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My Big Re-Discovery: Pleasure Reading!

Reading in Rome, Italy (photo by Tui Snider)
Reading in Rome, Italy (photo by Tui Snider)

Not all reading is the same

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of your day reading. But how much of that time do you spend on pleasure reading versus task-oriented reading?

When I was a kid, the majority of my reading time was pleasure reading. Now, however, the majority of my reading time is task-oriented. Seems like I’m always troubleshooting programs or hunting down specific information rather than kicking back with a great story, or leisurely reading other people’s blogs.

Don’t get me wrong; task-oriented reading can be a lot of fun. I especially enjoy researching travel articles and reviews. Still, my reading life has gotten out of balance, which is why one of my Row80 goals is to get back into the habit of reading for sheer pleasure.

Fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona (photo by Tui Snider)
Fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona (photo by Tui Snider)

Pleasure Reading Rituals

When it comes to task-oriented reading, I jump right in with little mental preparation. There’s something I need to know, so I’m off and running to find it. It’s as simple as that. My personal comfort is of no relevance.

When it comes to pleasure reading, however, I like to ease my way into the experience. Like dogs that turn around three times before laying down, I have little rituals to help me settle into a pleasure read: a good cup of espresso, a cozy seat, the right music and good lighting, can all be part of the experience. The more sensory pleasure involved, the better.

Fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona (photo by Tui Snider)
Fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona (photo by Tui Snider)

The Story Behind the Photo

I’d never really made much of a distinction between pleasure reading versus task-oriented reading until I saw the man pictured in the photo at the top of this page. My husband and I were strolling through a bustling market in Rome, Italy when that particular fellow caught my eye.

I watched as he pulled up on his bicycle, settled onto the stairs, took a swig off his soda, then cracked open his book. What struck me most was the air of satisfaction he exuded.

I have no idea what he was reading, but it seemed thought-provoking because every so often he would look up, rest his chin in his hand and stare off for a moment as though picturing something in his mind, or puzzling over an idea.

Watching him made me wistful; it stirred up memories of pleasure reading in a park, in a window seat, at the beach, on a train. I suddenly realized that in my constant effort to learn, learn, learn and be productive, I was leaving out a key ingredient to any writer’s life: reading simply for the fun of it!

Have your reading habits changed?

How about you? Are you reading as much as you would like? Where are your favorite places to read? Do you have any rituals involved in your pleasure reading? How has the internet affected your reading habits?

ROW80 Linky:

That’s my ROW80 check-in for Wednesday. How are your goals coming along? Here are links to all the other Row80 participants. Check them out:

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. First, first, first, how I love your photos! They pull at my heart.

    Okay, I love reading, I used to call in to school (pretending to be my mom) to excuse myself for the day, so I could stay home and read. Yes. I did that. I still love reading, but I no longer allow myself the indulgence of a day of reading.

    I work in a library, so Ive surrounded myself with my love, yet it’s not as if I can read on the job! But I am an ambassador for books and reading. That’s kind of cool.

    What a great post and place.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      I’m honored to hear from a librarian. I think it’s great that you are a book ambassador. Glad you enjoyed the photos. I’m a stark raving shutterbug. I look forward to checking out your blog, too.

      Here’s to more pleasure reading for us both! :)


  2. One of my monthly goals is to read. Sometimes I get so caught up in getting my writing done that I dont give myself time to enjoy a good book. Then my creativity dries up and I start to struggle with writing.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Patricia,

      Reading books for fun is such an important part of the creativity equation. I have to be careful with research, though. It’s fun, but it can be a time suck if I’m not careful. I have started reading for pleasure again, but I still feel like I need a really good dose of it, like I’m low on my pleasure reading vitamins.


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