The Good Book, the Good Journey
By Joshua Bradley

There was a time once, years ago, when I read for pleasure far more than I do now. Perhaps the increased complexity and busyness that comes with growing up has shoved aside some of my older habits; or perhaps the novelty of novels has worn off over the years, encouraged by the constant demands for academic reading rather than for mere enjoyment. But even with these factors, reading is still a cherished part of my life, although I find myself enjoying it far less frequently.
My ideal book revolves around an average person who, despite their normality, embarks on a journeyin the physical or the mindand proceeds to become a hero or legend. While the adventure genre mostfrequently embodies this ideal, I enjoy reading all types of novels, whether they be fantasy or historical, as long as they embody this basic plot. Although many of these books, especially the more modern ones, have received little critical acclaim (Tolkiens Lord of the Rings being a notable exception), they are still highly regarded by myself; what they lack in being literary masterpieces, they make up for with a soul I find particularly enjoyable. Most of the pleasure reading I do these days comes from books of this type, and whenever I need something new to read, I journey down the long isles of Barnes & Noble, hunting for new novels by favorite authors or a cover that strikes me in some way.
But all the books in the world are useless without the time to read them. And for the college student such as myself, time is a precious commodity while school is in session. It is only natural, therefore, that a mass of novels would build up next to my bed during the semester, each one begging to be read, yet forced to be deferred until time is once again available. For me, that time always arrives in early May, when another year of school has come to an end, and an entire summer lies before me. During every free afternoon, Ill donate some timeranging from fifteen minutes to hours on endto reading each book, one at a time (sometimes characters have unusual, unpronounceable names, and so to read more than one at a time is just asking for confusion, at least in my opinion). I almost never read in the morning or evening, as my brain is slightly groggy during those times, and I consider it an injustice to the authors to read their books while not fully conscious.
To complement this lazy afternoon habit of reading, my favorite spot to engage a good book is my bed. I love to lie there, with the sun sometimes peaking through the trees and the only sound being the occasional chirping of a bird, breaking the peaceful stillness of the countryside. With such serenity around me, the book has little trouble engaging me to the fullest, each word ringing out in the depths of my mind. And the best part of this location is that when my eyes grow weary orheaven forbid!I grow bored of what Im reading, I can simply lay back and take a nap, a peaceful way to journey back from the world I was visiting to the real world.
I think that journey, that voyage to an uncharted land, is why I read for pleasure in the first place. In comparison to my own life, the protagonists of these adventure stories lead extremely exciting lives; such tales capture my imagination. And more than just being a story of this particular character, they become a part of myself. If this person, who is so very average, can become entwined in a much grander purpose and realize how truly unique and special they are, then why can I not also, despite my own normality, find my adventure in the real world? These stories tell me that I can, that I too may become a part in my own little legend. And thats why I read what I do, where I do: pleasure reading is a little vessel that helps me to cross the oftentimes tumultuous seas of this world and reach the harbor of purpose I long for.