Book Review – The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (22/9)

Recent research have shown that reading is at a decline now. People are not only reading less, they are also less inclined to read. What Alan Jacobs wish to do in this book is to show the readers how they can take pleasure at reading at the current age. Jacobs does this by allowing his readers take pleasure in reading this book. I rarely find reading non-fiction a pleasure, but this book is certainly an exception.

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of DistractionThere is no doubt that this book is written primarily for readers. This book is not meant to encourage non-readers to pick up reading or to convince non-readers on what reading can provide for them. Rather this book is meant for readers who not only wants to read, but enjoy what they read.

Jacobs does not provide any must-read lists as many do. Instead he questions the intentions of who enquire about such lists. For Jacobs, the “must-read” lists have almost certainly already been decided. A quick search would certainly turn up these recommendation. However, I do have a sneaky suspicion that although Jacobs does not provide a list explicitly, he does so covertly. In this book Jacobs raises books and authors whom he has read and benefitted from much which he brings to the readers allowing them to have a preview of what they can find within these books.

Instead, Jacobs tackles the issues where we are not willing to put in the time and effort to understand a certain topic yet we want to remain informed about it. Jacobs tells readers that instead of searching for shortcuts, readers should enjoy the long journey within the book, interact with the authors, ask them questions and thereby read actively.

As Jonathan Edwards is oft quoted for saying, there are two ways to know that honey is sweet. One is to know by understanding the taste of honey, the other is by actually tasting it. This essentially is what Jacobs hopes to do through this book, by actually allow you to take pleasure in reading, you are led by hand as it is to take pleasure in reading other books.

If you read and want a short book that talks about how pleasurable reading can be, then this is a book for you. Jacobs writes excellently and you will find yourself turning page after page until you finish the book itself.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

P.S. I would also recommend How to Read a Book as a companion to this book. Get it here, and here (free international shipping), kindle.