The Pleasures of Reading
A Booklover's Alphabet
by Catherine Sheldrick Ross
June 2014, 270pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59158-695-1
$45, £34, 38€, A65
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-433-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

This work provides a vivid, detailed picture of what motivates avid reading—how readers choose books, what readers like and don’t like, and how different books help or benefit them.

Based on years of ground-breaking research, this book supplies a look at the unique relationship between each text and the individual reader that results in a satisfying, pleasurable, and even life-changing reading experience.

Following up on her critically acclaimed Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community, Catherine Sheldrick Ross takes a new look at pleasure reading through 30 thought-provoking essays based on themes arranged from A to Z. In short lively chapters, she discusses topics ranging from “Alexia,” “Bad Reading,” and “Changing Lives” to “Romance Fiction,” “Self-help,” “Titles,” “Vampires,” and “Year of Reading.” Drawing on her own research as well as other published sources, Ross comments on the significance of each theme, provides examples of the phenomenon, and develops the topic chronologically, through further examples, or through reversals.

The essays are unified by an underlying theory of reading that views readers as sense-makers, actively engaged in reading themselves into the text and reading the texts back into their own lives. It gives educators and librarians insights into their roles with readers and offers a message about the importance of pleasure reading. A short list of resources for further reading is supplied with each topic.


  • Supplies succinct, authoritative, and readable accounts on a wide range of genre literature and explains why these types of books appeal to readers
  • Promotes the librarian's role with readers and helps librarians design readers' advisory services to better serve readers
  • Offers valuable insights into readers and reading based on reading research
  • Includes an extensive bibliography and list of relevant titles for further reading
  • Provides a fascinating read for librarians, educators, and avid readers
Catherine Sheldrick Ross, PhD, is professor emeritus of library and information science at Western University, Ontario, Canada. Her published works include Libraries Unlimited's Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community; Conducting the Reference Interview, Second Edition; and Communicating Professionally, Third Edition. Ross holds a doctorate in English from the University of Toronto and a master's degree in library and information science from Western University.


"Whether a librarian or educator, these ideas and inspirations will offer ideas for encouraging a love of reading in all patrons, students, and others who need encouragement to see reading as a fun event and not an act of drudgery. Librarians and teachers will also appreciate this book for their own enjoyment, finding support of their love for reading."—ARBAonline, October 1, 2014
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