Who has time to read for pleasure?

Like all writers, I came to writing through reading.  I didn’t kick my pleasure reading into high gear until 1980.  I was serving in the U.S. Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in [West] Germany.  I had time on my hands, sitting in my little efficiency apartment off base with no television and no phone in those pre-internet days.

I’d always been a proficient reader as a kid, but hadn’t done much of it.  Although I enjoyed a few exceptions, books tended to bore me, a sad alternative to playing outside with my friends.  In 1980, no longer a kid running around the neighborhood, I looked to reading as a remedy for boredom.  Wow!  I realized just how much I’d been missing.

I started with Stephen King (and his alter ego Richard Bachman), because he was producing a lot of material and could keep me engaged.  I also read everything Robert Ludlum had available.  Indeed, after I made my first trip to Berlin, and actually went through Checkpoint Charlie into communist East Germany, espionage thrillers moved to the front of my reading list.  Enter John LeCarre, Frederick Forsyth and others.

From that point on, I couldn’t even imagine life without books, though I’ve suffered some downtime—gaps in my reading—on occasion.  This, I’m sorry to say, is one of those occasions.  I’m so busy writing my own book, and editing the work of several authors in our Evolved Publishinggroup, that I just can’t seem to find time for pleasure reading.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled that our publishing venture is about to rocket forward.  Still, I miss the simple joy of reading without deadlines, without pressure to find every little word that doesn’t quite work, without authors breathing down my neck like a bunch of….

Just kidding.  Our authors are a fine, patient bunch.  Nonetheless, I’ll be glad to get past this initial big launch of our publishing venture (7-10 more books in the next 2-3 months).  I’ll be glad to relax at night with a snifter of cognac in one hand, a book or my Kindle in the other, and read for the shear escapist joy of it.

I’m curious: Which authors first hooked you on reading?

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11 responses to “Who has time to read for pleasure?

  1. Wonderful article! In the not-so-distant past, I used to read ravenously, but now that I'm in college, my pleasure-reading days are over. I read my first Robert Ludlum book (The Bourne Identity) when I was about 11 years old, and then I branched out and began to read everything else he had to offer. I soon started reading Dick Francis and Michael Crichton, among others. Their stories made me really love writing and they certainly gave me something to strive for. I owe my interest in the written word to them, at least in part. 😀

  2. I'm not sure which author got me hooked on reading–I've always loved to read. It was my favorite thing to do as a kid (besides writing my own stories). I loved Judy Blume. I also loved reading THE BOXCAR CHILDREN series. Those were a few of my favorites. As I grew older I was introduced to VC ANDREWS (I know, I know). I read nearly everything of hers until she passed and handed her name over to someone else who didn't write as creepy as she did.

    I will agree, reading for pleasure has become less and less of a pass time for me. I really have to be pulled into the story from the get-go, i have to be invested in the characters quickly because I just don't have the time. I did read the book WAKE (YA genre–a free book I won from someones blog) and I read that sucker in a day. It was pretty good. It was fun to just read for the sake of reading (though I will say 3rd person present tense was hard to digest–not easy to read, at least for me).

    Great post.

  3. Gertrude Chandler Warner. She wrote The Boxcar Children. Until I read those bools as a child I hated reading. After I devoured everything I could get my hands on.

  4. You're welcome. Well, at least you found your way to it 🙂

  5. As I've been in the depths of writing too over the last six months, I've found I don't have as much time to read either, so I've tried a different strategy – re-reading some of my favorites. Doesn't require as much thinking or engagement since I sort of remember what happened, but for most books it's been long enough that I don't know every twist and turn and can enjoy it. "The Winner" by David Baldacci is one of these favorites of mine. I've re-read my Dan Brown books (all four of them, since he insists on only releasing one every few years). Sandra Brown is great when I want a re-read, but also want to get some inspiration for scene setting in my own writing, she's great at this.

    • Thanks, Megan, like you, I often re-read a piece I haven't visited in a while. As to Dan Brown, I guess since he makes about $500 Million every time he releases a book now, he can afford to take his time. Also, The DaVinci Code is a tough act to follow — lots of pressure to perform.

    • Funny you should mention "The Winner." I'm in the middle of that one now.

  6. I've loved reading as far back as I can remember. My aunt taught me to read before I was in school and I don't remember what I was reading that far back lol. A few books that do still stand out in memory from early childhood are "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech, "The Phantom Toll Booth" by Norton Juster, and "Matilda" by Roald Dahl.

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