View Full Version : Do you read out of habit, or pleasure?

10-05-2008, 02:24 PM
I ask as for me it used to me mid way. I loved reading so much when I was a teenager that I got through 15 books all in one go(i mean a day), and even read them whilst I was meant to be sleeping, under the cover. I suppose that's why I ended getting glasses in the end, as I strained my eyesight with holding a torch under the duvet cover whilst pushing the words out of the book. In the end, it did turn into a habit more than anything, though I felt the pleasure inbetween, rather intense at times especially whilst under the cover. I felt like I had to rush through the pages to grasp the story there and then. This soon faded out into a more mellow pace, when I started writing and painting and letting my own creative juices flow.

Now, I read out of pleasure (because i enjoy it, and don't feel in a rush to get through the reading-but more understand the context of book) on rare accounts. I don't read as much as I once did, and even lucky if I read a book per month as I keep books within interest by my bedside cabitnet, and one book on top, when I do feel like reading. The habit vanished and the pleasure returned, especially if it has anything to do with helping me along the way, and it sparks my interest.

What about you? Do you read out of habit, or pleasure? Or even both? What do you define as habit? And what do you define as pleasure?

10-05-2008, 02:44 PM
I mainly read these days to help solidify my style of writing, choosing books from yesteryear that are similar in theme and perspective as my own works. I do enjoy the books, once I'm into them, quite a lot, but to be honest, if I wasn't aiming to be a writer I might settle on much easier reads, or just stick to television. Some really neat shows on the airwaves, these days, as have been described to me, like one on Wednesday night with talent performances. Always dug those. // ps Neat thread :-)

10-05-2008, 02:57 PM
Pleasure. It's hard to put into words. I just love reading fiction. Even when books are bad, with poor endings etc.... I still enjoy most of them to some extent. One of the few exceptions is the Belgariad, which I utterly despise.

10-05-2008, 03:23 PM
I am driven to it when it happens. But haven't been reading enough fiction the past few years. I think you need to read to write well. When I read for pleasure, I write well, when I read because I think I should, I write like crap.

10-05-2008, 03:42 PM
I read (well, honestly it has slacked off over the past month or so) a book, sometimes 2 a day. I do it for I love to read. I could never have a habit that consumes so much time without pleasure coming with it. Pleasure for me and no habit, for slacking off recently does not give me withdrawls like other habits would. I do not miss it right now, for I know it is still there ready for me when I wish to turn back. And that makes me happy, thus pleasure.

All about books (even texts) brings me pleasure - even learning.


10-05-2008, 05:35 PM
It's probably both habit and pleasure in my case. Though it depends on what's meant by "habit." Habit as in, something you enjoy doing, or habit as in, a compulsive behavior you engage in because you're just used to it?

I was originally going to answer that I read mostly out of pleasure because, having OCD, I really don't need another compulsion to follow, but then I remembered that "habit" also often means just an activity one enjoys engaging in without it being a serious thing like a job. So it really depends on what's meant by the word.

Unfortunately, due to Internet usage, my ability to read easily has gone rapidly downhill and I have to struggle over every sentence. My brain keeps niggling at me that I didn't really understand what I just read, so I better go over it a few more times, visualize it, reword it, to make sure I got it so I can read the next part. Never mind that I actually AM comprehending what I read; my OCD brain tells me I'm not. I used to be able to read a hundred pages a day before the Internet. Now I have to fight my way through a few. So I better be reading for pleasure, with all the struggle that goes into it! How I read has become a habit (of the compulsive kind, what with going over each sentence over and over), so it's not as easy to enjoy. :(

10-05-2008, 06:04 PM
Interesting question.

I was a voracious reader as a child. My mom would take us to a nearby library that didn't have a book limit, so my sister and I would get about thirty MG and YA books out at a time. We'd read them before the two week period was up, and then go back for more. I think we read that library out in one summer.

Reading became a habit. I read on the school bus, between classes, at the dinner table, almost everywhere. I always had a book, all throughout high school and most of college. But college is also where I began to write more earnestly, to really develop my own worlds and characters and stories. Free time was spent writing or planning, instead of reading. So when I did pick up a book that wasn't related to a school assignment, it was very much for pleasure.

