When I was in fourth grade, I took home the book Dealing with Dragons over Christmas break and read it four times. I cannot tell you exactly why except that it was fun to read: it took fantasy conventions and turned them on their head in a funny, real way. A princess who wants to get captured by a dragon so she can do something useful with her life? Add in the fact that both the main characters are sensible females (dragon & princess) who get along together and outsmart those who would plan their downfall and you get the first book I remember loving. Maybe it was the feminist (though I didn’t think of it like that at the time) outlook, maybe it was the things characters said that I thought were witty. I don’t remember. I just remember that this book was a lot of fun to read.
That’s going away now. I read a lot, but I do not have fun reading a lot. It’s almost like I’m reading desperately, devouring book after book after book to try to find something, some flavour that catches my attention long enough, some thing that is so delightful to read that I have to stop and chew on it a while, and read it again when I’m through. Maybe it is because I am older now and have a harder time, am more nitpicky about my books. I want them to be well-written, have funny plots, be well-constructed, have thoughtful characters and good imagery. I have read dozens of books this year and I can’t think of any one that stands out as being fun to read.
I just like the kind of books that give you a fun time when you read them. This does not mean they are great books—likely they are just clever, or heartfelt, or have relatable characters that overcome a situation after you have been rooting for them. Great books often make you uncomfortable and are not fun to read. They exist not to give you a good time but to make you think. Even some trashy novels, all that popular fiction, is often not fun to read—it is emotionally taxing, suspense novels that pull you through hoops or romance novels that use silly tricks to get you going: they just play with your emotions. Emotional turmoil is not fun. I want to have fun when I read a book, which is why my favorite author is Terry Pratchett.