Want to Feel Happier? Read Something for Fun.

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

This week — read something for fun!

I’ve noticed something when I ask people what they’re reading: they often name some highly estimable, dense, serious book, and then confess that they’ve been reading it for months.

I pressed one friend to explain his reading habits. “I just don’t have the time to read,” he said.

“Well, your books sound a bit dry,” I said. “Why don’t you read something more enjoyable?”

“When I read, I want to learn something,” he said virtuously. “I don’t want to waste my time with something that’s not worthwhile.”

“But you watch a lot of trashy TV,” I pointed out. I happened to know that he was a fan of reality TV. “You don’t force yourself to watch nothing but documentaries when you’re watching TV, why shouldn’t you read something more fun?”

He didn’t really answer me. But I think this exchange highlights a problem with the way a lot of people approach reading.

In general, reading is supposed to be fun! Go out and get hold of a book you want to read.

If you find yourself saying things like, “I really ought to read this,” or “I’ll be glad that I read this,” or “This is an important book,” maybe you don’t really want to read that book.

Sometimes, of course, we all need to read books that we aren’t particularly interested in — say, for work. I’m lucky in that way, because the way I choose my work subject is by asking myself, “What’s a subject about which I’d like to read 500 books?” And then I read 500 books and write my own book on that subject. Now, not everyone call pull that off. And it’s good to push yourself to read an ambitious book.

But along with the books I read for work, following my resolution to “Read better” and “Read at whim,” I let myself read books just because I feel like it. I read a lot of children’s literature (and I’m in three children’s literature reading groups, so I have a reason to read even more). I re-read a lot of books — this weekend, I re-read Lytton Strachey’s Queen Victoria. I read a lot of odd books that no one has ever heard of. I read a lot, generally. But if I try to make myself read something that I don’t really feel like reading, my reading drops off considerably. I just don’t find the time for it. But when I’m reading something good, I find the time.

Samuel Johnson observed, “A man should read whatever his immediate inclination prompts him to; though, to be sure, if a man has a science to learn, he must regularly and resolutely advance.” He added, “What we read with inclination makes a much stronger impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read.”

Science backs this up. When researchers tried to figure out what helped third- and fourth-graders remember what they read, they found that the students’ interest in the passage was far more important than the “readability” of the passage — thirty times more important.

When you have the right book, nothing is more fun than reading. So go to a bookstore or a library or online and get something you want to read. The test? You should feel like going straight home and sitting down to read it, immediately.

Don’t judge yourself. Let yourself read what you want. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun. And it is fun, nothing is more fun, if you’re reading something you enjoy.

What was the last book you read, for fun? I just finished reading a interesting book about English follies (the garden buildings, not policy mistakes).

* An interesting time-lapse video about a year in Antarctica.

* More bookplates are arriving today! I’d run out, but should have more by this afternoon. If you’d like a free, personalized bookplate, email me at grubin at gretchenrubin.com. Don’t forget to include your mailing address. And feel free to ask for as many as you like.

  • http://www.lettersandsodas.com/books/ Heather

    My boyfriend also used to talk about how he wanted to read something worth his time, but then didn’t much seem to enjoy his reading – we’d be sitting on the front stoop on a summer night and I’d be reading a young adult book or a novel and he’d be slogging through Paul Tillich or something and getting really annoyed about it. I think lately he’s starting to discover the joy of reading for fun, though – he started Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books (smart historical fiction, Napoleonic wars) and has already read the first two. Woohoo!

    Currently I’m reading Psychogeography by Will Self; before that I read/re-read Jon J. Muth’s “zen” picture books – Zen Shorts/Zen Ties/Zen Ghosts (the last of which just came out this year, and so was new to me) – they’re really lovely for people of all ages: beautiful watercolors and good stories. My personal policy is that I read at whim (with a few rare exceptions, e.g. if my boss loans me a book then that book goes to the top of my reading list) and don’t worry much about reading the “right” things. Though I do read the New Yorker cover to cover, even when the articles are about things that I’m not terribly excited by – sports, politics, television. The writing’s generally so good that there’s often something interesting in any piece, and I feel like because they’re articles rather than books, they’re short enough that it’s never too much of a slog. Plus I feel better-informed, although I don’t actually tend to retain that much of it. :P

  • Angela Gentile

    Hi Gretchen. My problem is I have TOO many books at my bedside. One of the fun ones sitting there right now is the new, MINI SHOPAHOLIC book. I have so many books I want to read. Some I bought, some I got from the library. I have different moods so sometimes I like to flip through a magazine, and sometimes I want to learn something. I have to make a commitment to myself to read my new “fun” book, and soon. Thanks for the little push.
    ~ Angela Gentile
    http://www.onthebrightside-angela.blogspot.com

    • Stepheff

      Just finished Mini Shopaholic – truly a “fun” read! I laughed out loud as I always do with her books. Enjoy!

