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8 Reasons Why We Love Books

From purpose and identity to social connection and escapism, we can get a lot out of a well-written story. These eight reasons are why we love books.

Everyone loves a good story, even if it’s just somebody “spilling the tea” on social media. But have you ever wondered why?

Our love for books and stories is rooted in our innate cognitive, emotional, and social processes. These fundamental needs drive us to seek meaning, connection, and understanding through books:

1. Humans Love Order

Humans are wired to comprehend and make sense of the world through structure. Narrative structures, such as beginnings, middles, and ends, help us organize information, remember events, and create meaning from our experiences. And books are a source of this coherence and structure, making complex information more digestible and memorable.

2. Everyone Wants to Feel Something

Emotions are a universal experience that is key to survival and communication. They give us a sense of feeling alive, and we may find ourselves seeking out these natural feelings, whether intentionally or not. But at certain times, we don’t have to look farther than our bookshelves. Books evoke emotions in readers or listeners, creating a powerful emotional connection that our brains often interpret as real. Through relatable characters, compelling conflicts, and dramatic tension, books elicit a range of emotions, from joy and excitement to sadness and fear. All from the safety of your own home.

3. We Value Empathy

Books allow us to step into the shoes of others and experience their perspectives, thoughts, and emotions. By identifying with people and stories, we develop empathy and compassion for others’ struggles and triumphs. This ability to understand and empathize with others’ experiences fosters social bonding, cooperation, and altruism.

4. We Need a Purpose

Books help us make sense of the world and our place in it by providing explanations, interpretations, and moral lessons. They convey cultural values, beliefs, and norms, shaping our understanding of right and wrong, good and evil, and justice and fairness. These insights into the human condition provide existential comfort and existential meaning. And through this, we can develop our self-identity, which has a huge impact on our well-being and mental health.

5. Humans Need an Escape

Stories talk in images, and books have the power to transport us to different times, places, and realities, allowing us to escape from the mundane aspects of everyday life. Through vivid descriptions, rich imagery, and immersive storytelling, books create a sense of transportation—a temporary departure from reality into the world of the narrative. This escapism provides mental relief, entertainment, and a sense of adventure.

6. Humans Seek an Identity

Books play a crucial role in shaping individual and collective identities. They reflect and reinforce cultural narratives, societal norms, and group identities, contributing to our sense of self and belonging. By identifying with characters who share similar experiences, identities, or values, we validate and affirm our own identities, fostering a sense of belonging and social connection.

7. We Are Constantly Learning and Growing

Engaging with books stimulates cognitive processes such as imagination, creativity, and problem-solving. Books challenge our cognitive abilities by presenting complex narratives, ambiguous situations, and moral dilemmas, prompting critical thinking and intellectual engagement. Analyzing and interpreting books exercises our cognitive faculties and enhances cognitive flexibility and mental agility.

8. We All Seek to Be Understood and Seen

Sharing stories is a fundamental aspect of human social interaction and communication. Whether through oral traditions, literature, or digital media, stories serve as a common language that fosters social connection, cohesion, and collective identity. Sharing stories strengthens relationships, builds empathy and trust, and reinforces social bonds within families, communities, and societies.

Discover More Reasons to Love Books

The cover of the board book Courageous People Who Changed the World.

Courageous People Who Changed the World

The cover of the picture book titled Book.


The cover of the book The Surfer and the Sage.

The Surfer and the Sage

Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.

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