Throwback Thursday: Does reading matter?

This month, I’m reminded by the ongoing turmoil in the world of a discussion post I wrote seven years ago. I can’t remember what it was that was happening then, but it made me feel as though reading (and my mostly bookish blog) could be considered trivial in comparison. Writing out my thoughts about this helped me restore my faith in the power of reading. It’s not just escapism for me, although escape is sometimes the best response, when one is threatened.

Click here to read my original post from May 5, 2015, which began, “Today, with the ongoing barrage of terrible news of every kind from far and near, I scrapped my planned discussion post to address this burning question. Why, with all the other worthy causes that could claim my time and attention, do I spend time on reading…”

I hope you’ll read on, and join the discussion.

Linked in The Chocolate Lady’s Book Reviews #ThrowbackThursday link party.

man sitting under a tree reading a book during night time
Photo by Josh Hild on

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20 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Does reading matter?

  1. I think, reading helps a lot, Lory. We can’t put the problems of the whole world on our shoulders and need some distance from time to time. On the other hand, there is so much information nowadays, and not all of it correct, that we need to read in order to be better informed. You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place but reading helps you to make decisions and get over it. I know I have learned a lot just through reading.

  2. I agree: reading it’s both an escape from and an engagement with current events; it can ground one; it can give perspective; it can reinforce one’s own values; it can also provide a commentary on faraway or nearby events, and inform one of appropriate responses.

    Reading is rarely a pure head-in-the-sand reaction: it can, as it distracts, provide balm to the soul and fit us to face and cope with things less pleasant.

    1. Yes, and at times like these I am mindful of the privilege it is to be able to focus on pleasant things. Let’s not take that for granted.

  3. This tweet from someone I follow might help:

    “The news is utterly grim and I was reminded this morning of something I said in passing last week.

    Finding joy is an act of defiance in this world. Still true however hard it seems some days.” @JulieOwenMoylan

    Joy as an act of defiance is something that entirely resonates with me.

    1. Absolutely. There is a strength in true joy that goes beyond the power of any violence. The people who are able to demonstrate that are awe-inspiring, and I’ve met many of them through reading.

  4. All I know is that I am spending the day with Ivanhoe and have high expectations the experience of wrapping myself in another world and another time will rejuvenate me into coping with real life. A good reason to read in times of trouble.👍

  5. Absolutely for sure reading matters! Reading is how I learn about people who don’t live in Northern CA, right now. I can connect with people centuries ago or across the world; I can bear witness to suffering I didn’t experience. It’s also an escape when life gets to be too much.

    Back in 2018, when many of my neighbors lost their homes in a wildfire, I took donated used books to the shelters from the public library. We put in a lot of escapist thriller/romance/mystery stuff for the adults, and fun stuff for the kids. People appreciated having something to take their minds off their situations, pass the time without ruminating, and keep the kids happy. Also there was a huge demand for Bibles. When people started getting established again, a lot of them wanted to get replacement copies of their most beloved books that they’d lost, and we had a program for that too. I can’t claim that it was the most important thing anybody did (ha), but it was what we could do, and I think it helped some folks.

    1. “Pass the time without ruminating” strikes me as pretty important. Sometimes there is nothing you can do in a horrible situation and it’s such a mercy to have something creative to focus one’s mind on.

  6. It does matter. It gives me a far broader perspective on the world, taking me into countries and cultures that are unfamiliar to me and as a result enriching my understanding.

  7. Reading does matter. I would say it matter differently for different age groups. Like for kids reading matters for expanding their imagination. For teens it figuring out who they are, and for adults for a bit of everything. Escapism is something that everyone across all age ranges would read books for.

    1. Goodness, yes. The existence of the words on the page helps to ground us. I really appreciate that.

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