Why Do You Read?

Plus: 10 of my favorite Medium writers right now

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

It would be a lie to say I read for a living, but it’s fair to say I make a living because I love to read and am good at it.

Why do you read? When you ask people this, a lot of them say they read to consume information or to escape. No offense to me, but this blog post will likely contain very little information! And surely no escape, unless you are procrastinating. But it contains thought and opinion, and you may get a sense of how sentences form in my head because I write how I think, and you’ll learn who I’m reading lately, and why.

I think we read to connect with ideas and people. I have an always-growing list of people who I will read no matter what. I’ll read their tweets, their replies to other people’s tweets, their deep captions on IG, their blogs, their longform, their newsletters, their books, their texts, if I am lucky enough to call them a friend. Some of these writers I love for their voice, others for the way they think, for their spare (or weird!) use of language, for their ideas, or how they change my mind. And they all connect.

So I’m going to salute them here. Here are 10 writers I read for different reasons. Feel free to share your own list. (If you do, please tag me so I see your post — it’s an occupational requirement for me to fall in love with new writers on an ongoing basis 🤗.)

  1. Manoush Zomorodi. Manoush is an author, podcaster, host of the TED Radio Hour, and my workout buddy in the before times. She just started blogging regularly on Medium, and I love reading her because she writes how she speaks, and she speaks like the most candid, interesting person at the dinner party. She works at the intersection of technology and real life, which is relevant to all our interests. Meet her here.
  2. Bonsu Thompson writes about race and culture. I have known him a long time and he’s always been good. Lately when I read him, I catch myself holding my breath till the end. He comes at everything sideways and his thinking feels urgent these days. Like Manoush, very strong voice. This piece of his caught fire over the weekend. Get familiar with his archive.
  3. Michael Sippey, person of interests, product leader, reader, writer, purveyor of dad jokes. Sippey has been blogging since the earliest days, and he is very smart on a lot of different topics: reading, writing on the internet, his life. His writing is sweet, full of appreciation and insight. I read all his things.
  4. Kaki Okumura. Don’t know Kaki! But I find her writing and illustrations about health and wellness and Japanese cooking quite delightful.
  5. Alexandra Sifferlin is a health journalist and editor who runs the Medium Coronavirus Blog and works on Elemental. She has been a health writer since the beginning of her career, and she is uniquely good at taking complicated research and relaying it to a general reader with the nuance that scientists respect. Experts love her because she does their work justice. This is rare, awesome.
  6. M.G. Siegler is another person I do not know personally but feel like I do, because that’s the kind of writer he is. He writes regularly about technology, and he also shares ideas, random thoughts about Jeopardy, politics, and more. He has a lot of Medium followers. Maybe you follow him already.
  7. Rob Brezsny is an astrologer. I’m Gen X, so Rob is my guy; I have been reading him for literal decades. This week, he would like me to be my wisest, wild self. Roger that.
  8. Adrienne Samuels Gibbs is a Medium editor and writer I love to read. She works on the Momentum Blog and ZORA, and she also falls into the “will read anything” bucket for me. Her tweets tell stories, her blogs are very smart, and she’s an excellent reporter.
  9. LEVEL Editors. These folks are very, very funny. El-oh-el funny. Follow.
  10. Steve LeVine is obsessed with batteries, among other things. He is launching a new blog next week, so now would be a good time to get to know him if you don’t already. He also recently wrote about how he turned a fixation into a full time writing job.

So that’s my list for now. Who’s on yours?

VP, Editorial @Medium. I write and edit, usually in that order.

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