and reading and enjoying a really good book is one of them.

    Hey Theo! Another Victoria Holt fan, awesome. Funny you should mention THE BRIDE OF PENDORIC, love that book. I think of all her works, I still haven’t read THE SECRET WOMAN and my least favorite of her work, SEVEN FOR A SECRET (blah). I read her other stuff under other pen names too like Phillipa Carr and VOICES IN A HAUNTED ROOM is a keeper (even tracked down a harcopy to put on my shelf). I am just now discovering her Jean Plaidy historical fiction novels. Awesome writer. I also enjoy Mary Stewart as well.

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  6. Janine
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 12:10:01

    I read to escape real life but more importantly, books offer the best way to travel to all the different parts of the world on the cheap. I love reading because there's nothing better than a good book. I get a natural high going when I am reading a really good book. I mean admit it, when you're reading a really good book, you tend to forget all the stresses in your life. I go to work happy knowing that I got a good book waiting for me at home. I also read to increase my knowledge base and vocabulary and more importantly, it's a pleasure getting to know all the different characters, different personality types, seeing how other people live their life and to be completely lost in their world. But the best part of reading for me? is meeting other readers who love to read, too. It just doesn't get any better than that.

    Well said, Keishon!

    I read for all of the reasons above too. I love what you said about stress reduction, traveling without leaving your home, getting to know different characters and meeting other readers. So true for me too.

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  7. theo
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 12:19:28

    Keishon, I have SECRET WOMAN around here somewhere, I think. I’ve read all the Holt novels and had a heck of a time trying to replace a lot of them when we had a flood years ago. I read a few Plaidy novels, but I still like the tone of the Holt ones best.

    I would close myself in my room on a Saturday and read a couple before my mother could pry me out of the house to ‘get some fresh air’. *sigh* I wish I could still do that now! :P

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  8. (Jān)
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 12:23:12

    I’m like you Keishon. I love to travel and meet all kinds of people through books too. You can always go to France, but you’ll never understand what it was to live through their revolutions unless you read. These days I prefer more escapist fare, but I still love that feeling you describe of losing myself and being transported.

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  9. Keishon
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 12:31:57

    Hey Janine! Thanks! Being a reader makes it so much easier to break the ice with other readers when you’re at author signings and shopping in bookstores, etc. What I’m reading is one of my favorite topics of discussion when asked. Thanks for your feedback.

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  10. Janine
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 13:00:00

    You’re welcome, Keishon. It was a joy to read this.

    Jan, that’s so true about being able to understand different events in history better through reading. That feeling of being transported is one of the best feelings in the world.

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  11. Renee
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 14:06:10

    Great essay, Keishon! Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn was my first romance! And, yes, I stalked the libraries and bookstore for her backlist, too.

    The Queen’s Confession (about Marie Antionette) made me cry like a baby.

    It’s funny how VC Andrews was a “gateway” author for many readers. I remember her Flowers in the Attic sweeping through me and my friends in jr high.

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  12. Keishon
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 14:43:07

    Hey Jan, thanks! There’s a reason why I’ve followed your reading advice.

    Hey Renee! I loved MISTRESS OF MELLYN. Well, I loved a lot of her titles. Yep, my life as a reader started out with a book that had incest in it (had no idea at the time). When I started reading Spencer though, I think my mouth dropped open from reading SEPARATE BEDS being that it was my first time reading a sex scene. Those early days, sigh. Wonderful time to be reading. Everything was so new.

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  13. Sunita
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 14:55:34

    Great essay, Keishon! Victoria Holt was one of my first authors from the adult side of the library as well.

    I *love* that feeling of living in another world and then suddenly realizing that I’m in my living room/bedroom/wherever.

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  14. MCHalliday
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 17:02:37

    I get a natural high going when I am reading a really good book. I mean admit it, when you're reading a really good book, you tend to forget all the stresses in your life.

    So true, a good book can seem near my own experiences and resonate as such, particularily when entranced in a superb Fantasy or FR.

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  15. theo
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 18:24:37

    One thing I have to admit, Keishon, I too read Flowers. It was like a train wreck for me. I hated it, but couldn’t stop reading it. I never did read the rest of them though.

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  16. Keishon
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 19:31:49

    Hey Sunita and thanks! Another Holt fan which is always nice.

    Hey McHalliday, thanks for the feedback, appreciate it.

    Theo – I don’t think you’d want to go further in that series. The ending is depressing as heck. I once watched the movie version of Flowers and had to laugh. It was a horrible adapation. Horrible *my eyes*

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  17. orannia
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 19:34:56

    Thank you Keishon!

    I read to escape real life… I mean admit it, when you're reading a really good book, you tend to forget all the stresses in your life.

    That’s exactly why I read! I can go anywhere…I would say be anyone, but I somehow end up taking all my baggage with me.

    Oh, and I owe you a huge thank you! I finished reading the sixth Julia Spencer-Fleming book I Shall Not Want last month (I picked up the series after reading your post here on Ms Spencer-Fleming’s books) and I loved it! It is probably my favourite of the series. I emailed the author and was rapt to hear that she is working on the seventh book :)

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  18. Angie
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 22:41:59

    Wonderful essay, Keishon. I love hearing about other people’s gateway books. And I agree about the traveling. There are so many places I actually feel like I’ve been from serially rereading a beloved book that was set there.

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  19. Keishon
    Mar 03, 2009 @ 09:18:36

    Orannia – thanks for heads up on some JSF news! Appreciate it.

    Angie, that’s why I adore historical fiction from writers like Gabaldon and Diana Norman who actually TRANSPORT you to another time and place while you’re sitting in your living room. There’s nothing better than getting lost in the past and enjoying the trip with all those wonderful characters. Right now I am reading a Roberta Gellis book, FORTUNE’S BRIDE that is set during the Napoleonic wars. It is a heavy historical romance but I am loving it right now.

    ReplyReply

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