What Happened to Reading for Fun?

reader-girlWhatever happened to reading for pleasure?

You know, the good old days when we could pick up a book with anticipation, intending to savor it at a later time. Or the excitement of grabbing a book and devouring  it in one sitting. A time when we wandered through bookstores and libraries, scanning the shelves, seeking new authors and undiscovered titles.

Reading today seems to be so goal-focused. Must learn to… (fill in the blank). Need to know…(fill in the blank). Are required to… (you know the drill).

When did it become wrong to read for pleasure? When did reading, one of the greatest enjoyments in life, become a chore? I’m not even talking about kids, although I cringe when I see required–not recommended, mind you–reading lists for kids. They have no choice. They read what they are told. There is nothing that kills the joy of reading faster than being told you HAVE to. Adults also fall into this trap.

As adults we seem to have so little time for pleasures such as reading. We now read in spurts to glean a fact or learn something quickly. For it must be quick or we simply believe we don’t have time to do it.

Nowadays, we make book lists with a purpose. How To lists, Learn More About lists, What You Need to Know lists. I have a friend who has a list that is divided into sub-lists. I asked her which one is her pleasure reading list. I got a blank look.

I could post links to articles that tell you how reading is good for your physical and mental health. I could cite studies that detail the benefits of reading for pleasure and how important reading is to your emotional well-being. However, I think there are only a few things we all really need to know.

Female-Reading-BookRead what you love because you love it.

Read without justification or explanation.

Read without guilt.

There are no recommended lists in this post, just a link to the library’s catalog. Browse for your favorite author or search by subject. Find something you want to read and then read it. Simple as that.

(If you really are at a loss for what to read, check out our Reading Resources page on our website. Platforms like our Online Book Club and NoveList can give you some great suggestions!)

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