Now all of my reading is for pleasure, which is probably why I read fewer books than I used to. My TBR pile is enormous and it's not getting any smaller. Once this round of edits is over, I look forward to finally finishing a book I started six weeks ago. :)

10-05-2008, 06:21 PM
I read for pleasure, but my time spent reading has significantly reduced over the years. When I'm on vacation, I'll read a book a day (except World Without End took 2 days) and I'll have spent a lot of time looking at best seller lists to see what I'm going to take with me. When I have that kind of time to devote to reading I also grab a classic to re-read or enjoy for the first time. Most recently I re-read The Great Gatsby because I thought I was going to write a story about the 1920's, but I set it aside.

Reading is such a pleasure for me, I feel guilty devoting a significant part of my day to it. So reading time gets shoved to "before bed" time, which means reading 2-3 pages and nodding off (often with my glasses falling off my nose and the light on).

So I've answered the question after rambling a bit.


Sean D. Schaffer
10-05-2008, 07:38 PM
Pleasure. When I read, which can be very seldom sometimes, I like to just sit down on my couch and relax with a good book.

Also, I like to digest what I'm reading, so I take a longer time to read one book than a lot of other people might take. Whereas one person might be able to enjoy and digest an entire book in a day, for me that time is substantially longer -- say, a couple weeks or even a couple months.

For instance, I'm a week or so into reading a non-fiction book, and I've only reached Chapter Four. The book has sixteen chapters, so it's obvious that I'm taking it slowly. I might actually be finished with it by the date it's due back at the library, October 17th.

I hope I do finish it before then, because I'm thoroughly enjoying the read.

But to tie in with the original intent of the post, if I did not find pleasure of some sort in what I am reading, I wouldn't be reading it. I can't just read because it's the thing to do. I have to enjoy reading, because I was raised to believe it is a thing people do for fun.

That's my take on this. Have a good day, everyone. :)

10-05-2008, 08:06 PM
I guess both in a way. I get a lot of pleasure from reading. I've been a bookworm since I was a teenager and that hasn't changed.

Alpha Echo
10-05-2008, 08:52 PM
I just love to read. I read as much as possible. I read fiction for pleasure,and I read certain non-fiction books to learn. Right now, I'm in the middle of 3 books - 1 fiiction, 1 on writing, and 1 spiritual/religious/whatever you wanna call it. I read them all during different times in my day - for example the fiction book I love to read while I'm eating lunch at work or while I'm soaking in the bath or the minutes just before bed. I read the book on writing while the TV's on in the background because I can take notes and still pay half attention to my show (I always did my homework in front of the TV for some reason. I studied better with noise happening around me - maybe that's because I grew up in a big, loud, crazy family. I don't know.). And the last book, I just read here and there whenever I'm in the mood.

10-05-2008, 09:16 PM
At this point, I read almost exclusively for the money.

By that, I mean that the vast majority of books I read are for review purposes (I think the last book I read solely for pleasure was somewhere in the mid-Atlantic during a cruise I took in May).

This doesn't mean that I don't get to read for pleasure, or read what I choose -- one of the great things about being a freelancer is that I can pitch reviews of books that I'm interested in reading -- but it does mean that I read them in a somewhat different way.

10-05-2008, 09:24 PM
Pleasure, most definitely. Even non-fiction. I had to do enough reading during school to NOT read for pleasure now. That's probably why I have problems doing research because deep down I just resent having to read things for a task or project or test.

10-05-2008, 11:39 PM
For pleasure, without any doubt. As a byproduct, I sometimes discover ways to improve my own writing skills.

10-06-2008, 12:22 AM
Pleasure. I love stories and I always read them with the hope of enjoying them. If I find them incredibly dull I stop reading. I did that recently with a book I started that became so uninterresting halfway through that I just put it down and started another. Life's too short to spend that much time with something that doesn't interest me.

10-06-2008, 02:22 AM
I read for pleasure, or at least try to.

Honestly, I need to make it a habit as I've done hardly any reading in the last couple of months. Ok, the last book I read and finished in a short period was in March, just before I met my current partner and moving in with her has meant I'm a little too into love, life and all that jazz to make time for reading.

It's not that I don't like reading, once I get into it, I'm fine, it's just a matter of finding the time amongst work, politics, girlfriend. And it's so much easier to just flick through the web and stuff when I'm home, then sit down and read sometimes...

10-06-2008, 03:37 AM
I'd have to say both. Part of my bedtime ritual is reading, and I feel weird if I reach over and I don't have a book on my nightstand, even if it's one I've read fifty times before. Even if I'm super tired, I like to read something before I close my eyes. So I guess that's habit. But at the same time, the best days are when I can curl up on the sofa on a rainy day with a thick novel and nowhere to be. That's pleasure.

