Posted by: Sally Ingraham | October 15, 2009

The Pleasures of Reading

Girl ReadingI’m blatantly stealing quotes out of a post from Cornflower Books, but they deserve to be passed around, and they sparked off some pleasant thoughts for me.

First of all:
Reading is an act of friendly isolation. When we are reading, we make ourselves unapproachable in a tactful way.” Stefan Bollmann

Then also:
The pleasure of reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.” Katherine Mansfield

The first quote reminded me of the long winter evenings I’ve spent at Reel Pizza Cinerama, when the movies have started and we’re waiting for the intermission, and my co-workers and I have run out of things to say. One or the other of us will announce, “Reading party!” and we will eagerly grab our books and happily ignore each other (and the occasional customer, although interestingly enough, they rarely seem peeved about waiting for me to drag my nose out of my book!)

Sargent's ManThe second quote brought to mind a very special half hour I spent with my boyfriend recently. He’s not much of a reader, and one of my greatest pleasures is, for him, very hard work. However, the other night when it was freezing inside my house (we’re moving to our heated winter housing soon!) I crawled into bed to read, and to my surprise he joined me, and made a few pages progress in On the Road by Jack Karouac, which he’s been reading off and on for several years. So adorable!

Reading books is so much more than just reading books, isn’t it? It’s such a complex and abundant activity, the catalyst for things that extend into every part of my life, bringing depth and joy and knowledge. Amazing. 🙂


  1. I fully agree with that second quote entirely (and your experience with your boyfriend). I will read any chance I get, but it is always so much nicer when my husband joins in. Sometimes we even up the ante and read to each other!

  2. My very best friends are the ones where we can have a sleepover and end up reading. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful little post, Sarah! I love both those quotes, and can I just say that your writing about working at the cinema makes that sound like the coziest, best job ever.

  4. Steph – I’ve read to him in the past and he likes it, especially while he’s cooking. I hope to do that more frequently this winter.

    Eva – Ooo, that sounds lovely!

    Emily – That job is indeed the best ever – I’m endlessly grateful for it, and frequently rearrange my schedule and other jobs so that I can keep it! 🙂

  5. When I first met my husband he wasn’t much of a reader either. But then I realized part of his challenge is that he wasn’t reading books that actually interested him. He would blindly accept recommendations from people who really didn’t have a clue what he might like. I convinced him to put those books bown and try something he might actually like. It worked quite well.

    Alas, my days of recommendations are over, now he is a fiend for gardening books. If it isn’t about gardening it is hard to get him interested in anything.

    And, in my humble opinion, On the Road is a chore even for someone who likes to read. One of those books that supposedly everyone loves, especially guys, but boy is it tedioius.

  6. Thomas – I agree in regards to “On the Road”! I don’t much like the book, but someone recommended it to my boyfriend because it seemed similar to his own adventurous way of life. I should really make more of an effort to encourage him to try other things – it would be such a great thing to see him reading something he really enjoyed!

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