I love reading.
These days, that actually means that I love listening to people read books to me via Audible, but the difference is small, to me. If anything, I get more into stories when I listen to them. Something about not having to use my eyes. Sounds strange, but there it is.
Anyway, I love books. Fiction, non-fiction, any subject (well, almost). Like many people that consume the written word as voraciously as I do, it’s more than just a love of story or subject matter, although my appreciation for story-telling and it’s many powers is deep and unassailable. I also use books – fiction in particular – to escape, and to enhance, my regular life.
I’ve been working my way through a particular series lately. (The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, although I won’t be describing it in great detail in this post. Might review the books later, though.) In this series, there is a whole hell of a lot going on. It’s high fantasy, set in a world where the old gods are dead, and the new ones are approaching. There are hidden powers, questions of honor, meek people becoming powerful and good people being corrupted. All against a backdrop of more or less total war between two factions that do not understand one another at all.
It’s exciting and engrossing, and getting caught up in all that has helped me endure more than one shitty shift at work, or long day with little to do, or walk with my dog. It’s so immersive that it wipes away everything for me for the time I’m listening, and that’s something I’m not sure I can put a price on. The ability to disconnect and be entertained, without having to use drugs, is huge. It is… restorative.
On the same token, though, I’ve also been inspired by some of the characters to the point where I find myself genuinely formulating responses to things based on what I think they would do. Mostly, this translates to me thinking more before I speak – something all 4 of my grandparents went to their graves having given up on – and making a more sincere effort to be respectful and open minded. I wish I could have learned these things by the more traditional means of being parented well in a stable, well-rounded environment, but…. I didn’t.
I didn’t learn it from my friends, although several of my closer friends are absolutely respectful and open and kind, and always have been. I typically miss qualities like those in my friends, being too preoccupied with my own bullshit. I never had a mentor, my parents weren’t in a position to teach me things they never knew themselves… no.
I learned – am actively learning, in fact – to be a better person by reading fantasy novels.
I think this is both hilarious, and sort of awful.