10-06-2008, 05:26 AM
What about you? Do you read out of habit, or pleasure? Or even both? What do you define as habit? And what do you define as pleasure?
Absolutely for pleasure. Pleasure is losing myself in another world for a few hours - be it the world of a detective, some poor schmuck caught up in something way out of his/her comfort zone, a spy, a world traveller or into a society from the past. I like being able to suspend MY reality and live in the reality of a novel for awhile. It's a bit of a habit as well as I can't go to sleep unless I've read at least a chapter or two.

10-06-2008, 07:06 AM
Pleasure. I just wish I could dedicate more time to it. I almost require some reading to help myself get to sleep. When we're on a road trip, I read in the car. When we're in the plane, I read on the plane. Books are the bridges that get me through long stretches between here and there.

My husband and I spend time at Barnes and Noble on weekend nights just for fun when we don't have other plans. Sitting in the cafe, reading magazines, perusing books. Usually I wind up buying a few while I'm there.

10-06-2008, 12:31 PM
I'm a compulsive reader and have to do it when I'm not usefully occupied. I have a stash of paperbacks in the bathroom, beside the bed, almost in every room probably. I can't sit in a doctor's waiting room without picking up a dog-eared magazine even if it's not one that normally interests me.
I'm a bit of an addict, I suppose! I would say I do it for pleasure although I am about to embark on a dissertation for my Masters degree so the reading will be a little - heavier, I guess! :)

YAY, 1,000th POST!! :hooray:

10-06-2008, 05:25 PM
As a young adult librarian, I feel like it's part of my job to read the major YA book that come out, both the critically acclaimed ones and the popular ones. Lots of them DO give me great pleasure, but I'm a picky reader, so there have been times when I've gone a long time without reading anything particularly pleasurable.

And yet, that doesn't mean that I don't read for pleasure!
When you're panning for gold, you're panning for gold even if you only come up with dirt.

10-06-2008, 05:50 PM
I read for pleasure. It's my HABIT to read while walking. I read while walking from office to office, from car to building, during my exercise walks. Good peripheral vision is the key to this feat, which has astonished many. Try it -- it's good for your health!

10-06-2008, 05:50 PM
Pleasure. It's hard to put into words. I just love reading fiction. Even when books are bad, with poor endings etc.... I still enjoy most of them to some extent.


Also, I don't have enough money for reading to become a serious habit. I would need to make double my current salary to support the habit with new material... but, I work with what I have. I re-read a lot of my books, read a daily list of blogs, read the news, read stuff for my two classes...

Okay, maybe it is a habit. lol. But it's all for pleasure with the exception of some class readings (kind of takes the fun out of it when you *have* to read the material).

10-07-2008, 02:13 AM
but, I work with what I have. I re-read a lot of my books, read a daily list of blogs, read the news, read stuff for my two classes...

Do you count reading stuff online like news and blogs and forums as reading? For me, there is reading and there is reading. Reading actual books is worth more than just reading anything.

Susan Breen
10-07-2008, 02:17 AM
Pleasure. There are few things more wonderful than finding a good book.

10-07-2008, 02:24 AM
I have always read for both pleasure and for research.

Travis J. Smith
10-07-2008, 02:30 AM
I can see how you could call it a habit. Back in elementary school we had the Accelerated Reader program where it was, more or less, a competition to see who could read the most books. And reading was the only thing worth doing as a kid when I went shopping with my mom and she went to one of the many Thrift Stores around here.

And in eleventh grade I always had a book in my hand, as noted by my study hall teacher. Once I really get into a reading sort of mood, it becomes part habit, but the pleasure's always there. School kept me from reading how much I wanted to. I'd start books that I generally enjoyed, such as The Road and then stop because I knew I'd derive more pleasure from it if I could give it more of my attention. For a while, I stopped reading entirely, then I got back to reading starting by re-reading one of the few books I own (I'm very particular about what I own; I'm generally a library person). And re-reading that book was entirely for pleasure.

There is a third reason, though, as people have already stated. To write, you must read. The two go hand in hand.

10-07-2008, 02:40 AM
I read for pleasure. I don't speed read. I read at my pace, which if I'm Beta-ing you - you'll agree that I'm a slow reader.

I like to escape my world and go where ever I'm reading about. It's a vacation from my busybusybusy schedule. Problem is, I can't find time to do more of it.

I've got a ton of books waiting, that I'd love to jump into....but, well...

10-07-2008, 02:48 AM
Certainly not habit. I read erratically: generally 2-4 books in one week, then nothing for weeks.