Recently, there have been quite a few opinions about what people of certain ages should, or should not, be reading (for example: “Against YA” and this rebuttal, “A Young Adult Author…”). As a high school English teacher, I fall somewhere in the middle. (Don’t worry, I’ll get to my definition of “read easy” here in a second). I believe that all people should challenge themselves with their reading, but that challenge looks far different for everyone. You could be challenging yourself with a novel that surpasses your vocabulary level; you could be challenging yourself with a topic you know little about; you could be challenging yourself with a genre that is outside your comfort zone (young adult, perhaps). Occasionally, you should challenge yourself with your reading (this is my rationale for reading the classics with my high school students…they loooove it).
That all being said, I ultimately think that you should read what makes you happy. “Read easy” doesn’t mean to read something far below your ability level, just because it’s quick and simple. It’s more of a play on the phrase “rest easy”; the act of reading should be something innately enjoyable. When you’ve finished reading a book, close the back cover, and think to yourself “That was an afternoon well spent” — that is reading easy. The feeling of satisfaction and comfort that comes from reading something really excellent, or the feeling of pride and accomplishment from conquering a text you thought would be too dense or difficult — that is reading easy.
A book is a book is a book. Read what you want! (although, I do have a few suggestions…)