World Book Night 2017: Pleasure Reading and Social Justice

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When you hear the phrase “economic well-being,” does pleasure reading come to mind?  Dewan (2016) links pleasure reading to not only economic well-being, but also social justice.

Dewan (2016) starts by linking pleasure reading to literacy.  Reading skill develops with practice, and we’re more likely to stick with practice that is pleasurable (pp. 558-559).  Improved reading correlates with improved writing as well (pp. 560).  Reading and writing skill  are tied to improved employment prospects (pp. 559).

Dewan (2016) also cites research linking reading to greater community engagement, a key component of social justice.  She also mentions how pleasure reading can help us develop empathy and imagine new possibilities (p. 561).  Again empathy and imagination are components of social justice.

Though Dewan (2016) counters the stereotype of the solitary reader (p. 561), I think that the solitary aspect of pleasure reading can also enhance social justice.  Speaking for myself at least, allowing myself some time for solitude helps me better deal with community.  The escape helps me recharge.  As important as community is, sometimes community activity can burn us out if we are not careful.

I’ll want to follow up on Dewan’s sources.  Indeed the topic merits further exploration–especially as World Book Night (April 23) nears.


Dewan, P. (2016). Economic well-being and social justice through pleasure reading. New Library World, 117(9/10), 557-567. doi: 10.1108/NLW-03-2016-0019


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