Why does Bryon value reading so much in the novel That Was Then, This Is Now?   

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several scenes throughout the novel that depict Bryon reading and commenting about literature. In Chapter 2, Mike asks Bryon if he has some time to hear the story about why he got beat up. Bryon mentions that he enjoys hearing about things that have happened to other people which is why he likes to read. Bryon enjoys a good story because it allows him the opportunity to explore other people's experiences. Bryon also has many good memories attached to reading which is another reason he values it. In Chapter 4, Mark asks Bryon if he'll read to him. Bryon mentions that they not longer have a TV and reminisces about their childhood when they used to read cowboy books as little kids. When they were children, Bryon and Mark used to climb up trees and Bryon would read aloud to Mark.  Reading also allows Bryon to escape from his everyday life and serves as a constant source of entertainment. Bryon also mentions that he would rather read Hemmingway than a newspaper any day. Judging from Bryon's depressing environment, he views literature as an outlet for his imagination. He does not want to be reminded of the multitude of social ills surrounding him, let alone read boring political jargon in newspapers. His affinity for learning is another reason why he values reading. Byron is also a bit of a "wise-guy" and reading introduces him to new, useful information.