Summer Reading

What a pleasure to have a library card, a branch library within a 15-minute walk from my house, and an open, flexible work schedule from mid-May through mid-August. One of the books that I recently enjoyed is Wendy Lesser's Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books. In her preface, she explains why she reads:

"It’s not a question I can completely answer. There are abundant reasons, some of them worse than others and many of them mutually contradictory. To pass the time. To savor the existence of time. To escape from myself into someone else’s world. To find myself in someone else’s words. To exercise my critical capacities. To flee from the need for rational explanations. And even the obvious reasons may not be the real ones. My motives remain obscure to me because reading is, to a certain extent, a compulsion. As with all compulsions, its sources prefer to stay hidden. . . . I suppose if I had to give a one-word answer to the question of why I read, that word would be pleasure. The kind of pleasure you can get from reading is like no other in the world."

I bring home stacks of books from the library, because I'm not wasting time on a book that doesn't provide something new and engaging. Consequently, I don't finish many of the books I start, just as I don't become friends with everyone that I meet. I enjoy being choosy. Leave! The queen is weary of your company. Stay! The queen is delighted by your company. What a pleasure it is to find a book like Lesser's that is good through and through.

Lisa Knopp