The beauty of reading without a purpose

The writer says purposeless reading has brought about relaxation and comfort.

Shadya Naher Sheyam

Shadya Naher Sheyam

The Daily Star


June 24, 2022

DHAKA – People will tell you that reading as a hobby is an exhausting activity. Given the extremely competitive era in which we live, the majority of individuals tend to do things with a purpose in mind. In fact, you are advised to do so.

You may recall your teachers advising you to be a self-absorbed reader, teaching you to question what the material can accomplish for you before going through it. My initial motivation to read was to enhance my grammar by reading English newspapers. A definite purpose. It felt so crucial to have a purpose at the time, it was as if reading without purpose was a peculiar, zany activity.

Since I began living on my own, my everyday life has forced me to do a lot of reading. I mostly look up DIY suggestions or how to take care of plants, or some random ridiculous inquiry on the internet. Everyday life compels you to seek knowledge from written sources, causing you to read out of necessity rather than by choice.

As a student researcher, I spend a great deal of time reading too. But this job-related reading has a specific objective – gathering resources for a paper, closing an information gap or gaining deeper grasp on a topic, making me more of a “fact-finder” than a reader.

Many people who claim to read are information seekers rather than readers. It’s not their fault as pleasure reading was seldom encouraged, despite the fact that it is the only type of reading where people want to be entertained rather than influenced, and where you find value in the act of reading rather than in the information found. You’re not looking for a specific result.

Many individuals assume that those who read for enjoyment prefer to read fiction because it provides escape. I, however, believe pleasure readers want escape as well as relativism from their reading. While fiction allows more room for diving deep into a characters’ attributes, both fiction and nonfiction have a narrative shape that do wonders to the mind when reading.

I’ve learned a lot and had fun at the same time while doing this mindless reading. Most of the time, this has led me to find out things I needed to know, but by accident.

Purposeless reading has brought me relaxation and comfort. It’s made me feel like I’m not the only one going through a certain experience, and it’s helped me discover characters who became my role models. Even though it’s pretty clear that I’m still in the apprentice stage and need to read a lot before what I learn from reading becomes part of who I am, the only time I don’t feel like I’m working is when I’m reading without a purpose.

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