    • gretchenrubin

      Ah, yes, I know this feeling all too well. So many books, so little time.

  • http://missionalmamassoul.blogspot.com/ Amy

    I just finished Still Growing by Kirk Cameron. It is an autobiography and I really enjoyed it. Before that I read the entire Hunger Games on a vacation. Those were my recent reads that made me happy! I do tend to read books that will make me smarter and I thought your test about wanting to read it as soon as I got hame was an interesting thing to keep in mind.

    Have a great weekend,

    Amy @ Missional Mama

  • http://musicfortots.blogspot.com/ Cathy

    I love to read children’s books too. I read all the Newbery Award and Honor Books. My favorite memory is reading out loud to my children when they were young. We would all pile on my water bed and I would read and read.

    Has anyone read Julie Andrew’s books, under the name of Julie Edwards?
    She wrote Mandy and The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles–two of most most favorite books.

    Cathy http://musicforchildren.blogspot.com/

    • Petra

      I’ve read Mandy over and over in Dutch translation. A few years ago I passed it over to my oldest niece and for the first time regretted giving something away. Because of your post I’m sure I’m going to order it again!

      • http://musicfortots.blogspot.com/ Cathy

        Wow, I didn’t realize her books were translated into other languages. My secret wish is to be a children’s author and write books that become classics.

    • gretchenrubin

      I LOVE Mandy. Wonderful. I think of the shell cottage all the time.

  • jenny_o

    I strongly agree with your advice! Life is too short and there are far too many good books to waste time reading something you don’t love or aren’t required to read because of your work.

    Latest books read, bought for a dollar each at a used book sale: Tuesdays with Morrie, and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Consumed at one sitting. Lovely!

  • angie huels

    Minutes ago I just finished Emily Giffin’s Heart of the Matter. It definitely offers a happy perspective about the quality of my marriage

    • modern50sHW

      I LOVE Emily Giffin’s books!

  • Zyada

    I have just recently read a series called the Dresden Files (first book, “Storm Front”). Some have compared it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Philip Marlowe, others have called it a dark, adult Harry Potter. It’s got magic, monsters, mysteries and some of the funniest writing I’ve read in a long time.

    Sample quotes:

    “I’d made the vampire cry. Great. I felt like a real superhero. Harry Dresden, breaker of monsters’ hearts.”

    “Sleep is God. Go worship.”

    “There’s more magic in a baby’s first giggle than in any firestorm a wizard can conjure up, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

  • http://cabinonthewater.us/ Tricia

    I just read War and Peace – I have ‘virtue’ stored up for a lifetime! Became fed-up with Tolstoy’s Napoleon hate-fest. Next I think I’ll track down ‘The Hounds of the Morrigan’ (I keep giving my copy away) and settle in for a blissful re-read.

  • http://nathaliefoy.wordpress.com Nathalie

    For fun, I am reading the last in _The Hunger Games_ series. (I read the first two in two days. Talk about wanting to run home and read!) I also recently read David Denby’s _Great Books_, which was work-related but also one of the best reads of the year. I recommend it highly. It’s about his year of going back to Columbia to take the Core Curriculum courses and re-read the Great Books. All about the passion of reading and how it connects to his everyday life.

  • http://bilunabirotunda.livejournal.com/ Heather

    At last, a happiness resolution I have no trouble keeping! I *always* read for fun, or for emotional sustainment, etc. I guess my parents established a happy cycle: they read me what I wanted, so I loved reading, so I read what I want, and I read ALL the TIME. Only for school or work have I ever forced myself to read something I didn’t want to – and I work as an editor, so I get to improve it. :-) So, for fun right now I am reading Lord Dunsany’s Wonder Tales and Miss Manner’s Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium.

    BTW, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with myself, and your quote ‘the way I choose my work subject is by asking myself, “What’s a subject about which I’d like to read 500 books?” ‘ is VERY helpful!! :-)

  • http://www.confabulicious.com Kim Bauer

    I always keep my kindle with me, and a fun “back up book” in my purse in case my kindle battery is dead. Right now, am reading one of my 7th graders world history books. It’s a fascinating read on Augustus Ceasar. I find excuses to find a little time to read it.

