So You Don't Like to Read...

The primary goal of this site is to promote pleasure reading. That means reading for fun, for the simple enjoyment that comes from experiencing a good book.

I've heard a whole heap of people say they don't like to read. Just recently at a dinner out, one of my good friends said that he was so burned out after completing his Masters degree, he just doesn't like to read anymore. Forcing his way through all those required pages sucked all the joy out of the act of reading for him. Afterwards, in the car headed home, I said to Adam, “I bet I could find a book he'd like.” I'm confident like that, because I know reading isn't really the problem. I'm pretty sure my friend isn't physically sick of repeatedly moving his eyes from left to right in order to decode symbols and translate them into words in his brain. What he can't stomach is reading to fulfill requirements, to reach a goal, to edify himself. Reading as a means to an end is, ultimately, not sustainable. It's why college is only supposed to last four years. It's why newspapers these days proliferate with colorful graphics. And, sadly, it's why my friend thought he had to give up on reading.

I promote reading as its own end. This is one reason teaching wasn't a great fit for me—what I really wanted to do all day was introduce my students to great writing, to reveal to them the endless worlds and cultures and perspectives that exist beyond their own two feet. Instead, I had to write quizzes, demand written analyses, and endlessly correct comma splices. If school is the only frame in which you think about reading, please forget it. School is important, and five-paragraph essays have their place, but institutions by their nature prize order over chaos, and insist on forcing everything into quantitative measures. In school, it was never enough to simply say, “I enjoyed the book.” Fortunately, however, school ends, and we graduate into normal lives in which we are free to read whatever the hell we want, for our own reasons. This entire website is basically me saying over and over, “I enjoyed the book.” And frankly, that's enough for me.

Reading is a great escape, and if you use your public library, it’s cheaper than cable. Or therapy. Also, it’ll make you mad smarter—without requirements or tests or essays after. So, if you think you don't like to read, stick with me. I bet I can find a book you'll like.