“We rarely find depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story… When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”
Awhile back, I listened to an audiobook of Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend and hearing this line made me press pause to ponder.
It made me think about the stories I’ve read about in books. Was it depth that I found in them when I connected to characters or felt their emotions or reached a certain clarity about some things in life? Absolutely.
There’s something utterly amazing about finding depth through reading books. I just love it when I read and I find a line that I really connect to or just completely understand. (Like with the quote that sparked this post!)
Moreover, I love how reading allows me to expand my perspective on a lot of things. When I was younger and only read books for fun and amusement, I had a very simple view of life. Be a good person, obey your parents, do good in school and you’ll live happily ever after.
But when I started reading books not only for leisure but for depth, for some sort of sense what life is and what it should be about, I learned differently. I learned that things aren’t so black and white. I learned that bad things happen to good people. I learned that things aren’t always perfect and that there aren’t always happily-ever-afters. That real life is difficult.
Reading opens your eyes. The stories may be fictional but what you learn is real. What I learned from reading helped when things got tough and that’s why I held tight to books.
Books also open minds. For me, it opened up my mind to feminism, diversity, disability and so much more. Through devouring stories, I broaden my awareness continually.
I still read books for fun. But mostly, I read books to search for the depth that lays beneath. Because it’s true- reading books can add layers to your soul.
What a beautiful post!
This happens pretty rarely, but if I’m reading a book and it doesn’t make me think about or question anything, I end up putting it aside. It’s nice to read for leisure, but if you’re just consuming the words and not considering what they mean, you’re missing out on a lot!
Thank you so much, Annie! I love it when books make stop and think and question. And usually, the ones that make me do so I end up really loving.
Something I wish I could explain to friends who think I read just for fun: that I read because there’s something to learn and some meaning to find.
I don’t read books purposely looking for some depth, often than not it is just a pure coincidence that I feel so strongly with the story/relationship/characters and sometimes (every so often) even the simplest stories generate strong reactions out of me. I think it echoes something in us that resulted to this kind of connection. ;D
For me, I think I do it subconsciously and when I do find some depth, it’s like I realize I’ve been looking for it all along you know? I know what you mean about how even the simplest of things generate such strong reactions- same goes for me!
I completely agree! I’ve learned so much about people, the world and myself through reading – it’s utterly incredible.
I’m glad to hear so, Kyra! Reading is SO awesome.
Yessss, I love this so much and it’s so so true. I LOVE books that I just connect to, or something just sparks my inspiration, or books I cant’ get out of my head because I just think about them so much. And books have totally changed how I think about things and (more importantly) opened my mind to thinking about things I hadn’t even considered. BOOKS ARE SPECIAL. And I adore that quote!
YAY CAIT! <3 Thank you so much for reading the post. I'm so happy that we share the same sentiments!
I definitely think I can connect to books and appreciate them an awful lot, and they add a lot to me as a person through the characters I can relate to – this is pretty much finding depth in reading, right? We are the sum of our experiences and our achievements, and we should never forget that. Great post Hazel :)
It is, yes! Reading is quite an experience too, isn’t it? Thank you, Amanda!
Aww… There are times when I read for fun, and for when, like you said, “finding depth through reading”. Stories tell us about the world, about people, about ourselves, and we can learn so much from them. Also, reading is like rediscovering ourselves – and thinking, am I like that? Would I do that? Why do people feel this way?
I love this post! I definitely feel that reading makes me more accepting of the differences between people, as I get to see the point of view of the author. While I might not always agree, it allows me to understand their thinking via their characters. I also love the ideas of fantasy as it allows us to look at usual issues from a slightly different lens.
I love that books teach me new things. They challenge me to be more accepting, understanding, compassionate; they show me different perspectives that allow me to possess a bit more knowledge about others who aren’t necessarily like me. I love that there is so much wealth to be gained from books, aside from simply finding them an entertaining way to pass the time. Lovely post, Hazel!
You’re so right about the stories being fictional but the lessons we get from them are real. I believe that’s the most amazing thing about reading. It makes you realize so many things in life. You learn about yourself too through other people’s stories. :)
What an interesting idea! It’s true, I think that finding personal depth is one of the benefits of extensive, thoughtful reading. The best books are ones that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. And I know I would be a completely different person today if certain books didn’t have just as much influence on my development as my family and teachers did.
Even though I cannot pinpoint ALL the exact quotes, or even the novels they came from, I know that overall books have changed my perspective on life in many different ways. I love thought-provoking novels, and it is often that authors of such works write something that really sticks with me in a way that changes who I am intrinsically.