I am incredibly lucky and privileged to be living in a place where public libraries are totally accessible and to have parents that exposed me to books when I was younger. My childhood days were spent mostly with characters by authors such as Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. I remember spending HOURS reading everything I can get my hands on and I would feel so happy. My favourite books growing up were The Faraway Tree Collection, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Malory Towers, Matilda, The Twits and Nancy Drew.
Sadly, I wasn't the kid that grew up reading Harry Potter even though I so badly wanted to. By the time I got into Harry Potter, I had already watched the first few movies with my cousins and I have this strange rule when it comes to movie adaptations of books: I must absolutely read the book first before watching the movie. If I have already watched the movie first, I'm not as inclined to read the source material. I know, it's so weird. Many of my friends who grew up reading Harry Potter told me that the books are WAYYYY better than the movies but since I've already watched the movies first, I don't really have the motivation to read the books.
It could be that the reason why I'm as such is because half the fun of reading is being able to create my own imaginary world in my head just by using the words of the author. In fact, I think that IS the best part. It's like making your own movie, but it's all in your head. And because it's all in your head, it'll be unique because it's from your very own imagination! Urghh, I love reading so much can you tell haha!
I was on the phone with my best friend and I brought up a Youtube video I watched some time ago about picturing characters while reading (which you can watch here) and it lead to such an interesting conversation topic! I was telling her about how I don't really imagine book characters fully in my head. I know I mentioned earlier that it's kinda like watching a movie in your head but I don't usually picture them fully, rather I imagine them as more like headless shadowy figures, if that makes sense? Apart from the initial character description in the beginning of the story, I don't really try to imagine them in great detail, but I will assign a particular trait that will differentiate him/her from the other characters (hair, eye colour etc.) I guess another way to look at it is that I imagine the aura of the characters as opposed to their physical body and I think that's what differentiates my experience when I'm reading compared to watching a movie.
This could be why I don't really like it when Wattpad writers do fancasts for their stories. Wattpad is an online community platform for aspiring writers to publish their work and have other users read/comment on it. I generally like Wattpad but I don't usually find stories that appeal to me. It's kinda like a thrift store. I will have to hunt and search for that few well-written stories I totally love and I feel a sense of satisfaction when I do manage to find these stories. I guess that's what keeps me coming back to Wattpad!
Fancasting is such a huge component of Wattpad and I can understand why people like it because it's fun to imagine your favourite actor as one of your favourite book characters. Personally, I will always skip the fancasts and imagine the characters my own way. I sometimes do go on Tumblr to look at fanarts after finishing a book that I REALLYYYY love, just to reminisce the essence and feelings from the book even after the ending. I am okay with fanarts because I will usually seek those out after I finish reading my books so they don't really compete with my own version of the characters since they've already lived out their story in my head. Sometimes when I do find a fanart that is similar to my own version of the character, I get so excited! Since I can't draw well, it's amazing to see it come to life and I start gushing about the characters all over again. I can easily spend hours on Tumblr because of this, saving cool fanart pictures on my phone or liking posts that accurately describe my feelings for a particular character. Is there a word that describes this particular stage of reading?? If not, there needs to be.
Reading is something I love and hold so dearly to my heart. It has such a huge impact on me that I can't describe to you how much I love it. I feel like part of my personality can be contributed to the characters that have been a huge part of my life growing up and I can never stop thanking authors for being brave enough to share their stories and characters to everyone around the world. These characters have made me into who I am, literally (hah get it, because books are literary works?? okay okay I'm ending my post soon).
If you love reading, what has your experience been like? What is your favourite part about reading and why is it so? I would love to hear from you!
I hope everyone will be able to experience the same joy I do whenever I read my favourite books. It doesn't have to be reading per se, it can be anything that brings happiness into your life and please do it as often as you can. Because everyone could use a little more joy in their life, whatever shape or form it may be ❤️