A novel is to be read for enjoyment

If it doesn’t give that, it is, so far as the reader is concerned , valueless. In this respect every reader is his own best critic, for he alone knows what he enjoys and what he doesn’t. I think, however, that the novelist may claim that you do not do him justice unless you admit that he has the right to demand something of his readers. He has the right to demand that they should possess the small amount of application that is needed to read a book of three or four hundred pages. He has the right to demand that they should have sufficient imagination to be able to interest themselves in the lives, joys and sorrows, tribulations, dangers and adventures of the characters of his invention. Unless a reader is able to give something of himself, he cannot get from a novel the best it has to give. And if he isn’t able to do that, he had better not read at all. There is no obligation to read a work of fiction.

-Somerset Maugham, Ten Novels And Their Authors

2 thoughts on “A novel is to be read for enjoyment

  1. wonderful thought. the idea of fiction is such a fiction in itself. it should lay no rules for the game. read it…leave it….doesn’t matter as much as the freedom to imagine, think and write!

    1. When I first read these passages on the book I chuckled at its arrogance but I have to agree. I myself trust my readers to have a good amount of imagination that is why they can enjoy what I have written. Otherwise they would not reading but instead would be watching television.

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