I used to think of reading as “good” in absolute terms. I’ve recently started to revise my position. Not all reading is “good” much as not-reading is not all “bad”. A bad read is a negative act with deleterious effects on the mind and body making worse it than the neutral position of not reading at all. This is a logical analysis based on simple math!
I came up with this brilliant redefinition after reading an utterly disturbing and disgusting book which was recommended on some bargain book page. To be fair it was initially engaging but the more I read, the worse it got, with poorly developed characters and unrealistically gruesome scenes and a comically sloppy ending. By the time I realized this, I was two third done with the book and my compulsive nature did not allow me to leave it unfinished. But I swore to myself, no more junk reads. It was much as eating junk food, I felt unwell afterward the conclusion and imagined my brain cells atrophy in response to this awful read. But unlike with food, you can’t purge the garbage read out of your system. It stays with you! I suppose reading one too many such reads finally taught me a much needed lesson so I perhaps did ultimately benefit from my poor choices.
From here on, to read or not to read for me depends the substantive value of the read. But by definition, this will prove to be rather difficult since the substance of a read is unknown until it has been read! I’m keeping my fingers crossed and would appreciate any recommendations on intellectually stimulating current literature, fiction or otherwise.