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I no more read for pleasure. There was a long period when I did nothing else. I stopped reading when I became seriously involved with literature study (even if it makes no sense). Now, casual reads annoy me because I see through them. Serious reads I can’t pursue for pleasure, as I immediately start dissecting them with the tools of literary criticism.

I’m a lost case. Today, however, I managed to finish a book, and I didn’t entirely hate reading it. Though, of course, I ended up with several typed pages of notes, quotes and ideas for further analysis. I’ll be analysing it even in my sleep. I have a PhD in English Literature – it’s a confession, not a boast. That explains everything. It’s an experience to scare you for life.

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Posted by Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

17 Comments

  1. That’s a trigger warning.

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    1. It is definitely a warning against turning one’s hobby into one’s job. Doesn’t always work out the right way.

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      1. I turned my hobby into a job. I no longer do what I do for fun. That’s why I flat out refuse to take photos for other people, or take photos of what other people tell me I “should”. I don’t want to spoil my fun.

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        1. That is a very sensible idea. There are drawbacks to turning your hobby into a job, but it’s great to have another hobby and hold on to not having it spoilt!

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  2. Well … then I don’t envy you. I read solely for pleasure … every night before falling asleep. Nothing too serious — I want it to stay just that; pleasure. If I dissect anything at all, I pick up new words and expressions, but lately I’ve only read in Swedish so I don’t need to do that either.

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    1. I don’t envy myself either… I miss reading for pleasure, but I seem to be incapable of doing it anymore. On a happier note, my yesterday’s reading/analysing session wasn’t entirely unpleasant.

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  3. How sad! Even if a book isn’t particularly well written, I will enjoy it if the storyline is compelling to me. For me, the story is first, and the writing style comes second.

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    1. Professional deformation is sad… But I’m coping and trying to enjoy my hobby turned work even though it’s not as fun as it once was.

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  4. I read for pleasure as well as knowledge…the balance is essential I believe

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    1. Yes, balance is always essential! And what matters is that you read 🙂

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  5. Having worked as a translator for 25 years, I can’t read anything in a foreign language without my enjoyment being impaired by constantly thinking about how I would put the words in English. Neither can I read foreign literature in English without being being irritated by the quality of the translation. On the other hand, I read a lot more English literature nowadays than I used to when I started out as a poet.

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    1. Oh yes, don’t get me started about translations… I’m not a professional translator, but with a degree in English literature, English not being my first language, I know enough about it to cringe anytime I read something translated from English into my mother tongue. I try to avoid doing it. The quality of translations seems to be a huge problem. And it’s great that your job led you to start reading more in English 🙂

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  6. Once one goes down the path of post-structuralism, the world falling into an endless pile of (sub)text without a center or closure, reading (watching TV, talking with another , passing a billboard etc) will never be the same. :0

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    1. Don’t get me started about the contents and discontents of postmodernism… Of course, everything is a discourse, and most of it is a discourse of the dominant class. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter since we’re all going to die anyway. Talk to me about existentialism.

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      1. Albert Camus (who didn’t think himself an existentialist): There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.

        Or I guess we could just go with Jean Paul Sartre: Hell is other people.

        🙂 or in the spirit of existentialism 😐

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        1. Of course, existentialists don’t consider themselves existentialists. I didn’t realise I was one either until it was pointed out to me. Suicide is a curious subject indeed. Thoughts of suicide always cheer me up. (No need to be scared, that’s a paraphrase from one of my favourite bleak Scottish novels.)

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