    Kim
    http://www.confabulcious.com

  • Marit Brandsma

    thanks to this blog, this has been one of the big changes in my life over the past year or so. I’m a voracious reader, but always felt slightly guilty for not reading literature or something “intelligent”. Now I just accept my reading habits and go with my inclinations and enjoy my eclectic reading style.

  • Chris

    This is such a good post… I can finally stop feeling guilty about reading Discworld novels instead of Tolstoi or Heidegger. But what I noticed is that when you start reading books for fun you also find the motivation to read a “serious” book and that you can stick to reading such a “serious” book. So actually fun stuff helps you reading the other, not-so-fun stuff.

    • gretchenrubin

      I think this is EXACTLY right. Reading what I want means that I read more,
      and I also read more ambitiously.

  • http://theshubox.com sarah (the SHU box)

    i decided to do an experiment this past week and spent it nearly completely ‘unplugged’ — i was allowed to blog daily (of course!) but no other technological forms of entertainment, plus limited email usage. the amount of time i spent reading skyrocketed, and this turned out to be very enjoyable!

    i’ve plugged back in, but i intend to work on keeping a better balance between low and high tech :) and i stopped at the library yesterday for the first time in months.

  • Angeliki

    Nice post! I am reading so much more since I decided that I don’t HAVE to read the classics and only the classics and reading became so much fun. However, my bookcase doesn’t look as impressive but at least when people ask me about a book in my bookcase I can actually comment on it.

  • Goknile

    i think that reading habits should be suitable for life style. A balance between reading texts and our life may show a way to understand our mental habbits. I am an academician so reading is my work:) if i dont read something different my academical interest, i feel living a box which is so boring. Yes, I read women magazines, novels and make my life more colourful.

  • Michael Van Osch

    Hi Gretchen – have read your blog for a while, really enjoy it.
    This is a valuable reminder to us that we all need a break too from all the biz reading and ‘work’ related stuff we do.

    Reading something for fun is one of the best ways to rejuvenate! Thanks.
    cheers
    Michael Van Osch

  • clearlycomposed

    I just recently allowed myself a “fiction fix” after mainly reading reference materials for months. It was just what I needed. I feel refreshed, creatively inspired and ready to create some fiction of my own. :)

  • http://www.timelessinformation.com Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Gretchen.

    That information about how much better we remember a book we are interested in(30x) is powerful, and makes sense. I jump to read certain books like 48 Laws of Power or The Selfish Gene, and so I remember quite a bit from them. On the other hand, reading certain fiction books or subject-specific books in categories I’m not too interested in results in forgetting basically everything I read.

  • http://creatingadventures.com/ Kerry Hargraves

    I just finished a whole bag of books just for fun. I call them my bubblegum books. Nevada Barr, Jeffrey Deaver, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, . A detective novel and a glass of wine enjoyed in the bathtub – my idea of heaven.

    The “serious” books are stacked up by my living room chair; I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter; Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken by Mike Robbins; and Play, Hw iT Shapes the Brain, Opens The Imagination and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown are a few of the ones I’m working on right now.

    If I don’t have a book to read, I will scour the bookshelf for one I want to (or am willing to) reread. Not having a book going equals craziness for me.

  • http://jdmeier.myopenid.com/ J.D. Meier

    Beautiful insights and pithy advice …
    1. “no need to catch up, just jump in right now”
    2. “I let myself read books just because I feel like it”
    3. “interest in the passage was far more important than the “readability” of the passage — thirty times more important.”

    I’m reading Fat, Forty, and Fired … and it’s a riot, while being insanely insightful.

  • Phaedra

    I am an English teacher and I do read a great deal of “literature” and I am in several book groups for more meatier fare. But every once in a while I crave something by Danielle Steel! Every time I read one of her books I always feel slightly ashamed! However, I love her books (some are better than others) because they are such an easy read and a total escape from reality! I will apologize no more for my prediliction for Ms. Steel because I enjoy it!

