Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Read Out of Need

In her piece on The Salon about the fine art of recommending books, Laura Miller quotes Lorin Stein of The Paris Review. I absolutely loved this, because I have always thought there was more to reading than just pleasure--even for those who claim to read only for pleasure.

I don't think people read 'for' pleasure, exactly," he went on. "Of course there is pleasure in reading. But mainly we do it out of need. Because we're lonely, or confused, or need to laugh, or want some kind of protection or quiet — or disturbance, or truth, or whatever.

I like a lot of the other things he has to say about recommending books, about our moods and the way they change and shift and how that affects what we read. That recommendations can't be made without asking personal questions.

We read out of need. I like it.

(Also Lonesome Dove is suggested as a book to please readers of any taste! I hope you'll join my readalong in October!)


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