Monday, January 08, 2007

The Pleasure of Reading

I was recently asked:

Does reading for work spoil your reading for pleasure? In other words, are you pickier about the books you read than you were before your publishing career?

No and yes. I think that reading for work actually increases the pleasure I get out of reading. When I read a book for pleasure I can do just that—read the book. I don’t have to edit it, evaluate it, review it later, or even give my opinion to anyone. I can just curl up and read what I hope to be a really good book. It’s really the only time that I can truly lose myself in the writing and story and not have to worry about analyzing it later.

But am I pickier? Yes. In my younger days I finished every book I read, whether I liked it or not. Now I’m not as likely to do so. In fact, there have been times that I’ve enjoyed a book (but not loved it) and still didn’t finish it. I knew basically what was going to happen and figured my time could be better spent elsewhere. While I enjoyed the writing and the book, I didn’t fall in love enough to finish it.

And of course part of picking the books I read for pleasure often relates to work. They are very often the books I should be reading to keep up with market trends, or editor recommendations.

I think that when you’re truly passionate about something, like I am about books, you can never get enough. Most publishing professionals love to read for work and pleasure, most writers love to write (many even still write letters) and chefs truly love to cook (and eat).