  • http://twitter.com/derek_a derek_a

    How very true. I was always reading serious, learning stuff, mostly about Zen – trying to make sense of the senseless and enhance my practice on how to transcend sense! I is only recently that I allowed myself to read fictional stories for entertainment. I sort of got a mini-enlightenment about it and it occurred to me, that it doesn’t really matter what one is focused on and mindful about, as long as one is focused and mindful. If all this (life) is an illusion, then it doesn’t matter if one reads an enjoyable story and gets embroiled in the imaginary life of the characters. Isn’t it all imagined anyway?
    Or is it just my crazy Zen way of looking at things? Just clicked through from your post on the Zen Habits blog. :-) Derek

  • Tisfan

    I guess I’ve never quite understood the mindset that people have to read things that are “impressive.” I don’t read to impress anyone else. (Of course, I also use my car as a device to get around, and if you think it’s sad that I drive a ’95 Toyota, that’s your problem… my ’95 Toyota gets 42mpg and I don’t have a car payment, either!)

    What’s on my bookshelf? The second Hunger Games Book, City of Bones, Jim Butcher’s Furies of Calderon, I’m re-reading Harry Potter as prep for the movie coming out later this year, I’m reading How to Train your Dragon to my 7 yr old, and a friend just gave me a copy of Unseen Academicals. I just recently finished reading Anne of Green Gables, which I’d managed to give a miss to growing up. Also read Sense and Sensibility and Emma a few weeks back when I was feeling Austenish… (happens in the fall, as the weather gets cold, I want to revisit Victorian England…)

    But I’ve never really worried about what other people thought of my reading habits.

  • dosomeawesome

    Gretchen, Your post can be a real eye-opener on reading. Few things came to my mind:- I never read books because I should read them, but because I want to. I read mostly non-fictional books, but I’m excited to read every book. For me, reading “serious” books is fun, because I pick my own books and discover them myself. – The fun is essential to keep in everything, and that goes for reading as well. I’m currently reading Justin Halpern’s “Sh*t My Dad Says” and it’s awesome. I’m laughing out loud while reading it during a metro ride. People may be staring but I’m having a blast.- Try to keep the excitement going also when reading books for work. I recently was asked to gather people’s feelings around our workplace and report them to the owner. Although there were a lot of negativity what people felt, I was excited to do it. I read books like, “Drive” by Dan Pink, “Linchpin” by Seth Godin and “Rework” by 37signals. These books gave me a real different perspective to look at the problems and come up with new solutions.So make sure reading is fun & exciting by selecting awesome books. Don’t pick the ones you should read or someone tells to read. Go your own route.And keep up the awesomeness Gretchen!

  • Kacie Knight

    I love reading so much. When I was a kid I broke each pinkie toe walking into a wall while reading. I love being out of university so I can read purely for my own pleasure/interests (although I also purposely studied subjects I found fascinating that I continue to read about on my own).

    I recently started allowing myself to not finish a book if I really didn’t like it. I realized that there really isn’t much point to punishing myself like that.

    When I read for pleasure, it tends to be books about society, culture, food, travel or spirituality, and my favorites are ones that include all of that in there (yes, I did adore Eat, Pray, Love).

    I also love reading to prepare for my own life experiences. In preparation for my upcoming wedding, I’ve read many books about marriage, and since I’d like to have a child, I’ve been devouring books on motherhood.

    I’d rather be reading than doing most things, and I travel with a book almost at all times. I’m between books right now, and I’m itching to go to the library. Too bad it’s closed Sundays in the winter.

    Kacie- http://www.bringingyouohm/wordpress.com

  • Cam

    I agree with this, Gretchen. I’ve used your tip about re-reading is sometimes the best reading, and I re-read both your book and another non-fiction one that I really liked. I also used your tip that you don’t have to finish every book you start, and that saved me hours of finishing a book that I wasn’t really into. With this tip to read for fun, I like that I can read chick lit or novels without feeling guilty that I’m not reading a book for school or something in my field of psychology. I also love to read memoirs and biographies and I’ve found myself taking notes on them, even though I really have no need to. It’s following your trip to enjoy the process and forget about results!

  • http://simply365.wordpress.com Jen

    I love this post! I remember going to the library with a friend when I was 10 and coming home with “Moby Dick.” I’d heard of it, and wanted to look smart. Needless to say, I didn’t read it! It took a few years, but I finally adopted the strategy of reading the first paragraph of a book before I buy it or borrow it… and I read the books that I don’t want to put down after that first paragraph- no judgement.

