Reading has not always been fascinating to me, and honestly for a while there, I never really wanted to pick up a book. So, it shocks me to find myself falling into too categories when it comes to book. Some, I desperately really want to read and devoir quickly, and others I want to have read.
It’s probably something sinful like pride that causes the latter.
But I still don’t want to dismiss it as motivation. And I know I cannot fully eliminate it as part of what gets me going on any book. Social reasons for reading can get us hooked on books that can help us grow, although some of us get hooked on books that really might lead us to deteriorate as a person.
Books just like everything else in life become a practice of how we live and how we orient ourselves. They form part of our practice of living, and books are social relationships with another human being. No spontaneous creation birthed “Dune” with will always have something to do with it’s author, Frank Herbert.
I suppose blogs fulfill this social nicety as well. Given the immediacy of the reader/writer relationship, blogs have different social contexts, but the point remains that these social interactions can lead us into patterns of thought that can both be helpful and constructive or harmful and narrowing. It may seem odd, but many “uplifting” things tend to narrow our points of view and constrict our thoughts in ways that are destructive in genuine social practice.
Reading is a pattern of behavior and an origin for social changes within our patterns of behavior.
When we read then, the motivation behind it being to “have-read” for the sake of social appearances can work negatively and destructively by allowing us to ignore insights into our own being found within the book or by “puffing-up” our sense of self worth. Alternatively, if we take reading more seriously than just glancing over the words on the page, we engage with a book for social reasons and find ourselves benefiting from this.
Most of us have read books because friends have recommended them, even when we didn’t want to. Most of us have been surprised to find that we enjoyed those books immensely and the conversation with friends even more so.
There’s still an honest part of me that will admit when I don’t like a book or realize that something isn’t going to suit me. It’s part of what it means to enjoy reading, to allow reading to be driven in part by aesthetics. If we elevate the role of aesthetics high enough, beauty in it’s participation with the good is motivation enough to read.
So, read to enjoy, and enjoy reading even when it’s just to have-read. Let’s help each other not fall into such a low state that we only glance over the text only to show off a book “head-count” that leaves us in ignorance and vanity.