On Reading For Pleasure


I used to think there was more to reading than just pleasure. And, of course there is; you crawl into the concealed crevices of the human mind; you voyage through time; you tiptoe from continent to continent; you experience the unknown; you come to realisations (some good, some bad); you think. And that's only the beginning of things – really.

And yet, I used to think these things were more important than the enjoyment of a book. I used to think, in order for a book to be one of my favourites, it had to make my mind dive through a myriad of emotions and unconsidered thoughts – not that it could simply make me smile. Inevitably, I'd overcomplicated and compromised the pleasure of reading.

And yet, the other day, the star-shaped cogs of sense started ticking again, and I remembered the importance of simply enjoying a book. Of course I love it when a book enables me to do all of the above, but all of that is futile if the simple turn of a page can't bring me pure enjoyment. Besides, it is when I read for pleasure I ultimately discover the most.

“With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw its fragrance deep inside me. This was enough to make me happy.” – Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

“I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name 'em, I ate 'em.”  – Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451

I now believe reading for pleasure is the most valuable reason to read. It's the purest and least complicated reason; it leaves a smile flickering across your lips, and it leaves your fingers itching for the next adventure. And, more than anything, it makes you fall in love with reading, yet again.

Where do you stand on reading for pleasure?
Books photographed above: The Bell Jar, Never Let Me Go, The Book Thief

14 comments:

  1. I found your post really interesting; it made me think about why I like something. I tend to judge a book on like you used to but for me, I often find that it is the books which are mostly original in their plots/ideas/themes are the ones which make me think "Ahhh!" etc. I don't really like re-reading the same 'story' so the newness of it is what gives me pleasure. Have you read To The Lighthouse? I am reading it atm and it has a few pages on figuring out what it means to like something. Hope you are having a happy Monday :-)

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    1. Thank you – glad you liked it. Yes, I have read To the Lighthouse – it's fantastic! The last few lines are a couple of my favourites.

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  2. After I majored in English, it was really hard for me not to read books that weren't "well-acclaimed" or part of some great literary movement. I'm really glad I managed to move past that funk, since now I read whatever I want. If it's enjoyable, it's worth reading.

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    1. "If it's enjoyable, it's worth reading" – exactly!

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  3. Reading for pleasure is the best! I read a lot for school, and there's a thrill that I get whenever I read something just for me. I love reading with no expectations:)

    Great post!

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  4. You write really beautifully, and I hope you realise that. This post is very relatable and honest, and it was a pleasure to read. I only just discovered your blog and I'm now going to read more of your posts!

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    1. Thank you – this was such a humbling comment to read. (I also love your name haha, obviously).

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  5. You have written this beautifully and I totally agree that readign for pleasure and enjoyment is the best. Most of the books I read I read for that reason, I don't mind it when a book makes me think or experience different emotions, but it isn't necessary for a book to do that. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, reading for pleasure, in my opinion, is when you gain the most.

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  6. I am what you could call a very passionate reader. And being a book reviewer most of the people I know share that title. I love to read and love to read for pleasure, though it can be difficult to find a space between the books you read to review and the books you read to read or simply because you loved them and want to feel the magic and wonderment of them again. I often get behind on my review books and then don’t read anything that I’ve set out for a long time, and that can be difficult and I’ve never found a middle space, as of yet, but when I read for pleasure it is so wonderful. And yes, the books I read for pleasure are often the ones that tell me and give me the very most. Xx

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  8. You write really beautifully, and I hope you realise that. This post is very relatable and honest, and it was a pleasure to read Send Flowers To Colombia

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