I think I have finally figured out why I spend so much time reading books, listening to music and watching television/movies.
The characters and stories portrayed and depicted are, by their nature, so dramatic, so comical, so romantic, so intriguing, so compelling, so (fill in the blank with your choice of adjective), and you come to the realization that real life is never so (fill in the blank). The more you immerse yourself in these fictional realities, the more you realize that your personal life will never be so. If you spend more time in the fictional world than in the real world, with real people and real problems, the more you will prefer the fictional world.
Using myself as a classic example, the more I read, the more I listen to music, the more I watch TV/movies, the more I want to leave behind my own life and reality and insert myself into the lives of my fictional friends (my life being boring in comparison). The logical solution, of course, is to stop reading so many books, stop listening to so much music, stop watching so much television/movies. However, the flaw in that plan is that I have now become so dependent on outside sources of drama/comedy/romance/intrigue that I can't get through the day without them. I have become addicted to fiction, in all its forms. It's as if I have escaped reality one too many times that I am now lost in my own fictional world.
On the few occasions that I am fully aware of the real world around me, I am bombarded by all of the problems and worries and stresses of my real life that I become so overwhelmed, and instead of dealing, I immediately escape reality to seek the comfort of my fictional friends. I will read a book, listen to music, watch TV shows/movies for hours on end, just so I don't have to feel the weight of my own reality. I would rather be a participant in the fictitious relationships of characters in a book or in a movie than have to face the reality of the lack of my own. I would rather turn up the music really loud to feel the bass in my chest than face the reality of feeling nothing at all. I would rather be with fictional characters than face the reality of being alone.
At times I think I escape reality in order to feel real.