When I choose a book to read, that decision is not based solely on whether I want to read something that would inspire thought-provoking questions or not. I simply choose according to my mood.
Sometimes I want the book to take me places, show me lovely things, make me feel like a million bucks. On those particular days, I don’t want it to fucking bombard me with existential questions. I just want to escape. And at these times, novels, for me, are just a means to an end.
On the others, however, I am not content with just reading some fluffy tale of JACK – the rabbit and FLUFFY- the squirrel who had adventures in the Tree Land and in the end everything was happy-happy.
Today, I want a glimpse of the ugly side of humanity. I want to read about everything that I didn’t know before. I want the castle of my beliefs blown to rubble with bombs of truth and in their place, I want new ideas planted. I want to know about all the horrors that went down in the history of the world and how they were faced. I want to know about people, their shortcomings – the dirty side of humanity – ALL OF IT.
I want to know it all.
These are the two basic moods which I, as a reader, identify with and which dominate the choices I make while deciding what to read.
It all comes down to what you find rewarding on what day. (But that’s not to say that a book can’t be both challenging and entertaining at the same time)
When I decide to read something that can potentially be described as ”challenging’‘, I don’t take it up because my mind goes –
”Okay, so I’d like to be a pretentious ass clown today and would like everyone around me to feel like failures so let me just get my swag on open this bad boy real quick.”
I read it because I WANT to. Because I think it’d be a rewarding, eye-opening, and mind-boggling experience.
It is as simple as that.
It’s just good ol’ curiosity.
And I think you only ever read something if the plot, or something about the author – this that or the other – sparks curiosity in you. Otherwise no matter what, you won’t even TOUCH the damn thing! And even if you DID, it won’t be as insightful because you will not go through with it BECAUSE you didn’t WANT to read it in the first place.
Because you didn’t think that the rewards of completing it would justify the act of reading the beast itself.
We don’t read just for the satisfaction of having read a difficult book so we can boast about it, we read it to get something out of it.
And the books aren’t challenging ME. I am challenging THEM to change my mind, to make my ideas conform to theirs. They might succeed and I’ll become their slave ❤ or I might remain unconvinced.
Either way, it’s not just about reading a complex work, it’s also about how that particular work of fiction gets it’s the point across and if the labor of going page-by-page through a ”challenging” novel for 500+ hours is, FOR YOU, worth the satisfaction and expansion of mind you will experience afterward. (But hey, you read enough of those seemingly complex books and soon they will become your leisure read instead! )
If, on any particular day, the answer to these questions is YES, I go and grab that baby. If, however, I am not feeling up to it though, I read my Katie Fforde and call it a day.
So, in the end, what I’d like to say is this –
Reading is SUCH a diverse hobby, with a number of different ways to go about it. It’s not for anyone else to decide what kind of novels YOU should read. If you feel like going towards the Classics section, then, by all means, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT! But if you feel intimidated and just want to stick with your copy of Harry Potter and The Hobbit (LIKE I FREQUENTLY DO ;)) that’s okay too.
And anyway who the fuck said that the simple ones cannot be challenging enough anyway? Some of the most memorable pieces of fiction I have read have been deceptively minimal. (Think Mister Pip)