  • cruella

    I’ve always read a lot, thus I always find time and ways to read both fun stuff and more serious/edifying things. When I feel a bit blue I pick up a copy of any of Bill Bryson’s marvellous travelogues and I’m sure to snort if not laugh out loud in a few seconds:-)

    I had a conversation with a good friend the other day about precisely this issue. She’s in a book circle where people cleary choose books from the I’m-a-person-that-reads-prestigious-books perspective. Problem is, since they’re not really readers at heart they never finish them… My friend on the other hand plus another woman in the circle are avid readers and finish everything with the result of becoming a bit depressed with all the heavy and serious stuff;-) And of course there are never any true discussions about the books either…

    • gretchenrubin

      I just finished Bryson’s new book, AT HOME! Which I loved.

      I know, the problem with picking books that you don’t really want to read is
      that so often, they don’t get read.

      • Allie

        Oh, I’m excited to read his new one! I just finished “A Short History of Nearly Everything” which was both enjoyable and had me learning new things! :) He’s really got to be one of my favorite writers of nonfiction.

  • Debra Dylan

    I’m guilty of being like your friend when it comes to book!

    My new guilty pleasure reading is anything by A. Lee Martinez. He writes hilarious and clever sci-fi – a genre I don’t typically read but am enjoying – just for the fun of it:)

  • http://www.entomologyofabookworm.com Kerry

    I hate that mentality that you have to read dry, boring things in order to learn from your reading. You don’t! ALL reading (ok, with maybe a few exceptions) results in learning of some sort, even if it’s just seeing something from a different perspective… or making you appreciate the dry, boring, “educational” readings after reading something you’ve deemed fluff. The point, to me at least, is not to pick only certain books, but to pick books and actually make the time to read them.

  • Joy31

    I’m with you Sarah. I always come back from vacation, or in the most recent case, a 10-day honeymoon ‘unplugged’, excited that I actually had the opportunity to read something besides emails! Being ‘unplugged’ for 10 days was great, and as addicted to my iphone as I am, I really didn’t even miss it. I too am going to endeavor to be unplugged more often and read for pleasure! (And my reading on my honeymoon included The Happiness Project book!)

  • Kristin

    I like your points! I love reading – I had a goal of reading 100 books this year, and I met it last month already! My boyfriend and I just finished reading the Percy Jackson series. We felt a little silly, but found out we had peers who had read them too.

  • Leslie

    I just finished reading a couple of novels which were each fun in different ways. I don’t really read things that I’m not interested in (unless I have to for class), but I do read things that provide different kinds of enjoyment – the fun of reading a scholarly book to research something I’m interested in is completely different from the fun of reading a fast paced urban fantasy, but they’re both still fun.

    My next fun filled reading adventure will be proofreading five novels for a writer friend. I expect I will enjoy them immensely, but I keep trying to find large chunks of time to devote to it and it’s not happening, so they’re just going into my bedtime reading slot. This will be briefly interrupted by Mockingjay as soon as I can get a copy from the public library (there’s quite a waiting list!) because my book club is discussing it in November.

    Reading is definitely a happiness booster! I don’t know what I’d do without it.

  • http://www.qualitywriter.com/2010/ phildunn

    I recently read Daniel Suarez’s Daemon and Freedom for fun. They’re rip-roaring fun and really scary.

    They also illuminate a lot of the current challenges/issues in the tech world (where I work). So this was kind of a 2 birds with one stone pleasure reading session.

    Highly recommended or anyone interested in deep-thinking sci-fi and some horrifying scenarios that are headed our way.

  • Dougherty Meghan

    I spend most of my free time either knitting or reading, sometimes both at the same time. I’ve managed a good balance, I think, between books that are “good” for me and books I can’t put down, by letting myself read anything I feel like, and working my way through multiple books at the same time. I find that I tend to re-read books when I’m doing something else – so while I’m knitting, I’ll re-read one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (propping it up with my feet). When I’m reading a mystery novel for the first time (M.C. Beaton is my favorite), I pour a cup of tea and let myself do nothing else but read for hours. I find that satisfying my urges to read these lighter books puts me in the mood for heavier stuff, so I’m currently also working my way through Jack Weatherford’s Ghenghis Khan, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and a few books on meditation.

  • http://www.ombailamos.com chacha1

    The last book I read just for fun was “Naked Heat,” by the writing team behind the ABC show “Castle.”

    The last book I read because I thought I ought to was “Joaquin Murrieta,” by Yellow Bird. It’s the basis for the Antonio Banderas movie “The Mask of Zorro,” which was much more entertaining, but we picked up the book in Murphys, CA, where some of its action was purported to take place, and I did actually want to read it before clearing it out of the home library.

