by Steve Laube
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs (published by Oxford in June 2011) is this month’s “Book of the Month.” I recommend you pick up a copy and enjoy the experience for yourself.
It seems a little odd to read a book about reading. But for those of us who are in the “business” of creating books it is always interesting to read a wise person’s take on the very lifeblood of our profession.
Many people say they no longer read and yet ironically they are always “reading” their texts, emails, blogs or favorite social network hub. They are not necessarily reading books which means they are truly missing out on the experiences of a lifetime. Alan Jacobs, a professor of English at Wheaton College offers some simple, powerful, and much needed advice:
read at whim,
read what gives you delight,
and do so without shame.
He advocates an exhilarating freedom to read whatever strikes you as interesting. I am a very eclectic reader, always have been. I read dozens of thrillers and science fiction each year, but I also read theology, history, deeper-life spirituality, sports, leadership, culture, commentaries, business, investing, etc. And that is what I do at home. Someone asked me what I did for work. I answered, “I read.” Then they asked what I did for fun. As a smile quickly spread over my face I declared, “I read.”
So for fun, read Jacobs’ book this month. It will delight you, challenge you, and hopefully give you hope for a lifetime of joyful discovery.
As a bonus I found the below video of Alan Jacobs speaking on the topic of this book. The video lasts an hour.