Oh yes, the start of another school year. Out comes the "this is why reading is so important" speech. It's always wonderfully well-received - never any eye-rolling, or groaning, or pretend fakey listening whilst actually thinking about Minecraft.
One of the girls this year ventured "I don't get why you would even like reading! Why do you like it?" I think my response was along the lines of the point of the exercise not being about me and my reading but about her and her reading. I was tempted to reply "but how can you not like it?", managing to hold it in, because I realise now, after a few decades on earth, that not everyone is exactly like me.
It did make me think though, about what the answer to that question actually is. I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. For me, it's like a safe place inside my head. There are actual geographical places and times and memories that give me a feeling and safety, security, warmth and happiness. Walking into the Manor Ground with my Dad and brother, smelling the liniment, and hearing the hum of the (modestly-sized) crowd; sitting in my Mum's old bedroom in my Nan's house doing my homework when I was in the Sixth Form, getting into bed early with a cuppa in my house once the children are all sleeping. I'm sure we all have these memories, these places we can go to.
When I'm reading, there's nothing else to worry about. A book with a good story takes up all of the corners in my brain that are dedicated to worrying about my health, my family's health, whether I am a good enough wife, mother, daughter and friend, money, work, what time tomorrow I've got to be at the doctor/dentist/random after-school activity for child, whether the baby ought to be saying some words by now, whether the kids ought to spend less time watching Stampy Longnose videos, climate change, why some people do evil things. Etc.
A good book is a nourishing break for my brain from ALLTHESTUFF. And once you've read the story and it was good, and you've connected with the characters and places, they never really leave you.