    And the last book I put in the “donate” pile without reading was James Gleick’s “Genius,” the bio of Richard Feynman. I thought, I have read Feynman’s own memoirs and his public-friendly science books; I do not need to read this doorstop; I am not going to get reader virtue points if I spend three weeks slogging through something of which I already have the gist. Such a feeling of freedom. :-)

  • http://www.artofweightlossblog.com/ Darren Beattie

    I watch 2-3 TV shows at any one time typically, I view these as my fictional ‘zone-outs’. I haven’t really read fiction in years and though I’m sure one day I will come back to it, I’ve been in such an inspired positive self-fulfilling mood for almost the last year that I figure, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. A large part of ‘self-help’ is figuring out how to help yourself and finding solutions that work for you at that particular moment in time.

    Currently on my bookshelf:

    ‘Founders at Work’ – Mini Chapters that I love to chip away at when I want the feeling of inspiration.

    ‘Drive’ – I’m devouring this book, almost done in less than a week. It also contradicted a lot of the information of a book I put down recently half way through ‘Goals’ by Brian Tracy, after Drive confirmed what I already believed about goal setting. I.E. It’s highly personable and I just went through a batch of personal reflection about a month ago.

    ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ – I ignored this book for years, it was given to me, and I was surprised to figure out that it actually has nothing to do with working a 4 hour work week (something I have no desire to do because I love what I do all day), but actually improving productivity and I’m finding it very helpful.

    I’ve also got some Dale Carnegie, some books by Seth Godin and some other marketing books on my table side. I should probably clear some as clutter can be disruptive but I find the pile inspiring in a sense, something to keep going for. I’ve never met anyone who had too much knowledge…

  • http://www.alphamom.com/ Isabel Kallman

    Thank you for this factoid about reading comprehension in 3rd & 4th graders. I love evidence-based research like this.

    Currently finishing off Pat 2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy. LOVE, love, love it.

  • Chris

    For me, The Happiness Project is my ‘reading for fun’. That is perhaps the highest praise I can give an author.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you! I so appreciate those kind words.

  • http://Adrianscrazylife.com Adrian

    What a great idea. I do tend to read a lot of self-help type books and while I find them uplifting, I find myself straining to remember every valuable nugget of info, so I don’t tend to seek them out as much I do books I read for pleasure. I need to let myself off the hook and count reading time as just enjoyment and not more “learning & self-improvement” time.

  • http://sweeticedtea.wordpress.com/ Ginger

    I used to feel guilty about not finishing a book, but now I feel just the opposite. Just as you said, I find if I’m not interested in what I’m reading, I’ll read far less.

    First of all, just because it doesn’t interest you at that particular moment, doesn’t mean it won’t later. Put down a book, and it still exists in the world. You can pick it up at a later time, if that’s a mental block.

    I once had a very intelligent, extremely well-read gentleman I respect tell me he rarely reads full books as it is. He says you can get the vast majority of what writer is saying in the first 3 chapters. As his business was to speak and be informed on current topics, it behoved him more to read volume, and not finish every single thing he started.

    As a result now, I give myself from 25-50 pages in. If I’m not hooked, I go on to something else. The world is so FULL of wonderful books I’m dying to read, why force myself through something and at the end of my life, not have gotten to something I really want to read. I guess to say “life is short” is such a cliche, but really, we only have so much time = so many books. Make them good ones!

  • http://maryawrites.wordpress.com/ maryawrites

    I ALWAYS read for fun. I mean who cares what I read anyway, except maybe myself so yes its all about reading for pleasure. :)

  • DebraDylan

    I just checked out Julie Edwards’ “Mandy” yesterday. So far, I’m really enjoying it. I love this blog because I learn so much from you, Gretchen, and your readers.

    • gretchenrubin

      Ah, what a wonderful book. So happy to hear you’re enjoying it!

  • Gwenny

    I enjoyed the new Bill Bryson book, but the best book I read for fun this year was “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. It’s top notch English humor. It’s a book I could read once a year (and probably will).

  • http://RedTash.com Red Tash

    I am generally a quite happy person, but due to some life events outside my control, I think I could use this lately! About to embark! Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.hunter.1217 Ryan Hunter
  • joycebpowell

    I listen to books all the time. Does that count? My latest favorite author is Ann B. Ross-the Miss Julia series.