I’ve seen this quotation in several places lately. It’s from Sven Birkerts’ ‘The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age’:
“To read, when one does so of one’s own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one’s life or one’s orientation toward it.”
To what extent does this describe you?
If I'm understanding this quote right, it is saying that people read because they don't like their own life. Right? Well, I think we pretty much ALL say that part of the fun of reading is to escape. But does that necessarily mean we don't like our lives? I don't think so. So I'm not liking this quote so much. When I open a book, it isn't to say "life sucks!" (Some days, maybe, but most days, not.)
It IS to say, I enjoy stories. I enjoy words. I enjoy learning about different countries, cultures, and settings. I enjoy character relationships. I enjoy the amazing ability authors have to create new worlds and new situations. I enjoy talking and discussing book reactions with others. I enjoy bonding with books and their stories and their characters.
So to answer the question, this quote may describe me on those bad days when I truly want to run away from life, but for the most part, it misses the mark on why I REALLY read.