The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
In this book, Alan Jacobs argues that, contrary to the doomsayers, reading is alive and well in America. There are millions of devoted readers supporting hundreds of enormous book...more
I doubt few of us here on Goodreads need to be reminded of the pleasures of reading. It's something we experience every day, as much and as often as time permits.
Here Jacobs discusses how his reading habits have changed since the advent (and distractions) of electronic devices:
I get twitchy within just a few minutes of sitting down with a book—I have noticed that ...more
The author goes to great lengths to avoid presenting a “how to be a better reader” tract. He hates that many people read purely for information or because they feel they must read certain books. His goal is to have you rediscover joy i ...more
Most of the things that I've learned from this book, I think I had already learned through my experiences of reading in the past few years, but this book was like the final, peaceful and consolatory confirmation of my discoveries which again made me feel that I am ...more
A nice discourse on 21st century readerly anxieties -- our deficient attention spans, our ambitions and egos about the books we read and how school has both helped and harmed our reading habits. Jacobs's style is ironically a little distracting at times; his sentences are very long, if clever, and he interrupts almost every page with a foot note that takes up half the space for regular text on several two-page spreads -- but I liked this a lot, even though I was glad when ...more
Ironic perhaps, but this little book about the pleasures of reading filled me with such immense pleasure. Jacobs makes it very clear that he doesn’t want to tell us what to read but rather introduces some concepts he believes enrich our reading experience. Among them is the concept of “whim”. Don’t make long lists of books you want to read in a certain ...more
Jimmy Kimmel recently (May 2018) cited a Pew Research Center study (March 2018) that reported that only about 1 in 4 people read a book last year; Kimmel send a team out to ask people to name a book—any book, such as the Bible or Fifty Shades of Grey. It did not go well. ...more
Those who have always disliked reading, or who have been left indifferent by it, may find little of interest here. But those who have caught a glimpse of what reading can give - pleasure, wisdom, joy - even if that glimpse came long ago, are the audience for whom this book was written.
And it is indeed a book that lovers of reading will love. Jacobs' own love of reading comes through in this carefully crafted contem ...more
A book for readers about reading - perfect! I did really like this delightful little book and found many worthwhile nuggets. His thoughts on rereading were probably my favorite. A few favorite quotes:
“A first encounter with a worthwhile book is never a complete encounter, and we are usually in error to make it a final one.”
“I mentioned early in this book the kind of rereading distinctive of a fan--the Tolkien addict, say, or the devotee of Jane Austen or Trollope or the Harry Potter ...more
Instead, one of his main points is that reading should be about Whim. (Yes, capital W.) In other words, read what you want to r ...more
Those who loved to read, or remember when they loved to read, but have since wandered off the reading path with will both enjoy and be encouraged by this book. Jacobs' love for books and anecdote's about others' love for books can't ...more
If you've ever been one of those "check-list people," who rarely reads for pleasure, but always to strike items of a literary bucket list --- for the benefit of all readers everywhere, you must read this book.
If you are ...more
But Jacob wants to put the pleasure back in reading and reading what you want to read, because reading is first and foremost about pleasure and secondarily about gaining information.
This isn't a perfect book, but it's light and fun in spots. The theologian in me ...more
Key takeaways below.
We have allowed utilitarian motives to shape too much of our reading. Do you struggle to appreciate books that don't offer you anything "useful"? Are you unable or unwilling to justify taking the time to read such books? Dr. Jacobs wants to assure you that it's qui ...more
So why only three stars? Candidly, I can’t really put my finger on it. Strange as that may seem, there it is. Perhaps I wante ...more
As I mentioned, the book started a little slow, on why we read and why we should read at whim. Since I already do read a lot, and mostly at whim, ...more
This book is sort of a strange mishmash of reading science, theories on what to read and why, and tons of ...more
Instead, this book brings up issues that face readers. How do we pick the books we do read? Do we follow our own desires or do we look to others ...more
This is a very good perspective in that category of "media ecology" that is becoming an important topic today. The concept reading long, slow, and for pleasure is something I need to cultivate. A very delightful and challenging read.
And I couldn't have written this one anyway. Mr. Jacobs is a much more dedicated reader than I will ever be. But -big but- he is in no way a pr ...more
My work is hard to describe, at least for me, because i ...more
So nothing about reading, or listening to Mozart sonatas, or viewing paintings by Raphael necessarily transforms or even improves someone's character. As the eighteenth-century scientist G. C. Lichtenberg once wrote, "A book is like a mirror: if an ass looks in, you can't expect an apostle to look out." Nevertheless, I am going to argue . . . that if you really want to become a better person, there are ways in which reading can help. But the degree to which that happens will depend not just on what you read . . . but also why and how.”