Nick Hornby – Read to Enjoy, not to Read

This article by Nick Hornby in the UK’s Telegraph is a great insight on reading and I share a lot of his views on it.? To sum it up, for those of you who won’t go and read it yourselves, Hornby says that the important part about reading is reading something you enjoy.? If you don’t enjoy it, or if it’s boring, or if you can’t make heads or tails of it, it’s like negative reinforcement, you read less because you dread opening up the book.

He mentions the literary world who makes fun of the people who have read “The DaVinci Code,” and don’t read the modern literary novels that are a little bit more challenging to the reader, and how they have it wrong.? It’s not about nessicarily what you read, but the fact that you read.? Reading “East of Eden” will not make your life better, but if you read it and enjoyed it that’s what counts.? I’ve been hard on “The DaVinci Code” as a book, but I will not begrudge those who have read it or are reading it.? I’m excited that they are even reading.

I’ve seen reports out there of the fact that a good portion of adults have not read a book since they finished High School.? To me, and my love of reading, this is such a sad fact.? I love the feeling of opening up a good book and getting lost in it, and I want everyone to experience it, and if Dan Brown’s thriller can do it, then great!? It’s one of the reasons I love the Harry Potter books, even though I’ve only read one of them.? We’re getting a new generation of kids who might just love reading so much they’ll continue to do it beyond the books they must read for school.? Wonderful!!!

Jess and I discuss this from time to time.? I’ve got a few books that I want to read that have sat on my to read shelf for ages, because of the fact that I just don’t think I’ll enjoy reading them, or the process of trying to slog through the book is daunting (will Faulkner please stand up).? I’m thinking of just trading them back in, because I know I’ll never really get to them.? I want to read books I’ll enjoy, and I am doubting my enjoyment of them.? I might really like them once I got over the hump, but in reality, I don’t have much reading time and why would I want to put it into something I may not like, when I have plenty of books I know I’ll enjoy.

Jess has a similar problem, in that she selects books from time to time that she just can’t wait to finish, even if she doesn’t like it so much.? She refuses to not finish a book, even if she is bored to tears by it.? She may put it aside for a while, but she’ll plod on till the end.? I’ve told her to drop a book if she doesn’t like it, but she always pushes on.? I’m amazed by it really.

Read a book, but read it because you like it, not because you think you must like it or must for “cultural” reasons.? Reading should be fun.