Thursday, 6 August 2009

To read or not to read.

The Rights of the Reader - Daniel Pennac

I've just had three months not working. That has meant three months in which I could read all day without feeling guilty - well after doing the house work and job hunting of course. I had lots of plans back in May. I was going to catch up on my 'to read' pile, I was going to read all of those neglected classics and I was going to read some of those serious novels that I've been avoiding.

Instead I've haunted the library at least twice weekly, I've read all manner of teen novels, re-visited old favourites and indulged in an orgy of chick-lit. My to read pile hasn't diminished at all and the closest I've been to a classic was my umpteenth reread of Little Women. I should be rejoining the working world next week and now the guilt has set in that I haven't read all that I should have done.

In one of my frequent library visits I found Pennac's book and all of a sudden any guilt has vanished.

The Rights of the Reader
is not like many books about books and reading. Pennac's point is that as soon as you start studying books, or even thinking about them in too much detail, then the pleasure vanishes. His point is that reading is fun, not a chore or a guilty pleasure and that everyone has the right to read (or not to read).
This book was a timely find for me, reading is one of my greatest pleasures and so I should read what I want, not what I think I should be reading. It doesn't matter if I am reading this year's Booker Shortlist or the Very Hungry Caterpillar so long as I am enjoying the book.

I am going to make myself a large copy of Pennac's ten 'rights' and keep them close to hand and then I am going to reread Anne of Green Gables - without feeling guilty.

The Rights of the Reader.

1. The right not to read
2. The right to skip
3. The right not to finish a book
4. The right to read it again
5. The right to read anything
6. The right to mistake a book for real life
7. The right to read anywhere
8. The right to dip in
9. The right to read out loud
10. The right to be quiet

No comments:

Post a Comment