On Reading…For Fun

Historically, I have had a tendency to be a serial reader. I’ll read something long and hard, then find myself uninspired to pick up anything else. Similarly, I’ll blow through a series of something (a particular author, a general theme that sends me down a self-defined rabbit hole) only to find myself crashing into a wall. I don’t know if this is good or bad. Perhaps it’s neither, except that I would actually like to read more, and when I do find a good book and get lost in it, I very much relish the experience. Sometimes I think I put too many self-imposed restrictions on my reading, and maybe I just keep getting in my own way. Case in point, after reading Second Sex between the winter holidays and finding myself in my usual months long post opus reading slump, I decided to read…for fun (gasp).

As it turns out, there are a plethora of good books out there that I haven’t read. I used to read a lot of fiction, and I used to enjoy it, but then for some reason I stopped. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was “going through something” and was searching for answers I thought I wouldn’t find in created stories, though there is plenty to be said about the therapeutic effects of reading fiction. As it turns out, reading fiction is amazing. It’s a lost world I’ve rediscovered, and I’m finding myself actually looking forward to sitting down to read, even sneaking in moments here and there to read to the end of a chapter. It’s like eating chocolate cake and Fritos for breakfast; someone is going to find out and make me stop. Alas, no one has (yet).

I’ve realized that not every book has to be amazing to have value, and that thinking about them in any shape or form is worthwhile to me. Why did that narrator fail? What was the real purpose of that accident as a plot device? Also, I won’t discover the really great books unless I read a few lemons along the way, and in the end won’t I be a better reader for exploring? (Answer: yes.)

I feel like I’m at the beginning of a new era, or rather a long forgotten era that is unexpectedly experiencing a renaissance. It’s like when bell bottoms came back in the late 90’s. Who saw that coming? It’s a strange feeling to be excited by books again. I’m afraid it will go away, but I think I’m learning how to keep my curiosity alive and well. No restrictions. No pressure. Just read.

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