Review – Why We Read

Posted May 17, 2022 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Why We Read by Josephine GreywoodeWhy We Read, ed. Josephine Greywoode

Received to review via Netgalley

This is a collection of 70 pieces of writing on the topic of reading non-fiction. Many of the writers chosen speak about reading quite broadly, and some seem outright confused about the assignment, talking largely about fiction. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised that the responses are largely predictable, with some authors discussing their personal need to read (often sounding ridiculously pretentious as they do so) and others talking about how reading elevates people, or even the entire human race. Some make sure to add a soupçon of contempt for those who don’t read, or at least hasten to make it clear that the illiterate are utterly impoverished, morally deficient, and overall doomed.

Why do I read non-fiction? I’m curious. That’s it. I don’t expect enlightenment, and I’m not seeking it. I just want to know things, and crave the moment where I can excitedly turn to someone else and share what I just read in tones of unbelief.

I suppose I also seek out non-fiction in specific moods, when I’m anxious or restless and I can’t bear to live in other people’s emotions too much. So I read non-fiction in much the same way as I read fiction, just in a different mood: to escape.

There. Now I’ve contributed.

Rating: 2/5

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4 responses to “Review – Why We Read

  1. I read non-fiction for mostly the same reasons. I’m curious and I want to learn. Sometimes I want to learn about sad things, so that’s not an escape. But I definitely sometimes pick up some non-fiction as an escape, like reading an entire book about seashells or squid or a tall ship that had a fun history. I’m certainly not going to find enlightenment in the pages of Dana’s “The Seaman’s Friend”. XD

    We should make our own “why we read” book (more likely zine) and it will all be short, unpretentious answers, to the point of parody. With doodles because I like pictures.

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