When I was younger, I hated to read. My mom would have to assign specific time during the day for me to turn off the TV and sit with a book. These days however, it's an entirely different story. I am not ashamed to admit that now there are days when I would rather spend my time reading than out socializing with friends or doing anything else. I'm not sure what changed, all I know is that I can't imagine a world without books. At 24, it's hard to find people my age who actually love to talk about books, let alone enjoy reading. In a day and age of video games, fantasy films and social media, books are rarely a young adult's first choice of entertainment. It's a sad truth, but honestly, who wants to sit around and read when you can binge-watch Netflix or scroll through Twitter?
So why do I have such a passion for reading? What makes books so appealing to me over other forms of entertainment? The answer that immediately comes to my mind can be summed up in one word: Escapism.
Escapism is defined by Merriam Webster as "habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine". At the end of the day, we all need some means of escapism in our lives. We have daily struggles and responsibilities that wear us down and while it's important to deal with those, it's equally important to combat that stress with a getaway from reality. While TV, film and video games are all ways that we can zone out and tune out from real life, nothing is able to accomplish pulling you from your daily life and into another world quite like a book.
Author Donald Miller said, "I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling that you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding." I don't think that I could say it any better than that. Stories have been the primary form of entertainment ever since the beginning of man. The majority of popular movies today are even adapted from novels. There are simply things that written word can accomplish that film or music cannot.
I guess my main point is this: books are a dying medium, and yet they have so much to offer. Not only are they thought-provoking, but the use of imagination that is required when reading is much more than is needed when watching a film or playing a game. So the next time you are in need of a little escape, grab a book and just see the places it can take you.