Pleasure Reading

By Mikaela Harris

Senior, English & French Major

Few practice pleasure reading anymore.  There just isn’t time for it.  But at some point or another, we’ve all gotten wrapped up in a book.  The likelihood that that book was for school is slim to none, though.  Why is it that no one ever loves the books that teachers choose?  Why is it that teachers keep choosing books that none of their students like?

From second grade to college, I can’t remember ever really liking a book I had to read for school, except maybe To Kill a Mockingbird in ninth grade.  Thinking back on this, I can’t understand why.  Now I love to read, which might be bizarre on its own, but even more bizarre is the fact that even though I read close to fifty books a year for fun, I’ve rarely enjoyed the books my teachers have chosen.

In fact, I tend to see the books as stupid, dry or disgusting.  Take Lord of the Flies, which we had to read in seventh-grade English.  That book is just gross.  I understand that it has lessons to be learned, especially for a boys’ locker-room.  I’m sorry, though, that it just doesn’t really apply to a seventh-grade girl’s life.  I know girls can be that mean, but in seventh grade, I could not see the parallel.  I can think of hundreds of books that would have been better… but that was the chosen book.

Pleasure reading, though, can’t be compared to school reading.  This is simply because there is no way to enjoy reading a book when you’re reading it for the quote identification quiz you know you’re going to have on Tuesday, and its already Sunday night.  When you start a book for pleasure, you can just get lost in the story rather than trying to over-analyze every line and remember who said what.

So here’s my challenge.  Take a book you’ve read before for school and reread it, but for yourself this time.  Allow yourself to get lost in the pages without stressing over some hidden meaning because when you’re not stressing, it will come.

We only hate reading because it’s always associated with quizzes or teachers trying to trip you up.  Try linking it to pleasure instead.

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