What does reading mean to me?

Today I refer to a post I wrote years ago on my personal/photoblog; a blog I had to let go due to time constraints.

Few things have change since I wrote this post years ago. I didn’t call myself a writer back then but only a reader. I was sceptical about the digital platform. But now I realise it’s a gateway to worlds I couldn’t otherwise access, considering the exorbitant shipping fees when buying print books.

Reading is my “ME” time. The time is as precious as the writing time, and so I treat both with respect they command.

Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere. ~ Jean Rhys

I enjoy armchair travel more especially, when I explore the world through the written word than through an Idiot Box. Reading allows me to employ all my senses, and let my imagination run wild.

The other day, I visited a bookstore with the intention to buy one of my colleagues a gift. I ended up buying myself the books in the picture, instead. No surprises there, it’s one of my bookaholic tendencies. And just like that, I managed to increase my reading list …*sigh*

In my defense though, it’s not very common to find poetry books in English here (in my city) though there is a decent selection of poetry in Finnish. I made a point of showing my appreciation by thanking the cashier for their efforts so that she can pass on the message to the buyer.

I could go on and on about reading, but at this point I would love to hear what does reading mean to you.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. Reading still means quite a lot to me even though now I depend upon Audio books or Audio versions of classic books and poems. I’m an English major so books were always my life since I grew up before computers, cell phones, tablets, laptops etc…

    For example I was not really looking for this poem but it brought back childhood memories because it was my Dad’s favorite poem and he had me memorize it. Once the I began listening I could recall most of it verbatim even though it has been many many years since Daddy first introduced me to this poetic gem.

    Invictus-William Ernest Henley

  2. Hi Khaya!
    I love that you describe reading as armchair travel. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
    For me, reading is like living new lifetimes. If I could live 1 million lifetimes in my life…I’d die happy. When I read, I’m immersed in the setting, the story and the personalities of the different characters. It’s such a rewarding experience….I feel sorry for those who don’t know this pleasure.
    The one thing I miss though..is holding a book- as I had to migrate to audio books a few years ago. You see, my books had overrun the house and there was a family intervention (can you imagine it???). So, I promised to ‘tone it down’ and snuck to audio books. Nobody knows how bad this addiction is….and I LOVE it!

  3. Reading is to me all of the people, friends, parents, teachers, and coworkers who have let me down re-made into the best of friends, stepparents, enlightened teachers and fellow laborers in the trenches of reality. Books have educated, inspired, consoled, entertained and delighted me all of my life. No wonder I identify with the Twilight Zone episode of the old man who loves books so much he believes he no longer needs people, then delights when the world ends except for him alive in his library…until he breaks his glasses!

  4. Reading is living without limits. We are lucky, those of use living today, aren’t we? So many were excluded from this miracle in the past…

  5. I feel reading to you, is like painting to me. My mind is free. My soul explores. I go into another world. Big Hugs!

  6. Oh, Deborah! Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of your dad. I must say, there’s something surreal about listening poems being read aloud. Wonderful.

  7. True that! Reading is such a rewarding experience. You had me laughing about the family intervention. 😀
    Thanks Vivian, and happy reading!

  8. I love the Rhys quote and share your joy in exploring the world through books. For me, books (as opposed to television) tell human stories, and they make the world smaller by connecting us through common themes and emotions. Books can generate compassion, something the world desperately needs. And of course, books are also just plain fun. 🙂

  9. I agree, we certainly need more compassion. And books do allow us to stand in someone else’s shoes. Thank you my friend for popping by. Btw, what are you currently reading?

  10. Khaya, I’m so happy that the bookshop has some English poetry books and I recognise rupi kaur’s book from my friend’s. I’m waiting to borrow this one! This is a lovely post celebrating reading … to me it is as breathing and eating … a necessity and very essence of life. To disappear into world’s, characters’ lives, be stimulated intellectually and emotionally. Some staying with me briefly, others never leaving me. I’m currently reading Fredrik Backman’s ‘Us Against You’ and just finished a short story book by Fred Rohn called ‘Encounters’.

  11. This is a lovely description of your reading experience. I seriously love writers, who read. Thank you for reading along with me.📚💚

  12. It’s so odd that I was going to DM you to ask if you’d read Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. It’s a memoir, but I think you’ll like it. With that said, reading means gaining insights and information for me. I’m spending this year reading one memoir a month and so far, it’s expanded my perspective on many issues.

  13. Hi Kathy! I actually haven’t read Trevor’s memoir yet but looking forward to it. I know I’ll relate to a lot of things he talks about in the book.

    Oh yes, I like your plan of reading at least one memoir per month. Brilliant! It’s what I try to do with poetry.

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