“What do you read for fun?” This question sounds very strange to me, as if normal reading implied an obligation and hard, hard work and only sometimes you could allow yourself to read something for pure fun of it. Almost everything I choose to read I read for pleasure. As for the genre, I don’t limit my choices. Fiction, non-fiction, who cares? A book in any genre can be a jewel or disaster.
Many years ago I read Ingmar Bergman’s memoirs, Laterna Magica. I still recall some scenes from that book as if I saw a movie or witnessed a real-life event or maybe even lived through the Swedish director’s experience, so vivid was his writing, so palpable were his joys, pains and fears.
Some fiction books, on the other hand, can be pretty boring even in their attempt to entertain. I remember how once I borrowed a ‘humorous crime story’. It was the most tedious read in my life. I noticed the author’s desperate efforts to make a joke here and there and to leave an intriguing hint about the big question, ‘who stole the apple pie?’, but I couldn’t squeeze a smile out of myself so flat and tasteless was it all. I don’t remember anything about this story, not even the title, the only thing that stayed with me was the regret that I opened the book.
It’s not the genre, I assume, that makes a book good or bad, exciting or deadly boring. It’s all about the talent an author has or, unfortunately, hasn’t. That’s where the big border lies that divides reading into fun and disappointment. All the rest is insignificant; at least, that’s how I see it.