In a recent interview, Stephen King said, "Reading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex." After picking up myself off the floor with laughter, I thought it was the most pithy thing I've read about reading good fiction in a very long time.
For a little context, here is the whole passage.
Jessiace Lahey: English teachers tend to fall into one of two camps when it comes to literacy: Those who believe we should let students read anything they want so they will be more likely to engage with books, and those who believe teachers should push kids to read more challenging texts in order to expose them to new vocabulary, genres, and ideas. Where would you pitch your tent?
Stephen King: You don’t want to leave them in despair, which is why it’s such a horrible idea to try teaching Moby-Dick or Dubliners to higReading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex.h school juniors. Even the bright ones lose heart. But it’s good to make them reach a little. They’ve got to see there are brighter literary worlds than Twilight. Reading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex.
I've never seen a simile that compares reading to the hierarchies of sexual pleasure, but I must admit, I would have to agree. And thought we might have various definitions of what constitutes "good fiction," I would not even dare expound on it any more since it appears to speak for itself.