We don't read for duty. We read for pleasure.
The emotions come first, and at their highest point they enter thrill territory. To discover a book you love is not that different from discovering a person you love, and you can experience every emotion reading it, including what Les Murray calls the gift of weeping.
Jane Sullivan looks at what it takes to be a well-rounded reader, in The Age.
There's also one of many fine obituaries for Elizabeth Jolley, who died last week.
I interviewed her once for a magazine feature, and I have to confess I was more nervous about asking her questions than any other person I've ever interviewed. I thought she'd eat me alive, and did hours and hours of preparation.
But in fact she was disarmingly charming, as well as being every bit as rigorous, sharply opinionated, brilliantly read, forensically funny, and scarily intelligent as I expected. Just like her books. I completely forgot to ask all my carefully crafted questions, take notes, or do anything at all sensible. Instead I was carried away on a conversation about the nature of writing and fiction that one could never properly capture in a 1500 word feature. (Thankfully I remembered to turn on the tape recorder.)
For my money, she's our finest and most insightful novelist since Patrick White.