If you enjoy reading for its own sake, rather than as just a tool for work or study, you probably have a handful of books that are like old friends that you come back to again and again for comfort and pleasure. And you probably are on the lookout for good books to read for the first time. Worth Reading is a blog for sharing some of my favorite books that others might find pleasure in reading for the first time.
My criteria are simple: Entertainment and staying power. These are books that not only are fun to read, but are fun to come back to a second time or more. Some of them I have read dozens of times. They have contributed to my joy when times are good and comforted me when things get tough. They are like comfort food—mac and cheese for the brain.
This is not to say that they are junk food. Many are “good books” by academic standards. I’m not a particularly discriminating reader and I’ve enjoyed reading books that are utter drivel. But I find that the ones I come back to tend to be those that have been labeled as good literature by people who know a lot more than I do. I consider myself lucky in that I managed to get through high school without having to read many great books for classes; I discovered them on my own, when I was ready. And I have found that the reason books stay around long enough to become classics is often simply that they are fun to read. Don Quixote has been studied and analyzed for 400 years. But don’t let that fool you. It’s funny. If the only thing you get out of it is a laugh, great. If you come back to it for another laugh and maybe learn something, even better.
Since staying power is one of the criteria for these books, there probably won’t be a lot of recent titles. In fact, my selections probably will look a lot like a high school reading list. Don’t worry. These are not books that you should read; these are books that you might actually want to read. Although many of the titles are well known, there still are many readers who are coming to them for the first time. Maybe you’ve been put off by a book’s status. Or because everyone else is talking about it. Or you’ve already seen the movie. But maybe you’re missing out on something. Think of it as being offered a dish of mac and cheese, and finding out that it’s also good for you.
I plan to offer my Worth Reading selections every week or so, in no particular order. Some are seasonal, but most will be brought in as they occur to me.
So let me introduce you to some old friends of mine. And if you have any friends you’d like to introduce, please drop us a line at email@example.com to tell us about them.