Reading for me brings alive a whole different universe in my head.
I was discussing with my mother the other night, our completely different tastes in literature and entertainment. I tend to like the thrillers and horrors and whodunits and she prefers light, comedic, feel-good kind of stories. It is her long standing opinion that what you fill your mind with is what you will live; and she has constantly been afraid of my becoming dark and evil because of the kinds of books I insist on reading.
I explained to her that for me, the Stephen King’s and the Dean Koontz’s of this world create worlds vastly different from our own – worlds into which I can escape completely because those worlds cannot possibly exist. Yes, they are written to be completely believable and maybe even possible, but at the end of the day, I know I am reading fiction and that it is not reality. It is a dream world – albeit nightmarish in quality – that I can, at any time, voluntarily step away from.
Personally, this is what recreational reading should do for you – take away from reality, give you something to occupy your mind and allow you to put down your reality for a while. Something to enjoy that is not tied to reality.
I have never quite gotten the concept of reality entertainment – other people’s real lives on display for my entertainment. Except that it is real life, real issues, real problems and all it does is remind me of my own real life and issues. That is not entertainment to me; that is life.
Books provide entertainment and the added bonus of a brain workout depending on what you choose to read. For me, whodunits provide the perfect combination of entertainment and brain exercise because while I am enjoying the weaving of the story, I am putting together all the clues the author is giving me and trying to see if I can guess whodunit before the end of the book. In other words, puzzles that make me laugh and cry and try like anything to solve whilst laughing and/or crying.
Of our US readership, how many of you have seen those Yahoo ads – such as this one for “World’s Greatest Dad”? This is the kind of experience I have when I am reading – a whole different world opens up in my mind and I create the environment, characters, colors, experiences and surroundings based on what the author has provided with their words and descriptions. That in itself is a workout for the brain, but so rewarding; it makes the whole reading experience that much more memorable.
Now that I have had time to read more about services such as BookTrack, I realize that this is the kind of experience these guys want everybody to have when they are reading. They want to surround us with the sounds and ambience to help us create better imaginary worlds based on the authors’ words. Some might say that if the author isn’t able to do that on the basis of their words alone, it reflects on the quality of writer they are. But I disagree – some people need that extra boost of sound because they are more aural than they are verbal.
At the end of the day, when we can get to the point where we are all enjoying reading as the kind of out-of-body experience illustrated by the Yahoo! commercials the better off we will be. Reading can do no harm and only good. Why not see if we can bring more people in on the experience in any way possible?